In the midst of a seven-game stretch in hitter-friendly ballparks that devour starting pitchers, the San Francisco Giants have called up a two-for-one special.
After optioning No. 7 prospect Tyler Beede after a nightmare outing on Friday in his first big-league start, the Giants have called up switch-pitcher Pat Venditte.
With three games left at Great American Ballpark against the Cincinnati Reds, and then three games in Denver against the Colorado Rockies, San Francisco needed more bullpen help than extra starters. The move is the latest in a flurry of roster management transactions, which included designating Gerardo Parra for assignment, promoting Mike Gerber, calling up Friday hero Stephen Vogt and sending backup catcher Erik Kratz to the injured list.
Moving Parra to add Gerber allowed San Francisco to get a better look at a young outfielder with years of club control left, but the addition of Venditte is more practical. Giants starters are averaging just 5 1/3 innings per start this season, with only Madison Bumgarner getting into the seventh with any regularity.
Venditte has pitched in nine games thus far for Triple-A Sacramento, with a 1-1 record and a 2.40 ERA in 15 innings, with 18 strikeouts to five walks.
In parts of three Major League seasons, Venditte is 2-2 with a 4.45 ERA in 64 2/3 innings, with 51 strikeouts to 26 walks. He’s been more effective against lefties with a 4.86 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a .186 batting average against, compared to .277 against righties.
He’s not a strict right-versus-right, left-versus-left match-up with his switch pitching. He’s gone opposite-side against hitters multiple times in his career (partially due to the rule that states that, when a switch hitter faces a switch pitcher, each side must declare which side they intend to use).
As a left-hander against right-handed batters, he’s given up a .364 batting average against, and versus left-handed batters as a righty, that drops to .182.
He’s thrown two innings in Cincinnati, and allowed only two hits. He’s thrown one inning at Colorado, and retired the side in order.
Beede’s promotion was never going to be for long, as starter Derek Holland’s trip to the injured list was going to be brief. He told the Examiner last week that, were this September, there’s “no chance” he would have gone on the injured list. Holland will come off of the list and start on Wednesday.