SAN FRANCISCO — Derek Holland’s spot start couldn’t have been sharper. Holland, starting in order to give Johnny Cueto an extra day of rest, allowed just five hits and struck out eight in 6 1/3 innings. The lone run on his line came on an error after he had given way to Sam Dyson.
It was a good night. Imagine how much better it could have been if Holland could have faced his own lineup.
With Evan Longoria on the disabled list and Buster Posey battling a hip injury, the Giants have struggled mightily against left-handed starters. They entered the night having lost 10 of their last 15 against southpaws, and for the season they had a .237 average and .685 OPS. Tuesday didn’t improve the stats any.
The lineup managed just three hits off José Quintana and didn’t touch the Chicago bullpen, falling 2-0.
“We had some right-handed bats in there. We’ve got to fix it, though,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Lefties have done a pretty good job on us. Their guy pitched well, but at the same time this has been going on for a while against left-handed pitching.”
Bochy said he would get with his staff and try to find an overnight solution, with the Giants set to face another lefty, Mike Montgomery, on Wednesday. He tried to mix it up against Quintana, giving Chase d’Arnaud his first start and hoping Hunter Pence’s Monday momentum carried over. Nick Hundley hit cleanup. It didn’t work.
That left Holland with a loss that even Matt Cain would view as brutal. He has been a good soldier, giving the Giants solid work out of the bullpen the past week. With the relievers still a bit gassed, Bochy needed length. Holland took a shutout into the seventh.
“As I was brought up, you want to be the starter and the closer at the same time,” Holland said. “I was trying to do everything I could to stay out there.”
For now, it’s back to the bullpen, although Holland looks more than worthy of further spot starts in the second half. The Giants have solved their starting depth problems. Now they need to fix some other issues.