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Reds ace Luis Castillo, the former Giants farmhand who blanked them on two hits for six innings Friday night, has an interesting transaction history.
The Giants signed him as a 19-year-old out of the Dominican Republic in 2011 and traded him to the Marlins in late 2014 as part of a deal for third baseman Casey McGehee, who proved to be a bust. At the time, the other pitcher in the deal, pitcher Kendry Flores, was considered the better prospect.
The Marlins then traded Castillo twice. They sent him to the Padres as part of a multiplayer deal, but when Miami sent pitcher Colin Rea back to San Diego because he was hurt, the Padres returned Castillo to the Marlins. They then put him in a package sent to the Reds for starter Dan Straily before the 2017 season.
The Reds helped Castillo develop the killer changeup that goes with his high-90s fastball and has made him one of the best pitchers in the National League. Stephen Vogt’s flyball double Friday night was the first extra-base hit Castillo allowed on the changeup all season.
“Everything he throws looks like a fastball,” first baseman Brandon Belt said. “He’s pretty deceptive that way. He pretty much throws 100. He’s definitely one of the toughest guys I’ve seen.”
1-2 punch? The Giants’ first-inning struggles are not hard to decipher when you consider their first- and second-place hitters have a .289 on-base percentage, second-worst in the league.
Manager Bruce Bochy might have found a good combination in Joe Panik and Stephen Vogt, at least against right-handed pitchers.
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Crowds arrive early on opening day of the Golden Gate International Exposition. Feb. 18, 1939.
Panik has hit .294 with a healthy .379 on-base percentage over this past 14 games. Vogt has been an on-base machine since he arrived last week, with seven hits and two walks in 17 plate appearances.
Panik and Vogt combined were 4-for-6 with four walks in Friday’s loss. They had the Giants’ only hits, three for Vogt and one for Panik.
“Our table-setters did exactly what you’re hoping for,” Bochy said. “We just couldn’t get a big hit to keep it going.”
D-Rod loss: The San Francisco record for consecutive home losses behind the same starting pitcher is 10, set in 1979 with John Montefusco. They need to win Dereck Rodriguez’s next home start to avoid matching that mark. Rodriguez and Barry Zito are tied with nine apiece.
Rodriguez actually showed some improvement in Friday night’s loss even though he allowed four runs, all unearned, in the second inning. In two prior starts he had allowed 14 runs (12 earned) over eight innings.
His stuff is fine. He just isn’t getting the ball where he wants to. He walked four in all three of the starts and is getting beat on a lot of misplaced two-strike pitches.
“I’m trying to get good outs when I need to,” Rodriguez said. “I still feel my command was off like the last two outings, but we’ll get there.”
Rodriguez pitched three shutout innings after the fourth.
Reports: Two national reporters had Giants-related nuggets Saturday morning.
Jon Heyman of FanCred sports reported the Giants have claimed recently designated Phillies outfielder Aaron Altherr, who hit 19 homers in 372 at-bats two years ago but has slumped since. More on that as the news develops. Since Altherr is out of options, he would have to be on the big-league roster if the Giants indeed claimed him.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported the eight teams on Madison Bumgarner’s no-trade list. They are all contenders: Braves, Red Sox, Cubs, Astros, Brewers, Yankees, Phillies and Cardinals.
The list is clearly strategic. Players increasingly pick contending teams so they gain leverage when one with playoff aspirations wants him. The leverage can gain them financial benefit and more say on where they might go.