Hello. Have you heard the good word about Hunter Strickland?
/hands you a pamphlet
I've seen just 5⅔ innings of Strickland, but I am convinced that he is our savior. I mean, saver. Closer. Same thing. He should be on the postseason roster, and I present as evidence these 11 ridiculous pitches from Monday night. I hope you will be convinced.
Pitch #1: 99-mph fastball, foul ball
WELL, AIN'T THAT A KICK IN THE PANTS. Welcome to the world of Hunter Strickland, Dodgers guy who was kicked out of Mastodon for smelling too bad.
Buster Posey sets up almost right down the middle, cheating just a little to the outside half. He doesn't have to move his glove at all. Turner, obviously told that Strickland throws hard and looking for a first-pitch, get-it-in meatball, is late.
Pitch #2: 98-mph fastball, called strike
Posey sets up down the middle again, if a little up. Strickland paints the outside because he's apparently incapable of doing anything else. Turner makes a face like Strickland threw a live barracuda at him.
Pitch #3: 99-mph fastball, foul ball
Posey sets up down the middle yet again, and Turner is waiting for it. Kind of. Strickland hits the spot perfectly again, and Turner is still late, but takes a much better swing. The next fastball, he says, is mine.
Pitch #4: 84-mph slider, swinging strike
Woooop wooop woop woop woop woop. That's not a fastball. It's also the first time that Strickland missed his target, yet he missed it in another perfect spot. This pitch is one of the reasons the GIF was invented.
Pitch #5: 84-mph slider, swinging strike
Scott Van Slyke saw the previous at-bat, and he was ready for the fastball, so ready. Try that first-pitch, get-it-in-fastball on me, he says. I'm Scott Van Slyke. My dad played with Barry Bonds. He was the reason the Pirates felt comfortable not pursuing Barry Bonds, which means he must have been better than Barry Bonds, which means I share DNA with someone better than woooop wooop woop woop woop woop, aw, man, that's not a fastball.
Pitch #6: 99-mph fastball, called strike
Posey sets up away, and the pitch is perfectly placed to the inside corner. Even when Strickland missed on Monday night, he threw a brilliant pitch.
Pitch #7: 98-mph fastball, called strike
Possibly not a strike. Also a pitch so perfect, it demands to be called a strike out of respect.
Pitch #8 - 99-mph fastball, ball
The only ball of the inning, and it was almost right to the mitt.
Pitch #9: 98-mph fastball, called strike
A minor calibration later, and the pitch goes exactly where it's supposed to. Gordon, doing the smart thing by taking a pitch until he gets a strike, gets something he can't even slap into left field.
Pitch #10: 98-mph fastball, called strike
I have a feeling that Strickland could hit that spot for five innings if he needs to. It's at this point that I wonder if Posey is actually giggling behind his mask.
Pitch #11: 99-mph fastball, ground out
There you have it, the first save of Hunter Strickland's career. I don't remember ever being so giddy about a reliever's first two weeks. The called strikes are almost more impressive than the swinging strikes. It's not just the brute force. It's also the command.
The brute force is kind of rad.
I still want Sergio Romo back if he can't find a closing gig on the open market. But if there's someone willing to pay Romo closer money, and if the Giants feel comfortable with Strickland's health, I don't see how the Giants don't have a new eighth-inning guy and/or closer next year. Look at this guy. Look at this arm volcano and the strike debris that's being shot into the air. Look at this guy.
Hold on, I'm going to do the same thing for a Juan Gutierrez appearance and see if he should be on the playoff roster over Strickland. Gimme a minute.