AT&T PARK — San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy stopped short of saying he was satisfied with this season. Such an assessment would imply a three-time World Series winner could easily stomach a mediocre 42-39 record.
Bochy, though, realizes things could be worse given the injuries the Giants have faced. More than half of his rotation has missed time. Evan Longoria, his starting third baseman acquired in an offseason trade, is out. The Giants have cobbled together a workable pitching staff and lineup to remain five games out of first in the NL West entering Thursday’s series finale against the Colorado Rockies. So while Bochy might not be satisfied, he’s also not disappointed.
“We’ve done what we were hoping to do,” Bochy said. “We didn’t let this get away from us with the injuries we had, so you’ll take it.”
With right–hander Chris Stratton — a key member of San Francisco’s hodgepodge rotation — on the bump Thursday, and struggling Rockies starter Jon Gray presenting a seemingly beneficial matchup, the Giants will look to end their 10-game home stand with a flourish.
Stratton appeared out of sorts in May, surrendering no fewer than three runs per start over a six-start stretch and posting a 6.31 ERA in May. Because Stratton pitched to a 3.68 ERA last season, though, Bochy was confident the 27-year-old would work things out. Bochy attributed some of the issues to Stratton going on paternity leave in late-April, which the manager said might have pushed Stratton out of his routine.
Recently, Stratton has been much more effective. In June, he’s 2-2 with a 2.48 ERA.
“He’s gotten back on track, and I think it’s because of the fastball command,” Bochy said. He added that the breaking ball has improved too, giving Stratton a put-away pitch that “got away from him a little bit.”
Gray, meanwhile, hasn’t handled San Francisco’s batting order well this year. His two shortest starts have come against the Giants, who tagged him for nine runs in those games.
Overall, Gray sports a 5.52 ERA despite a high-90s fastball and sharp breaking ball. Part of that is due to him playing a Coors Field, which is known as one of the best hitter’s parks in the league. Gray is near the top of the NL leaderboard in strikeouts per nine innings (11.45), FIP (3.02) and xFIP (2.82). FIP and xFIP account for how stadiums impact pitchers like Gray, removing that influence from their ERAs.
Because of those underlying numbers, and because the Giants lineup is sometimes prone to unexpected lapses, Bochy remained level-headed about his team’s chances against Gray.
“He’s got big stuff,” Bochy said. “You’ll see him out there throwing 96 [mph] with a good breaking ball, change up. Some things are hard to explain. I know when we were facing [San Diego Padres starter Clayton Richard] the other day, the talk was about how we’d have so much success against him andchris strattonMLBSan Francisco Giants