Giants notes: What might a Strickland suspension look like?

Giants notes: What might a Strickland suspension look like?

SAN FRANCISCO — I had a fair amount of time to think about the Strickland v. Harper on my drive home, and my main takeaway is this: The Giants got shut out for the second time in four days. 

Don’t let a couple of punches wipe away the end result Monday. When all was said and done, the Giants had dropped another game in lifeless — if you take out the fight — fashion. They left nine on base while losing 3-0, wasting one of Matt Moore’s best days as a Giant. 

Facing the best lineup in the National League, Moore allowed two runs on six hits. He struck out five and walked none for the first time since April 10. 

“I’ll be honest, I never try to walk someone,” Moore said of his aggressive approach Monday. “It was just being able to get in a good rhythm and it’s getting back to having command of all your pitches.”

Buster Posey thought Moore’s cutter was especially lethal against the Nationals, who lead the majors with 277 runs. The Giants, on the other end, rank 29th at 179. 

The big story from yesterday was obviously the fight. Here’s Hunter Strickland’s side. Here’s what Bryce Harper had to say. 

There haven’t been a whole lot of fights like that in recent memory, so it’s hard to guess at exactly what the commissioner’s office will do. The one that comes to mind in terms of mound-charging and hatred is Zack Greinke and Carlos Quentin, but that wasn't nearly as violent. Quentin got suspended for eight games; Greinke didn’t get suspended at all, but he broke his collarbone and missed two months.

Rougned Odor also got eight games for clocking Jose Bautista and the late Yordano Ventura got nine for a fight with Manny Machado, but Ventura was a starter, and their suspensions take into account how many starts you'll miss. 

That seems to be the range we're looking at with Strickland, somewhere in the six-to-eight ballpark, given that he's someone who is available every day. There is, however, a growing feeling within the game that punishments need to be increased, and it's possible Strickland is hammered because of the three-years-later nature of the pitch. 

--- Eduardo Nuñez said his vision was still blurry today and he wasn’t available to pinch-hit. It wouldn’t be a surprise at all to see Nuñez placed on the DL today. Orlando Calixte was still around after the game. 

--- Christian Arroyo, who turned 22 today, snapped an 0 for 21 with a double off the third-base bag in the third inning, but he’s far from the only Giant slumping. Joe Panik has just one hit in his past six games

--- I’m not sure the Giants get Strickland off the field without Mac Williamson grabbing his legs, the sign of a man who grew up with plenty of brothers. But it wasn’t a great day for Williamson overall, with two strikeouts and a rare move in what would have been his third at-bat. Bochy pinch-hit Michael Morse for Williamson. That’s right-handed bat for right-handed bat, something you don't see often. Morse struck out. With Hunter Pence back as soon as this weekend, it's not hard to guess at the roster move. 

--- From the minors, Chris Shaw hit his first homer in Triple-A last night. He’s 6- for 21 with a homer and three doubles in five games. A nice start for the left fielder. 

Starting to rev things up, Hunter Pence has big night at plate and in left

Starting to rev things up, Hunter Pence has big night at plate and in left

PEORIA — Jeff Samardzija spent a couple minutes after Thursday’s start talking to reporters about how deep he thinks the Giants lineup can be. It’ll be a hell of a lot deeper if Hunter Pence keeps hitting like this. 

After a slow start to the spring, Pence is charging. He had three hits against the Padres: a triple that bounced off the top of the wall in right-center, a hard single up the middle, and a double to center. The more encouraging plays for the Giants happened in left field. Pence chased down a drive to the line in the third inning, leaving the bases loaded. He opened the fourth by going the other direction and gloving a fly ball to left-center. 

"A good game for Hunter, both ways," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's getting more comfortable out there. You can see it with the jumps he's getting right now. It takes a little while when you change positions, but I think he's going to be fine out there."

The Giants appear set to have Austin Jackson and Pence atop the lineup against left-handed starters, and that duo could see plenty of time early. Seven of the first nine games are against the Dodgers, who have four lefty starters. 

--- Evan Longoria had a double off the right-center wall on Wednesday after missing a week with a sore ankle. He had a single the same way in his second at-bat Thursday. More than the at-bats, Longoria has impressed with his soft hands and steady arm at third. The ankle looks fine, too. 

“My ankle feels pretty good,” Longoria said. “I don’t think it’s going to be an issue going forward.”

--- It’s been a quiet spring for Andrew McCutchen, but we saw the wheels tonight. McCutchen easily stole second after a two-run single in the fifth. When Evan Longoria bounced one to the left side, shortstop Freddy Galvis tried to go to third for the lead out, but McCutchen beat that throw, too. He got up and put his hands on his hips, as if to say, "Why'd you even try that?"

--- Samardzija allowed three homers in a six-batter span in the third. He allowed three homers in an inning in his previous start, too, but he said he’s not concerned. Samardzija deemed it a sequencing issue. He’s working in a new changeup and threw it in situations he normally wouldn’t; Eric Hosmer took advantage of a floating one, crushing it to deep, deep right for the third homer. 

--- With a runner on, Brandon Belt put down a perfect bunt to foil the shift. Belt does that every spring, particularly against NL West teams, but rarely during the regular season. Maybe this will be the year?

Belt later crushed a homer to deep right. That had to feel good for a number of reasons. Belt is fighting a cold and he learned earlier in the day that his college coach, Augie Garrido, had passed away.

Josh Osich goes back to his roots looking to unleash all the potential


Josh Osich goes back to his roots looking to unleash all the potential

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — For most pitchers, spring training is a time to experiment and add a pitch or two. Josh Osich is using this month to go the other direction. 

Osich spent the offseason watching film of his 2015 season, when he looked like he might one day be the closer in San Francisco, and decided that he needed to get back to his roots. That means the curveball, which he tried so hard to mix in last year, is now far back in the cupboard. The four-seam and two-seam fastballs are once again the focus, with an emphasis on changing eye levels more than he did a year ago. The changeup and cutter will round out his arsenal for the most part. 

Osich’s raw stuff is still as good as just about any lefty reliever in the league, and he hopes to take advantage of that while putting a rough 2017 season in his rearview mirror. He had a 6.23 ERA last season and 1.73 WHIP.

“It’s just one of those learning years,” Osich said. “I tried to live at the bottom of the zone and I was, but I was actually below the zone. So then I would fall behind and need to throw a strike and that’s when guys would hit me.”

Osich, 29, had a 2.20 ERA and 1.12 WHIP during that 2015 season that he keeps going back to. He walked eight batters in 28 2/3 innings, a far cry from the 27 he walked in 43 1/3 last year. While watching the 2015 version of himself, Osich saw that his hands were higher, and that’s something he’s working to replicate. He’s also trying to slow his pace to the plate. So far, the results are nothing but encouraging. Osich allowed one hit and struck out one in a 2 1/3 inning appearance on Wednesday night. Manager Bruce Bochy let him extend himself to keep the good vibes going. 

In six appearances this spring, Osich has allowed just four hits over seven scoreless innings. He has seven strikeouts and one walk. 

“O, it just seems like he’s got confidence,” Bochy said. “He’s kept it simple, he’s not tinkering with different pitches. He’s throwing more strikes, and more than anything he’s just trying to pound the strike zone now with quality strikes. That’s all he has to do. You look at him and he’s hitting 95 with a couple of good off-speed pitches. That works here.”