Stratton, Giants shutout A’s in final dress rehearsal
Much ink has been spilled about the injuries suffered by Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija but Tuesday’s news of injuries to relievers Mark Melancon and Julian Fernández left the Giants scrambling to fill out their pitching staff. Chris Stratton‘s spot on that staff was virtually assured when pitchers and catchers reported in mid-February.
Stratton made his sixth start of the spring, scattering four hits across 5 shutout innings, walking one and punching out three. The righty threw 72 pitches, 45 for strikes. Stratton is scheduled to make his season debut Sunday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Giants attacked A’s starter Andrew Triggs early, taking the lead eight pitches into the bottom of the first on a Joe Panik lead-off triple and a Brandon Belt RBI groundout. With Triggs out of the game in the fourth, Austin Jackson plated Evan Longoria and Hunter Pence to widen the lead to three.
Manager Bruce Bochy said pre-game that sometimes the Giants will just have to out-hit teams until their pitching staff is fully healthy:
“That’s what helps you have a nice year, you win those type of games too. You can’t depend on your pitching to shut down the opposing team, it’s not going to happen every night. Sometimes you got to win those 9-8 games … I think we’re better equipped to win some of those games.”
Even considering AT&T Park’s rapid transition into an injury ward, the Giants showed why optimism still surrounds the team’s retooled lineup. Longoria started a key 5-2-3 double play in the first inning with the bases loaded and none out. Andrew McCutchen hit a booming double off the wall in left-center. Jackson’s two-run knock was a first-pitch ambush on the newly-entered Liam Hendriks. Pence and Belt each had multiple hits and finish Spring Training with batting averages north of .300.
Bochy discussed what a boost the team’s big name additions have been all spring long:
“I feel great, it’s nice to have these guys. Especially with what’s happened … we’re better equipped to handle (injury issues), we’re a little nicked up. But we’ve gotten better offensively and defensively. More depth. Two heart of the order guys. That makes a difference.”
If the Giants can take that momentum into the regular season, an absent Bumgarner may not be the death knell it seemed it was five days ago.
The Giants break the seal on 2018 against Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium on Thursday. Ty Blach will make his first career Opening Day start while Clayton Kershaw will make his eighth. First pitch is scheduled for 4:08 p.m.
Josh Osich finishes Spring Training with 11 innings pitched, no runs allowed and 16 strikeouts to three walks and could give Will Smith some competition when he finishes Tommy John surgery rehab in May. … Sam Dyson notched a scoreless inning, looking much better than the Dyson who allowed three runs (including two homers) in a third of an inning March 20. … Derek Law and Pierce Johnson both threw scoreless innings and are both threats to make the roster if Melancon starts the season on the disabled list.