In Sunday’s rubber match between the Giants and Mets, Chris Stratton — like Derek Holland, Andy Suárez, Madison Bumgarner and Dereck Rodríguez before him — put up a quality outing, his third-straight since former Giant Ryan Vogelsong diagnosed a problem with his mechanics during a stint in Sacramento.
San Francisco has been the beneficiary of stunning pitching this summer, even without their Nos. 2 and 3 in the rotation.
Said Manager Bruce Bochy:
“Sometimes [it] goes unnoticed how well we have been pitching. You look at what happened this year —Bum being out for a while, we lost Cueto, Samardzija’s been out, yet we’ve been pitching as well as anybody since June 1, better than anybody. So that’s been the silver lining through all this.”
Their offense though, Bochy acknowledges, has been missing in action:
“It’s been tough since June 1 with the offense, [we need] a couple guys getting hot [and] driving in runs, that’s what we’re missing. Somebody’s gotta do that for you to win ballgames.”
Starters posted a 3.12 ERA in August, and each outing has represented a challenge to the next guy up in the rotation.
Stratton (L, 9-8, 4.90 ERA) rose to the occasion in Sunday’s matinee, allowing just two runs on three hits, and he felt good about his performance:
“I think when you’re having success it’s easy to continue to go with it, but I just think that I’m more prepared now and I know what I need to do to fix it now [better] than I did in the past.”
But in a familiar theme, the Giants offense failed to support a quality start, striking out 11 times, only marginally better than the 16 strikeouts they notched the day before.
Stratton defended the honor of his team’s offense, which outscored the Mets 9-6 in this weekend’s three-game set, but still lost the series:
“We faced Noah Syndergaard today, he’s one of the best in the game. His changeup’s the same speed as my fastball. You just going out there battling the best you can. I mean we’ve faced three really good starters from them.”
The Giants young righty has just two pitches he’d like back, fastballs to Todd Frazier and Michael Conforto in back-to-back at-bats leading off the second inning. The first, Frazier lined to left for a double, and the very next pitch Conforto sailed over the wall in center field (20) to give the Mets a 2-0 lead.
“As soon as I threw that pitch I felt that what I’d been working on kind of got out of whack there. It’s a one pitch adjusmtent, but you hate for it to be to one of their best power hitters in that situation there with a runner on.”
Two runs shouldn’t have been insurmountable, even against Noah Syndergaard (W, CG, 10-3, 3.33 ERA) and Stratton, for one, was able to help his own cause. In the third inning, after the gazelle-like Alen Hanson took three bags on a one-out liner to right field, Stratton hit a sac fly deep enough to score Hanson.
Executing in this situation has been something the Giants haven’t been able to count on from position players this season, let alone pitchers at the plate, so it was certainly encouraging.
Bochy was appreciative of Stratton’s ability to get the job done.
“He really competed well, battled up there to find a way to get that run in and that was impressive.”
Stratton would allow only one more hit, a single in the third, before retiring the next 10 Mets in order. But at just 75 pitches, Bochy pinch-hit for him in the bottom of the sixth inning with the Giants still down, 2-1.
Bochy stipulated that Stratton wasn’t pulled out early for any health issue, though:
“[He] threw a nice ballgame, [but] leading off there in the sixth, it was pretty evident we were having trouble scoring runs, so [I decided to] put a hitter up there to lead things off against a tough pitcher to see if we could get a run.”
“We worked Stratton pretty hard last game, eight innings, 117 pitches, so he could’ve kept going [Sunday], but we gotta try to find a way to score, it doesn’t do us any good to sit on one run.”
The Mets added on two more off Sam Dyson in the eighth, but it wouldn’t matter, Stratton’s was the only RBI for San Francisco all afternoon. Syndergaard put the Giants away in his first career complete game, as he notched more than 10 strikeouts for just the 14th time in his career.
“He’s done that to a lot of clubs, throwing 99 with a good slider, changeup, two seamer—you got your hands full. It would’ve been nice to have kept it at one [run], but I do think you have to look at who’s on the hill. You don’t expect to score a lot, but with that said you’d like to think you’d get more than two hits.”
Sunday is a getaway day for the Giants as they head to Denver to face the Rockies in a three-game set. Madison Bumgarner (5-5, 2.68) will face lefty Tyler Anderson (6-7, 4.79) in Monday’s 12:10 p.m. series opener at Coors Field.
Brandon Crawford was out of the lineup for all three games of the series with the Mets. According to Bochy, Crawford is dealing with a badly bruised left knee, and ahead of Saturday’s game Bochy said the Gold Glove shortstop would be available off the bench, but he has not played since the series finale against the Diamondbacks Thursday. Bochy has declined to offer any specific incident that may have caused the bruise, and has maintained that Crawford is day-to-day. …Rookie Steven Duggar is expected to undergo surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder and according to Bochy, the procedure is tentatively schedule for Tuesday. Duggar will miss the rest of the season but is expected to be ready for Spring Training 2019.