© Cody Glenn | 2019 Aug 29
After a stellar rookie campaign, it looked as if the Giants had struck gold with Dereck Rodriguez.
Not so fast.
The 2019 season has been a teeter-totter between San Francisco and Triple-A Sacramento for the second-year right-hander. Rodriguez has struggled mightily throughout his sophomore season, as has everyone not named Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija. Those struggles continued to linger Thursday night against San Diego, and Rodriguez’s start may not bode well for his next opportunity.
With Johnny Cueto’s return on the horizon, Thursday was an inopportune time for Rodriguez to have yet another poor start. Cueto, recovering from Tommy John Surgery, is scheduled to make his final rehab start on Saturday in Sacramento. As long as he doesn’t suffer a setback, Bruce Bochy said he is set to rejoin the club next week — possibly making his season debut next weekend in Los Angeles. Cueto’s return will force the Giants to make a rotation decision. Rodriguez could be the odd man out.
“I’m not thinking about that,” Rodriguez said after the 5-3 loss. “Everybody is excited for Johnny to come back. You know, as a team whatever role they give me or anybody when he gets back, that’s our role.”
On Thursday, Rodriguez tossed five innings while allowing five earned runs on eight hits; two of those being long balls, one to Manuel Margot, another to Austin Hedges. He struggled in a second straight outing, having gone four innings and allowing six runs in Chicago on Aug. 21. He seemed to have a temporary hold on a spot after blanking the Diamondbacks through seven innings in his prior start, but he has unwound since.
“Mislocated fastballs left the park,” Bochy said of Rodriguez. “…In this game, you make some mistakes [and] they leave the park. You saw what happened.”
In a rotation that has needed one of its young arms to step up down the stretch, it has yet to happen. Rookie Logan Webb will be making Saturday’s start in a possible battle for the fifth starting spot, which Rodriguez did not make a strong case for.