Left-hander Carlos Rodon will see a familiar opponent with a bunch of unfamiliar faces on Tuesday night as the San Francisco Giants host the opener of a two-game interleague series with the rival Oakland Athletics.
Right-hander Daulton Jefferies (1-2, 1.17 ERA), coming off his best start of the season, is scheduled to begin the series for the A’s.
Rodon (2-0, 1.06 ERA) has been among the National League’s top starters since switching leagues as a free agent in the offseason. Through three starts, the 29-year-old has struck out 29 in 17 innings, allowing just two runs on eight hits and six walks.
After not getting rewarded for a 12-strikeout effort in his Giants debut against the Miami Marlins, Rodon has won his past two outings, including one against a former American League rival, the Cleveland Guardians.
Rodon, who spent the previous seven seasons with the Chicago White Sox, has made four career starts against the A’s, going 2-1 with a 3.91 ERA.
He has faced just five current members of the Oakland team in those four games. That group, headlined by Elvis Andrus’ 1-for-12, has gone just 4-for-31 (.129) against him with six strikeouts.
The Giants will kick off a five-game homestand riding a four-game winning streak, a run that includes a 4-2 victory at Milwaukee on Monday in what appeared might be a nuisance of a stopover on the way home from Washington.
But true to the form that has produced 12 wins in 17 games, the Giants got great pitching from eight guys on a bullpen day. San Francisco prevailed in the end via a two-out, two-run, ninth-inning home run by rookie Luis Gonzalez, the first homer of his career.
The game against the Brewers was squeezed into the Giants’ schedule as part of the compensation for the season-opening lockout. In the end, it added an 11th game to an 8-3 trip that also saw San Francisco face the Guardians, the New York Mets and the Nationals.
After labeling the trip “long, arduous and challenging,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler turned his attention to Gonzalez’s homer.
“Aesthetically, it was really pretty,” he said. “Very beautiful swing and the majestic flight of the ball. It was a really cool moment for our club.”
The A’s are also coming off a low-scoring win, with Stephen Piscotty having produced the only runs in a 2-0 home victory over the Texas Rangers on Sunday with a fourth-inning homer.
Piscotty, one of the few impact holdovers from last year’s team, believes his new-look club will make the short trip to San Francisco with confidence.
“I think everyone’s bought in to trying to win ballgames,” he said. “It’s as simple as that. This team still has a lot of talent. Some younger faces on this team, but they can all play ball. It’s exciting to be part of his youthful group.”
Like Rodon, Jefferies hasn’t had a bad start among his first three, outings in which a total of just 11 runs have been scored. The A’s lost two of them — 4-1 and 1-0 — the latter coming at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles in the right-hander’s most recent start on Wednesday.
The only run Jefferies surrendered that day was unearned. He gave up just three hits and no walks while fanning five in six innings.
Jefferies, a University of California product who knows all about the San Francisco Bay Area rivalry, has never faced the Giants.
–Field Level Media