SAN DIEGO -- Chris Stratton's performances tend to range toward wild extremes, which is a tendency that the Giants might want to address before the 2019 season begins.Stratton (10-10), the Giants' leading winner, almost surely will enter next year as a favorite to claim a spot in the season-opening starting
SAN DIEGO -- Chris Stratton's performances tend to range toward wild extremes, which is a tendency that the Giants might want to address before the 2019 season begins.
Stratton (10-10), the Giants' leading winner, almost surely will enter next year as a favorite to claim a spot in the season-opening starting rotation. That's the type of role that begs for consistency. This characteristic has eluded Stratton, as indicated by his performance in the Giants' 8-4 loss Wednesday night to the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.
Stratton lasted three innings and allowed five runs -- all in the second inning -- while yielding six hits. His outing bore no resemblance to his previous start on Friday, when he humbled powerful Colorado by throwing a two-hit shutout.
"I just think that today was a little out of whack for me altogether," Stratton said. "I know I had a 1-2-3 first inning, but I still didn't feel like I was 'on' like I was the previous game. That's baseball. You have to battle with what you have that day."
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William Myers' two-run homer capped the Padres' second-inning outburst, which developed after Stratton victimized Padres starter Robbie Erlin with a bases-loaded double. While Stratton had every reason to be proud of his three-run drive, he knew that his primary task involved stopping the Padres, not trying to match them hit for hit.
"I don't know if running the bases threw him out of sync, but he just couldn't hit his spots," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
A glance at several of Stratton's 2018 pitching lines reflected the manic swings in his results. Six times, he has yielded one or zero runs while pitching at least six innings. Contrasting that tidy collection was a quartet of messy starts from June 28 to Aug.3 in which Stratton posted a 14.14 ERA and yielded 32 hits and 22 runs in 14 innings.
Bochy defended Stratton when the right-hander's erratic tendencies were mentioned. "He's really gotten away from that," Bochy said.
If Bochy's right, Wednesday was nevertheless an exception.
"Sometimes it's going to be there," Stratton said. "Sometimes it's not."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Aramis Garcia's eighth-inning, opposite-field homer for the Giants gave him a hit in each game of the series. He went 3-for-11. This complemented the rookie catcher's defense in his three-game stint at first base.
"He looks comfortable there," said Bochy, praising Garcia's defensive proficiency at a mostly unfamiliar position.
The Giants have been successful in 27 of their last 28 stolen-base attempts.
Following Thursday's off-day, Madison Bumgarner (6-6) will make what could be his final start of the season when the Giants open a three-game series at St. Louis on Friday. The Giants could tweak their starting rotation to allow Bumgarner to face the Dodgers at home on Sept. 28 -- but only if the game has postseason implications for Los Angeles. Otherwise, Bumgarner will begin resting for 2019. St. Louis will counter with right-hander John Gant (7-6).
Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.