Carlos Rodon among Giants legends after historic start to 2022 season

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Rodón's historic start places him among Giants legends originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO -- To extend their winning streak to five games and inch back atop the National League West standings, the Giants had to win in a different ballpark, different time zone, and against a different opponent for the third consecutive day.

This has been a bizarre stretch, one that should have left the oldest team in the league looking for oxygen tanks. But in an 8-2 win over the rebuilding Athletics on Tuesday night, the Giants looked like they were coming off a day on the lake. They played good, crisp defense and had their usual lengthy at-bats. They got a couple of three-run homers, one from Wilmer Flores and one from Austin Slater.

They were never particularly stressed. Manager Gabe Kapler chalked the vibe up to the man on the mound. 
"Carlos set the tone," Kapler said.

Carlos Rodón has done that every time out as a Giant, and he's starting to keep some pretty absurd company. Rodón struck out nine more batters in his six innings, extending his MLB lead. At 38 strikeouts, he is now five ahead of reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes and future Hall-of-Famer Max Scherzer. He also has set the franchise record for strikeouts through the first four starts of the season, passing Tim Lincecum and Christy Mathewson.

If you're on a list with those two, you've done good work. If you're on a list with just Jacob deGrom, you're as good as it gets, and right now that's where Rodón sits. He has yet to allow more than three hits or one run in his Giants career, and he has at least eight strikeouts every time out. The only other pitcher in the modern era to have that kind of run is deGrom.

Rodón knew enough about the history in San Francisco to make it clear when he signed that he didn't want to wear the No. 55 that was on his back in Chicago. Asked about passing Lincecum's start in 2009, when he won the Cy Young, Rodón smiled and pointed out it's only been four games.

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"There's a lot more left," he said. "That's cool, but Tim did a lot of amazing things here, so it doesn't really mean much, I feel like."

Rodón might also realize that the deGrom stat comes with a caveat, too. Those numbers were put up before deGrom got hurt, and health is what has kept Rodón from becoming a superstar. It is early, and he has to prove he can do this for five more months and then potentially into a postseason, but right now Rodón continues to be as good as it gets.

"We had heard through people that we have in common -- all of us -- that he was pretty electric on the mound, and obviously we had some White Sox highlights and looked at his numbers," Kapler said. "I think we had a pretty good indication that he was a dominant starter, and he has certainly met or exceeded our expectations."

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