Giants' Stratton relies on sneaky weapon, mows down Nats in Game 1 of DH

Giants' Stratton relies on sneaky weapon, mows down Nats in Game 1 of DH

WASHINGTON D.C. — Chris Stratton's first start this season came with just a few minutes of notice after Johnny Cueto was scratched with an ear infection. His second start was delayed nearly two weeks because of a groin injury that was probably about as real as the roof at Nationals Park. 

When Stratton’s third start was delayed once again, Bruce Bochy approached the rookie right-hander. He was pleased with Stratton’s reaction to being pushed back two days by rain. 

“He’s got a sense of calmness about him,” Bochy said. “He doesn’t get rattled by anything.”

Perhaps there’s a good reason for that. Stratton has a 15-month-old son at home. A couple of days of waiting around in the clubhouse can’t seem that stressful for the 26-year-old. Stratton said he learned his lesson from his previous start, which was pushed back an additional 15 minutes by a pre-game ceremony at AT&T Park. When the rain came Friday, he just sat back in a clubhouse chair and relaxed. 

“You just have to be ready for whatever,” Stratton said. 

The Nationals weren’t ready for him. 

Stratton struck out 10 in one of the better starts of the year for the Giants, leading the way in a 4-2 win on Sunday afternoon. The double-digit strikeout performance was just the fifth of the year for the Giants. The win was the first of the season for Stratton, who is going to get a long audition to be a part of next season’s pitching staff. 

“We were hoping he would get a sense of comfort about him with a consistent starting situation, where he could get on a roll or groove,” Bochy said. “He had good command of all his pitches today and threw some nice pitches with two strikes … the put-away pitches, he executed those well.”

Stratton primarily turned to a curveball that’s a sneaky weapon. It has the highest spin rate of any curve in the game this season, and Stratton threw it 21 times in 6 2/3 innings, getting five swinging strikes. Four of his strikeouts ended with a curveball. Only one of the curveballs Stratton threw resulted in a hit. 

“It’s your traditional 12-to-6 type of breaker and he has good command of it,” Bochy said. “He doesn’t leave it up too often. It’s a very effective pitch for him.”

Stratton mixed in a good slider, too, and topped out at 93 mph when needed. Bochy called it a mix that will play at this level, and said he hopes Sunday will show Stratton “how good his stuff is.”

The Giants want Stratton to take a confidence boost from this and build off of it, but, as has been the case all year, his next start may not be on normal rest. Stratton was originally supposed to start on Friday and Wednesday of this trip, but the rain ruined those plans. The Giants will use a spot starter Wednesday and then will have to reshuffle their rotation in some way. Stratton doesn’t mind. He’s just ready to show what he can do. 

“All you can hope for is an opportunity and you go out there and make the most of it,” he said.

Duffy family cat, Skeeter, passes away at 15

Matt Duffy/Instagram

Duffy family cat, Skeeter, passes away at 15

We have some sad news to report.

Skeeter, the lovable four-legged member of Matt Duffy's family, passed away in Long Beach on Saturday night. He was 15 years old.

Duffy made the news public with an Instagram post on Sunday evening.

"Even when it's expected, losing a member of the family is never easy. Sometimes you'd forget this little guy was even a cat. After 15 awesome years, last night we had to say goodbye to Skeeter boy. Thank you for all the love and support that Skeets has gotten over the past couple of years. Our furry little light has gone dark," Duffy wrote.

Skeeter, slightly overweight for his size, stole the hearts of Giants fans after Duffy made his debut with the Giants in August of 2014.

When Duffy was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays at the 2016 trade deadline, Skeeter remained in California with Duffy's parents.

Evans on Stanton trade talk: 'If they didn't think there was a good chance...'


Evans on Stanton trade talk: 'If they didn't think there was a good chance...'

The Giants are looking to land the biggest fish of them all in a home-run-hitting sea.

San Francisco reportedly proposed a trade offer with the Marlins for Giancarlo Stanton. On Sunday, GM Bobby Evans opened up on the possibility of a deal getting done.

"The Marlins made it clear that when you get close to a deal, then they'll approach the player," Evans said on MLB Network Radio. "I don't think they would be talking to us if they didn't think there was a good chance something like that could get approved. But, they haven't given us an answer relative to that yet. Certainly, we're very early in the process."

While reports surfaced Friday of the Giants make an offer to the Marlins, details have not yet become clear. And it sounds like Evans is still looking for an answer as to what Miami's front office is looking for. 

"We don't have any indication at this point from the Marlins as to what their expectations are," Evans says. 

Complicating matters is Stanton's monster of a contract. Stanton is guaranteed $295 million over the next 10 seasons. His contract includes a full no-trade clause and an opt-out after 2020. 

"With a move like that, I think that the process typically when we're dealing with Miami or any other club, a guy with a no-trade, you don't really get any clarity on that until you get closer to a deal," Evans said. 

The Giants are trying to turn the clock to 25 years ago in 1992 when in the offseason, Barry Bonds won the National League MVP with the Pirates and then joined the Giants as a free agent. Matters are a bit different as the Giants would acquire Stanton via trade, but the 28-year-old just won the NL MVP after hitting league-leading 59 home runs.