For the 11th time this year, Carlos Rodón has exited a start with double-digit strikeouts.
Rodón is the league leader in strikeout percentage, his 33.4% a whole 1.2% ahead of second place. In that respect, Thursday night was business as usual for the established left-hander.
Paired with a five-run second inning, the San Francisco Giants showed little mercy for the majority of this two-hour, 57-minute contest. In the first eight innings, Colorado sent no more than four hitters to the plate in each frame. Rodón allowed just two baserunners for the duration of his six frames, and with a commanding early lead, this game’s win probability chart began to show vague resemblance to the Rockies’ flight elevation out of San Francisco this evening:
Colorado has now lost nine out of their last ten games, and a push for pre-Los Angeles momentum has instead yielded the Giants’ second sweep over the Rockies in as many weeks.
Rodón controls extra-base damage
The Rockies had early life out of the gate. Yonathan Daza lined a double into center field to kick off the top of the first and the tone was set — until Rodón struck out two and collected a flyout to end the inning.
Rodón didn’t allow a baserunner from there until the sixth inning with Ezequiel Tovar’s double into center. Ródon followed that one up with two strikeouts and a flyout, stranding both runners on second base.
His night started and ended with these situations: two minor jams that amounted to nothing more than a strikeout collection out of the stretch instead of the windup. Ródon finished the night with 95 pitches, pushing his season ERA down to a 2.88.
Rodón’s final line: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 10 K, 20 BF
Feltner struggles in the second, carves everywhere else
With the exception of a big second inning, Colorado starter Ryan Feltner dominated his way through 91 pitches of action. He collected eight groundouts to no flyouts, successfully controlling ‘most’ home run threats. He prevented damage from leadoff baserunners in the first and fifth.
Five consecutive batters reached to kick off the five-run second inning, however. A Brandon Crawford single, Thairo Estrada walk, Jason Vosler walk and Austin Wynns single paved the way for a Ford Proctor grand slam.
It was Proctor’s first-career homer.
Ford Proctor met the fan who caught the ball from his first MLB homer and returned it pic.twitter.com/ysqbhd2YED— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) September 30, 2022
San Francisco led 5-0 at that point, but Feltner would go on to retire nine of the next ten batters he would face. This pushed him to the fifth inning, started by a walk to Wilmer Flores and a single by Mike Yastrzemski, but a ground-ball double play and inning-ending groundout would yield Feltner’s fourth zero of the night. Two flyouts and a strikeout would cap off one more scoreless inning, confining his damage on the scoreboard to only his second frame.
Feltner’s final line: 6 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 5 K
Austin Gomber preserves bullpen
With a series of relievers on the injured list, including Carlos Estévez and Lucas Gilbreath, the Rockies turned to Austin Gomber as the only relief pitcher used in this contest. Gomber allowed a double to kick off his first inning of work, followed by a single that pushed runners to the corners with no outs.
Wilmer Flores would cash in the Giants’ sixth and final run of the night with a sacrifice fly. Gomber showed his stuff with two strikeouts to follow, but the Giants had already established their win percentage well above 99% at this point in the ballgame.
Giants face effects of a tired bullpen
Entering tonight, San Francisco had used top relievers Camilo Doval, John Brebbia and Taylor Rogers for a combined four appearances in the previous two days. Brebbia and Doval returned to the hill tonight, but for Brebbia, momentum wasn’t entirely on his side.
Colorado first tapped into the Giants’ bullpen for the seventh inning. Jharel Cotton posted zeros in both the seventh and eighth, but after consecutive singles to begin the ninth inning, Cotton found himself in a (low-leverage) jam. A flyout and sacrifice fly would ensue before Brebbia entered the game.
On Brebbia’s first pitch, a high-and-inside fastball, Sean Bouchard put a two-run homer into the seats.
Sean Bouchard - Colorado Rockies (2) pic.twitter.com/tB1d52Wv4R— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) September 30, 2022
Colorado still trailed 6-3, but a single by Michael Toglia and triple by Elehuris Montero put the tying run at the plate with two outs in the ninth.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler would then enlist the service of his closer Camilo Doval.
It took seven pitches for Doval to earn his 27th save of the year, facing one hitter. A groundout by Tovar ended the late surge.
At the very least, a shutout was averted in the top of the ninth.
The Rockies await the final curtain of 2022 as they open a six-game set at Dodger Stadium. Their opponent will look to add to a now-franchise-record win total before riding into the MLB postseason as the presumed number one overall seed.
To make matters even more challenging: an all-but-inducted first-ballot Hall of Famer is on the hill Friday night.
Clayton Kershaw and his ageless 2.42 ERA will face off against Chad Kuhl and his 5.45, with first pitch scheduled for 8:10 p.m. MDT.