Giants Sign Rosenthal, Then See Bullpen Implode in LA: Dodgers capture second-half opener, 9-6

By Morris Phillips

The Giants’ eighth inning lead over the Dodgers on Thursday night seemed like an incredible accomplishment. It was, but it didn’t last long.

After trailing 5-0, the Giants rallied to lead 6-5 in the eighth, with Darin Ruf’s grand slam as the centerpiece of their awakening. But the Dodgers felt a nudge as well: they answered with Trayce Thompson’s RBI triple, then Mookie Betts’ dramatic, three-run shot to take the lead.

Dominic Leone opened the inning by striking out Jake Lamb, but Gavin Lux battled through a two-strike situation with a double. Max Muncy’s ground out advanced Lux to third, which gave Thompson, brother of the Warriors’ Klay, a big spot and he delivered with the game-tying triple.

In what was clearly not a strategic move, Jarlin Garcia came on to face Cody Bellinger, hitting just .208 and still not removed from his struggles of the last two seasons. But in a left-on-left matchup, Garcia unintentionally delivered four, consecutive balls, and that brought Betts up with two on in a big spot.

Betts delivered with the home run into the left field bleachers on the third pitch of the at-bat, and not only was the Giants’ gutty comeback wiped out, the game was essentially lost.

The irony of it all? The Giants’ bullpen is in a state of upheaval, witnessed by Jake McGee’s release, Mauricio Llovera’s emergence and subsequent injury, and now the signing of veteran closer Trevor Rosenthal. The 32-year old right hander represents a world of potential, but he’s thrown just 40 innings over the last five seasons as injuries have consumed his career. In fact, last season as the member of the A’s, Rosenthal didn’t pitch at all as thoracic outlet syndrome cancelled his stint with the A’s, who were on the hook for the closer’s one-year, $11 million deal.

The Giants have been encouraged by Rosenthal’s workouts over the last month and moved to sign him to a $4.5 million deal for the rest of the season, which won’t commence until Rosenthal ramps up his workouts and heals his hamstring. Despite all the questions, the Giants and manager Gabe Kapler stand bullish.

“Obviously, it’s been some time and hasn’t been on the mound in a while,” Kapler said. “But the talent hasn’t gone anywhere. It’s an electric arm. Physical, strong body. Lot of potential to really make an impact for us in the second half.” 

It’s clear the Giants had to do something, they’re 13 and a half games behind the Dodgers after Thursday’s loss, and they possess the eighth-best record in the NL, but are only a game-and-a-half from moving into the fifth spot. From a strategic standpoint, the Giants stood pat on Thursday witht their platoon-heavy lineup featuring Lamonte Wade Jr. in the leadoff spot again despite his sub-.200 batting average. Carlos Rodon, who was held off the All-Star roster with this start against the Dodgers as the reason, was rocked, allowing five runs on six hits in his five innings.

Freddie Freeman hit a solo shot off Rodon in the first. Justin Turner knocked in a pair with a double in the third, and Hanser Alberto followed that with an RBI double of his own. After just three innings, the Giants trailed 5-0.

The Giants appeared to get a break with Mitch White drawing the start for the Dodgers. The spot starter was preferred over Julio Urias, and Tony Gonsolin and Clayton Kershaw pitched in the All-Star Game on Tuesday. But White was fantastic, allowing one hit in five innings.

An opening was forged in the seventh when Evan Longoria homered, and Ruf hit his slam. Ruf pinch hit for Wade in the sixth, and his second at-bat became the occasion of his first-ever big league grand slam. Phil Bickford allowed Longoria’s blow and Alex Vesia was the pitcher who empowered Ruf. Those two relievers, who were tabbed when manager Dave Roberts had better options, were all the vulnerability the hosts were willing to show on Thursday.

Evan Phillips, the former Oriole, followed with his 1.70 ERA in 37 appearances, giving the veteran the best season to date of his six-year career. But he too struggled, walking Thairo Estrada with the bases loaded to give the Giants’ their short-lived lead. Phillips also walked Wilmer Flores who led off the inning, and Luis Gonzalez intentionally to load the bases and take his chances with Estrada.

One of the Giants’ ongoing issues is their inability to dial up strikeouts from their bullpen. Rodon, even with his obvious failures on Thursday, struck out seven. But after he departed four Giants’ relievers registered just two strikeouts, which enhanced the hosts ability to rally and prevail.

The two teams meet again on Friday with Logan Webb facing Tyler Anderson, the former Colorado Rockie who’s been energized with his move to Los Angeles. Anderson has a 10-1 record and a 2.96 ERA.

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Athletics Sabermetrics and Closer

Former San Diego Padre pitcher and current Oakland A’s pitcher Trevor Rosenthal seen in this Sep 26, 2020 photo is congratulated by catcher Austin Nola after pitching against the San Francisco Giants. Rosenthal will be out for approximately four months after having arm surgery (Bay Area News Group file photo)

Athletics: Sabermetrics and Closer

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

Perhaps the worse news for the Oakland A’s 1-7 start to the 2021 season is that they will be without Trevor Rosenthal, signed to a 1-year deal for $11 million contract to take the place of Liam Hendricks, who is now the closer with the Chicago White Sox. Rosenthal had surgery Thursday.

