Chris Stratton probably won’t be in the Giants’ rotation next year, at least not by design. If he’s one of the starting five, that’s because someone or someones are hurt, Johnny Cueto opts out, prospects are hurt or struggling, and there aren’t any offseason acquisitions. There’s almost no way for him to pitch his way into the 2018 rotation.
But he’s making the Giants think. He’s sticking in their head, like the Mennen jingle. ♬Chris Stratton.♬ You know, like that Seinfeld episode where ...
Oh, forget it. Just know that Stratton is at least putting himself into a broader conversation of how he can be useful to the Giants. That’s not something I expected to write two months ago, so don’t count him out for the 2017 rotation yet. He’s already overcome some pretty steep odds to be winning games for a lousy team in August, so, heck, maybe stop underestimating him?
To be fair (or unfair!), Stratton wasn’t missing a lot of bats in this one. This wasn’t the curveball dominance he showed off against the Nationals. While the Brewers are a formidable offensive team, they’re also a team that likes to hack, and Stratton couldn’t make them miss. He was regularly working from behind, and he allowed plenty of hard contact, but it was all mostly hit in the right spot.
Or, to use nerd stats, Stratton’s ERA in the game was 0.00, but his FIP was 3.80 and his xFIP was 5.60. That sums it up, really. He was either perfect, pretty good, or awful.
I’ll split the middle, like a true weasel. He was pretty good! And for the second straight start, you’re happier for having watched him pitch. I don’t know what his future with the team is, if he’s going to be more Yusmeiro Petit than Ryan Vogelsong, but I know that he’s one of the most interesting players on the 2017 Giants.
Which says an awful, awful lot. But if we’re limiting the discussion to just Stratton, that’s a compliment. A backhanded but totally earnest compliment.
The Giants got their first home shutout of 2017. They had 11 home shutouts last year. They had 18 home shutouts in 2015.
What I’m trying to say is that I’m worried about the 2017 Giants, but I’ll save that for another night. In this game, they kept the Brewers from scoring a run. They’re undefeated when they do that.
I know that a bunch of lawyers read this site, possibly while billing other people. I can respect that. I’m going to need one of you to write up a cease and desist letter for me. It will be sent to the other 29 teams, and it will demand that everyone stop hitting Giants players with baseballs.
My requirements are that the letter include the following words or themes:
- Stop hitting Giants players with baseballs
- Or else
Pablo Sandoval — the guy who’s playing because pitchers wouldn’t stop hitting Christian Arroyo with baseballs — was hit by a baseball. If he misses tomorrow, that means that 75 percent of the Giants’ starting infield will be out of the lineup because people keep hitting them with baseballs. And if Buster Posey rests another day, that’s a cool 50 percent of the entire lineup that’s out.
Brandon Crawford should probably flinch at every pitch, really. This is a very, very crappy Final Destination sequel, and the baseballs are coming for him. I’d make a joke about how he’d catch them all, but that would make tonight some weird foreshadowing ...
Matt Cain, short reliever, is an interesting idea. Not for the Giants next year. Oh, heavens no. But it wouldn’t be that strange if he could reinvent himself like Joe Blanton did a couple years ago. Blanton and Cain have always floated in each other’s orbit, from being drafted in the same round of the Moneyball draft to being obvious descendents of Bobby Hill, and it could work.
He had a sweet perfect seventh inning while I was too busy screaming at the TV “WHY IS MATT CAIN PITCHING RIGHT NOW,” and I’d love for him to emerge as a middle reliever somewhere, picking up velocity as the season goes on.
It’s hard to see where he would fit in with the Giants, who have Suddenly Fixed Sam Dyson throwing 97-mph sinkers, as well as several other relievers they’ll want to keep around for a bit, but the inning of short relief was encouraging.
And while we’re on the subject, I was always bummed that Kirk Rueter didn’t stick around and try a second career as a LOOGY. I really need to get myself a GM job. I have a Monster.com alert set up, but I’ll be honest, I think I need to know someone.