'Something has got to change' for Chris Stratton after latest rough outing

'Something has got to change' for Chris Stratton after latest rough outing

PHILADELPHIA — Sometimes you miss your ace at the strangest times. At Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday night, the middle innings might have qualified. 

Chris Stratton has been forced into the top role thanks to injuries to Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto, and ineffectiveness for Jeff Samardzija, but as he walked three in the fifth, the Giants got a reminder that he’s probably not ready to be the stopper on the staff. In the sixth, they got a reminder that having to plug holes in the rotation can leave some big gaps in the bullpen. 

The result was an ugly 11-3 loss to the Phillies, the third straight after a sweep of the Braves. Stratton gave up five earned and walked four. Pierce Johnson, a late addition to the staff this spring, but one who has pitched well, compounded the damage and was charged with six earned. Derek Law, called up Tuesday because the Giants simply don’t have healthy arms on the 40-man roster, couldn’t stop the bleeding until the game was well out of hand. 

The Giants were not winning this one given the way Stratton pitched and the lineup failed to hit early, but sometimes you can make a charge in the late innings in a small park. All too often, two or three-run deficits have turned into blowouts. 

“Those guys have got to hold them there to give you a chance to come back, but they keep tacking on,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “That’s hard for everybody.”

It won’t get any easier. Bumgarner isn’t due back for another month or so. Cueto will be at least two to three weeks behind him, and that’s if neither suffers a setback. They’ll need to find a way to pitch through this, and it’ll have to start with Stratton. There aren’t other options, really. 

Stratton got off to a scorching start this season but has given up 14 earned runs in his past three starts and pitched just 12 innings. 

“Overall I didn’t do a good job of commanding the fastball today,” he said. “I’ve got to do a better job in the first inning. The last three starts I’ve given up some runs in the first. I don’t know if I have to change my routine or have a different mindset, but something has got to change in that first to set the tone for the rest of the night.”

The lineup could have set a different tone, but Brandon Belt and Evan Longoria struck out against Nick Pivetta with two on in the top of the first. It was all quiet from there. The Giants struck out 11 times. 

The Giants’ pitchers also struck out 11, but they walked seven, too. Six of the Phillies who walked came around to score. 

“The walks have killed us,” Bochy said. “You look at all these rallies, there’s a walk involved. We just don’t seem to get away with those walks, and that’s got to get better.”

Chase d'Pitcher? Watch the infielder take the mound for Giants in blowout loss

Chase d'Pitcher? Watch the infielder take the mound for Giants in blowout loss

On April 28, Pablo Sandoval took the mound in a Giants blowout and pitched a perfect inning against the Dodgers.

Nearly four months later, Chase d'Arnaud was called on to pitch in a lost-cause game and almost matched Sandoval.

With the Giants trailing 11-4 in Cincinnati on Sunday, Bruce Bochy had d'Arnaud pitch the bottom of the eighth inning.

The first batter d'Arnaud faced, All-Star third baseman Eugenio Suarez, flew out to right field. Reds right fielder Phillip Ervin ruined d'Arnaud's big for a perfect inning by singling to right. Pinch hitter Preston Tucker followed by flying out to center field. d'Arnaud retired the side by getting second baseman Dilson Herrera to fly out to right field.

Watch the highlights from d'Arnaud's inning of work above.

Giants swept by lowly Reds in Cincinnati, sink deeper into hole

Giants swept by lowly Reds in Cincinnati, sink deeper into hole


CINCINNATI -- Eugenio Suarez hit a two-run homer during Cincinnati's seven-run third inning, and the Reds swept the San Francisco Giants with an 11-4 win on Sunday.

Jose Peraza also hit a two-run homer for Cincinnati, which outscored San Francisco 18-5 in the last two games of the weekend set. Billy Hamilton tripled twice and drove in three runs.

The Reds also swept the Giants in Cincy last season. Nine different Reds scored at least one run, helping Cincinnati bounce back after it was swept by Cleveland.

San Francisco dropped its fourth consecutive game. Andrew Suarez (4-9) was tagged for seven runs, five earned, and seven hits in a season-low 2 2/3 innings.

Giants infielder Chase d'Arnaud worked a scoreless eighth in his first career pitching appearance.

Suarez's 27th homer made it 6-1 in the third. Scooter Gennett hit a two-run triple before Suarez's drive to center.

Curt Casali also had two hits and drove in two runs in Cincinnati's big inning.

Reds right-hander Luis Castillo (7-10) struck out nine in 6 2/3 innings. He was charged with three runs, one earned, and six hits.

Castillo retired 13 straight batters before Stephen Duggar's two-out single in the seventh.

Peraza finished with three hits as Cincinnati closed out a 5-4 homestand. Phillip Ervin had two hits and scored a run.

Reds: OF Scott Schebler (strained AC joint in his right shoulder) is set for a rehab assignment with Double-A Pensacola. The Reds hope he will be ready to join them in Chicago during their weekend series with the Cubs.

Giants: LHP Derek Holland (6-8) makes just his second career start against the Mets in Monday's series opener in New York.

Reds: Homer Bailey (1-10) is scheduled to start Monday in Milwaukee. The Reds are 1-15 in Bailey's starts this season.