An issue affected his pitching arm (he threw 100 mph) this surgery required removing his first rib releasing the pectoralis minor muscle of his chest-wall. It is called Thoracic Surgery. Matt Harvey had same surgery a couple of years ago when he was pitching for the Cincinnati Reds; today he is pitching with the Baltimore Orioles.

Rosenthal will be out a few months, maybe back in July or August, if everything goes very well during his rehab. About the Rosenthal surgery, manager Bob Melvin said; “I had a feeling that was going to happen,” Melvin said before Thursday’s game against the Astros. “Everything went well. I don’t really have a timetable or anything like that.”

Without a legitimate experienced closer, the team is left with these potential replacements for that position: Jake Diekman, Lou Trivino, J.B. Wendelken or Jordan Weems. Some suggested that young A.J Puk was given a shot, but he was recently placed on the Injured List as they called up Deolis Guerra.

The closer has become one of the most specialized and important jobs for a pitcher in baseball, it’s a given, that nobody can win without a star closer. We do not know, if the A’s would make a trade to acquire somebody to take their closer spot, nobody knows.

You really never know who is going to become a great closer. In 1987 I remember when Dennis Eckersley came to the A’s from the Chicago Cubs (already a 13-year veteran and 20-game winner in 1978 with Boston) Eckersley started two games with the A’s before an injury to then closer Jay Howell.

That opened the door for Eckersley as pitching coach Dave Duncan and manager Tony LaRussa gave him the ball to move into the closer’s role. That year Eck saved 16 games, next year 1988 he saved a league-leading 45 games helped the A’s win the pennant and went to the World Series, and the rest is history.

He was a dominant closer with the Athletics until 1995, then ended with St Louis and finally back to Boston for his last season in 1998. Dennis Eckersley pitched for 24 years ended with 390 games saved. In 2004 he was elected with an A’s uniform to the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, New York.

I will never forgot one of my interviews with him while playing here in Oakland. I asked him what makes him that sharp (I nicknamed him, “La Cuchilla”- “The Knife”) he responded “I am afraid of failure and that keeps me motivated.”

He was as automatic as any closer during those years in baseball. The Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays are the sabermetics darlings of Major League Baseball. They have not spend a lot but they have gotten very good return on their investment, the A’s won the Western Division last season, the Tampa Bay Rays won the American League pennant and lost to the Dodgers in the World Series.

Both clubs are similar in their approach to player’s salaries and they have worked the Sabermetrics very well. The world (everybody not only baseball people) was made aware of Sabermetrics by the movie Moneyball in 2011. “Baseball is like a poker game, nobody wants to quit when he’s loosing; nobody wants you to quit when you are ahead” -Jackie Robinson.

Stay well and stay tuned

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Spanish radio play by play announcer for the Oakland A’s flagship station 1010 KIQI LaGrande San Francisco and does News and Commentary at

That’s Amaury: Regardless of who wins series both teams battled hard

Ted Williams
That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary
Regardless of who wins the series with the next two games on Wednesday and Thursday games five and six should be sensational games. This has been a series that has been dominating by pitching and it has been terrific the Cardinals starter on Wednesday Michael Wacha the rookie who took to the mound in game six and he’s 4-0 22 year old and the Cards have seven rookies on that roster.
The Cards have Carlos Martinez, Trevor Rosenthal to name a few who are just rookies and their doing a great job and here’s another thing about the Cardinals of the 25 man roster 20 players are home grown there is no other team in baseball that I have found that has 20 players who are home grown. Let me explain homegrown to those who think I’m joking there are players they have signed through their own farm system and they made it to the big leagues.
Of those 20 seven are rookies, that’s incredible you have a team that basically that’s home grown except Carlos Beltran who came from other teams, Matt Holliday is the other non rookie, most of these players are Cardinal discoveries. That by itself show tremendous organization by the Cards.
Goodell wants NFL team in London:  It’s a lot of travel to go from the mainland to fly to London but it’s intriguing here’s Major League Baseball who as we know that opened their season there’s a difference they have opened the season in Mexico City, the Dodgers and the Diamondbacks are going to open the MLB season in Australia but that’s just opening a game there in the regular season.
To have a team in another country what is the flight time for the 49ers and the Raiders to travel all the way to London. This is serious, I don’t know if the NFL can accomplish this this year or next or the next 20 years but I’ll tell you what the NFL is rich monetarily economically and fiscally sound professional sports league in the world. So if anybody can do it it’s the NFL.
That will be a tremendous undertaking to have a team down in London, I can see them doing it in Canada, Mexico, but to leave the continent and to go across the Atlantic to the other side of the world and consider this we are here in California that would be quite a stress for the teams to get there. They would have to fly three or four days in advance and three or four changes of time zones. It’s going to be tough but they might be able to do it.
Amaury Pi Gonzalez does News and Commentary each week for Sportstalk Radio