San Francisco Giants left-hander Carlos Rodon had one of the best Aprils of any major league pitcher, yet he will not even be the hottest pitcher on the field Saturday when he faces the visiting San Diego Padres.
Rodon, in his first season with the Giants, was stellar through his first six starts. However, he was roughed up Sunday at St. Louis, where he gave up eight runs, tying a career high, on 10 hits over a season-low 3 2/3 innings.
Rodon (4-2, 3.49 ERA) had allowed just seven runs total before that outing while pitching to a 1.80 ERA. He even had a pair of 12-strikeout games, but the Cardinals opened with a four-run first inning and never looked back.
"It wasn't very good," Rodon said. "I threw a lot of strikes, but they got hit. ... On to the next one. It's going to be a long six days or whatever it is."
While the wait to pitch again is nearly complete for Rodon, who has never faced the Padres, he now will face off against San Diego right-hander Joe Musgrove (4-0, 2.20), who is having his own red-hot start to the season.
Over his past six outings, Musgrove has given up nine earned runs, or just one more in his past 39 innings than Rodon gave up on Sunday. With 47 strikeouts and just six walks on the season, Musgrove is coming off a start Sunday at Atlanta when he gave up three runs (two earned) over six innings in a no-decision.
Musgrove, who will be facing the Giants for the first time this season, is 2-3 with a 5.02 ERA in seven career starts against San Francisco. He had a 6.08 ERA in five starts against the Giants last season, while giving up six home runs in 26 2/3 innings.
Not only has Musgrove pitched at least six innings in each of his seven starts this season, but the Padres have won all seven games. He gives the offense plenty of credit for the team's undefeated mark in his appearances.
"That's kind of my thought as I'm going out to pitch, that if I keep (a) game within two, three runs, we got a chance to win every time," Musgrove said. "If we don't figure it out earlier, we're gonna stay on it, and we'll make something happen late. Whether it's bunting guys over or the one big swing that ties things up, we got a little bit of everything here."
There was plenty going on in Friday's series opener, including two home runs from the Giants' Darin Ruf and a long ball from the Padres' Jake Cronenworth. San Diego took a 6-4 lead in the eighth inning on a two-run double from Wil Myers.
However, with nobody on and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, the Giants loaded the bases on a single and two walks before Wilmer Flores delivered a two-run single to force extra innings. Manny Machado and Jurickson Profar drove in runs in the 10th to give San Diego an 8-7 victory.
While San Diego closer Taylor Rogers (major-league-leading 15 saves) was not available for the series opener after throwing 33 pitches Thursday, he is expected to be ready for action Saturday.
--Field Level Media