Giants closer Hunter Strickland broke his pitching hand punching a door in frustration after blowing the save and taking the loss in a 5-4 defeat to the Miami Marlins on Monday night.
The right-hander had surgery Tuesday and expected to be out six to eight weeks [url=http://www.titanscheapstore.com/customized-cheap]Cheap Customized Tennessee Titans Jerseys[/url] , manager Bruce Bochy said. An X-ray after the game revealed the break of Strickland’s pinkie, similar to what sidelined lefty ace Madison Bumgarner to begin the season after he was hurt in his final spring training start.
”I’m thoroughly disappointed, trust me. I’m crushed because this guy had just grown as a pitcher and a player and a person,” Bochy said. ”But I know Hunter, he cares. He cares deeply. He let his emotions get away … he had a temporary snap.”
Strickland blew his fourth save in 17 chances and second straight, allowing more than two runs for only the fourth time in his career.
He posted an apology on Instagram and Twitter.
”Life has an interesting and sometimes disappointing way of opening up our eyes,” Strickland wrote. ”Words cannot describe the amount of regret and sorrow I have for my actions. I have let down the ones that care and mean the most, as well as the ones that count on me day in and day out. To my family, my teammates, my coaches, this organization, and our fan base, I am truly sorry that one split second, stupid decision has caused so much harm and now set me back from being out there with my team to pursue our goal.”
Bochy said Strickland had shown maturity and made progress keeping his emotions in check since last year’s fight with Nationals star Bryce Harper.
”I think he did it when he came out of the game but we didn’t know about it,” Bochy said. ”I didn’t know about it until I got home.”
In late May last year [url=http://www.redskinscheapstore.com/customized-cheap]Cheap Customized Washington Redskins Jerseys[/url] , Strickland ignited an all-out brawl when he beaned Harper with a 98 mph fastball on his first pitch in the eighth inning with two outs, none on and Washington ahead 2-0. Harper charged the mound and both men threw punches as benches and bullpens emptied.
”As he became our closer he really grew as a pitcher handling his emotions well in tight situations, which you have to. You have to be able to control your emotions,” Bochy said. ”I’ve talked about this so much, how important it is for players but particularly the closer’s got to have emotional control. We all get frustrated and that was a tough loss, a gut-wrenching loss which I’m sure he felt full responsibility for it and he just didn’t think before he acted.”
Sam Dyson and Tony Watson will be called upon for closing duties, with one getting most of the opportunities though Bochy didn’t reveal which one that would be. The manager doesn’t consider Mark Melancon – signed to a $62 million, four-year deal before last season to work the ninth – ready for the role after a series of injuries.
”Your closer is somebody who has to be resilient and I’m not sure that Mark’s at that stage right now,” Bochy said.
Right-hander Pierce Johnson was on his way from Triple-A Sacramento to take Strickland’s roster spot.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The New York Yankees have the best record in baseball at 50-22, and they’ve rarely been better than against the Tampa Bay Rays this season.
The Yankees won their first five meetings with the Rays this season by a combined margin of 31-10 before losing Sunday, and they’re back again for a weekend series at Tropicana Field, having won seven of eight overall after a sweep of the Mariners.
New York has been dominant for many reasons, but a strong bullpen is certainly one of them, with a collective ERA of 2.86 [url=http://www.arizonacardinalsteamonline.com]Cardinals Authentic Jerseys[/url] , second only to Houston among American League teams. Part of that has been solid starting pitching requiring less use of relievers. The Yankees’ relievers have thrown close to 70 innings fewer than the Rays have in grinding out a 3.73 ERA in a league-high workload.
“They’ve been terrific,” manager Aaron Boone said of New York’s relievers. “They protect each other, because many guys have stepped up. … It’s a big reason. We’re built in a lot of ways around that great bullpen. They continue to deliver.”
The Rays (34-40) have lost five of seven and have sorely missed that continuity in their starting rotation, continuing to rely on relievers working as “openers” on patchwork bullpen days. Such will be the case in Friday’s opener, with right-hander Ryne Stanek (1-1, 2.21 ERA) getting the ball first, but expected to go little more than the first inning.
Stanek has pitched exceptionally well in that role, however. In eight June appearances, he has an 0.00 ERA in 10 2/3 innings, having allowed only three hits with 12 strikeouts against three walks. Until their recent skid, the Rays had continued to hover around .500 baseball despite trading away major parts of last year’s team in exchange for prospects.
Stanek started last Saturday’s game against the Yankees, and allowed one hit and no runs in 1 1/3 innings in a game New York won 4-1. He has faced the Yankees five times in his career, inclding that one start, and is 0-0 with a 2.08 ERA over 4 1/3 innings.
The Rays got one key player back after missing two months with injury in center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, whose defense is among the league’s best. His bat has yet to come around this season [url=http://www.atlantafalconsteamonline.com]Falcons Authentic Jerseys[/url] , though. He is 0-for-9 in two games since returning from the disabled list, lowering his season average to .135.
“He’s fine. He’ll get going,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Unfortunately, KK got off to a rough start. Those numbers are going to be ugly for a little while, but I’m confident he’ll get going … I’m very confident.”
The Rays will face a familiar face Friday in Yankees starter C.C. Sabathia, who is 4-2 this season with a 3.30 ERA, with one of those two losses coming Sunday against the Rays in New York. Sabathia pitched into the eighth but gave up a season-high 10 hits, allowing three runs in a 3-1 loss while striking out a season-high 10 batters and walking only one.
Sabathia has faced the Rays 46 times in his career, and no opponent has more wins against him than the Rays — he’s 16-15 all-time, with a 3.76 ERA.
New York goes into the series with a considerable head of steam. They’re 17-4 in their last 21 games, putting them on pace to challenge the best starts by any team at this stage in the season.