Anthony DeSclafani explains Andrew Vaughn dustup in Giants’ big win

DeSclafani explains Vaughn dustup in Giants’ win over White Sox originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

CHICAGO — Anthony DeSclafani got six swinging strikes on his slider in the Giants’ 12-3 win Monday, pairing it with his sinker to dominate the Chicago White Sox for six innings in his return to the mound. But it was a slider that was put in play that led to one of the more interesting moments of the young season so far.

DeSclafani got former Cal star Andrew Vaughn to bounce one back to the mound at 47 mph in the second inning, and after he threw Vaughn out at first, the two exchanged words. First baseman LaMonte Wade Jr. immediately jumped between the two and cooler heads prevailed. Home plate umpire James Hoye talked to both managers after the inning but there were no other issues.

DeSclafani said Vaughn took exception to the fact that he threw a 3-0 slider.

“He just didn’t say a nice word to me, so I said something back, but we’re all competing and there’s no ill feelings towards him or anything,” DeSclafani said. “Him not saying something nice, I’m just going to say something back.”

It used to be pretty commonplace for pitchers to throw fastballs on 3-0 to get back into the count, but that thinking is long gone. DeSclafani said the slider is his best pitch and he didn’t want to give in with a runner on base. It was one of the few moments Monday when he was even tested.

In his first start since last June, and his first since ankle surgery, the right-hander buzzed through a powerful White Sox lineup for six innings. He allowed just three hits and struck out four, relying heavily on a sinker-slider combo that nearly put him on the All-Star team in 2021.

“I felt like I was just throwing strikes with everything,” he said. “The two-seam, the slider, they were the keys of the game, I think. When I’ve got those two pitches working for me that kind of brings me back to 2021, so that’s encouraging. Hopefully I can continue to build off those two pitches and have those two pitches all year, and I think it’ll be a fun year.”

DeSclafani made 31 starts that season, his first in orange and black, and posted a 3.17 ERA. The Giants rewarded him with a three-year contract before the lockout started that winter, but ankle issues kept DeSclafani from repeating that success in 2022.

It would be a game-changer for the Giants to get that version back, and they were quietly optimistic all spring. They had Sean Manaea ready to piggyback in Monday’s game, but DeSclafani was so sharp that Manaea didn’t make his Giants debut until the seventh.

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On a day when the Giants hit seven homers, the best sign for future success came on the mound. Asked if he was more encouraged by the lineup’s fireworks or DeSclafani’s outing, manager Gabe Kapler smiled and asked, “Do I have to choose one?”

“To know that Tony came in throwing strikes, throwing his slider just off the edge of the plate and, when he needed to, getting in the zone with it, and his changeup looked good. He came out with good velocity, 93-95,” Kapler said. “He had a great spring for us, so it’s not surprising, but yeah, it couldn’t have gone better for Tony.”

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