Rotation woes continue as Suarez hit hard

May 26th, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO -- Bruce Bochy didn’t bother sugarcoating it after watching the Giants slog through their second consecutive lopsided loss to the D-backs.

“It’s hard to put a positive spin on this,” Bochy said following his club’s 10-4 defeat on Saturday afternoon at Oracle Park. “It’s bad baseball. There’s no getting around it. We hit every facet today. We made some mistakes defensively, along with a lot of mistakes on the mound. We did show a little life late offensively, but even early in the game, there wasn’t a lot going on. This team just caught fire, but most of those are mistakes.”

The D-backs arrived at Oracle Park on Friday riding a five-game skid in which they had scored just 12 total runs, but they’ve feasted on the Giants’ pitching staff so far this series, reaching double-digits in back-to-back games and outscoring their National League West rivals by a 28-6 margin.

It marked the first time the Giants have allowed 10 or more runs in consecutive games since Sept. 29-30, 2018, against the Dodgers. They’ve now lost four in a row, dropping to 21-30 on the season.

Left-hander gave up a career-high nine runs (seven earned) on nine hits over four-plus innings, a step back from the quality start he delivered against the Braves in his season debut Monday. The D-backs struck early against Suarez, capitalizing on a pair of defensive mistakes from third baseman Pablo Sandoval to score two runs in the first inning.

After a clean second, Suarez yielded a leadoff home run to Ketel Marte in the third, followed by an RBI double to Eduardo Escobar that pushed Arizona’s lead to 5-1. The D-backs added another run in the fourth before knocking Suarez out of the game with a four-run fifth.

“I just threw too many balls and fell behind a lot,” Suarez said. “The strikes that I threw, I gave up a lot of the plate.”

Aside from Madison Bumgarner, the Giants’ rotation has fallen into a collective slump this month, recording a 7.15 ERA over 95 2/3 innings in 21 games. Despite Suarez’s stumble, Saturday’s game also featured some cause for optimism, as it included an encouraging performance from right-hander , who fired two scoreless innings after returning from Triple-A Sacramento.

The Giants were already trailing 10-1 by the time Rodriguez took the mound in the sixth, but he prevented the game from spiraling even further, retiring all six batters he faced on 21 pitches. Bochy said he thought Rodriguez could have finished the game, but he decided to have Evan Longoria hit for him in the seventh after the Giants loaded the bases and showed signs of a potential rally against D-backs reliever Andrew Chafin.

“[Rodriguez] settled things down and brought some sanity to this game after last night and kept us from overusing somebody,” Bochy said. “He pounded the strike zone. He went in well. I thought he had good offspeed pitches. He went up at times. He looked like he had the control that he has when he’s going well.”

Rodriguez began the season in the Giants’ Opening Day rotation, but he was sent down to the Minors on May 11 to work on his command after posting a 5.05 ERA over 41 innings in eight starts. The 26-year-old made two appearances for Triple-A Sacramento, allowing nine runs (three earned) over 7 2/3 innings before being recalled Saturday to provide coverage for the Giants’ overtaxed bullpen.

“It’s baseball,” Rodriguez said. “It’s part of the process. I went down there and worked on a couple of things I needed to work on and they thought I was ready to come back up. It was more just confidence. It was more mental than anything.”

Rodriguez made it clear afterward that his preference is to keep starting, though he added that he’s willing to accept whatever role the Giants ask of him.

“Honestly, I’d pitch wherever,” Rodriguez said. “Wherever they need me, that’s part of being a teammate. Knowing your role and delivering where they need you. But I’d rather be in the big leagues.”