Giants

Cain and the Giants - win win

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Cain and the Giants - win win

Matt Cain signed a new deal worth 112.5 million over five years, which means one thing.That ruins the drama of the rest of the exhibition schedule.Cains new deal will average 22.5M per year, well within the parameters of every logical guess on how this would end. Cain knew his value, the Giants knew his value, the agents and the players union knew his value thus obviating the need for all the panic and freakery going on about the deal.There was no hometown discount, which we knew. There was no gouging, which he could have done by coming in at Cliff Lee money. There was very little posturing, in fact. In all ways, this was a lousy contract negotiation for our purposes. Gentlemen and gentlewomen met, they argued a bit, and then they hit the number that was supposed to be hit, given all the numbers that have been hit around them.Now all he has to do is not lose 15 mph on his fastball, or tinker with his delivery every off-season, or be asked to be (the new hellish buzzphrase) the face of the franchise.All Cain has to do is pitch as he has be in the top 10 in innings pitches, pitches thrown, and all the other metrics that show workload and effectiveness.In other words, all he has to do is be him. Thats not as easy as it seems, to be sure, given the bar he has already set, but because baseball contracts have long been about non-baseball things like projecting the future, preventing competitors for bidding, etc., he got what he deserved considering the conditions that prevail.And the Giants got what they needed as well. Without Cain, their entire roster-building strategy would have been shot. Theyd have been a team built on pitching without enough pitching, and a team trying to fake it with their hitting not even managing that.In other words, theyd be the Pittsburgh Pirates a bad team in a good yard. And there are always great seats available in Pittsburgh.So it goes. Wed all congratulate all involved, but since none of the rest of us are getting a taste, we really dont care all that much. But a brief tip othe top to them for reaching the only logical conclusion where nobody looks greedy or stupid or shortsighted a rarity in this day and age.Now lets get down to the business we all know best, and let me be the first -- to wit:When is Cain going to earn his money and win the Lady Byng Trophy? Why cant he lead the NBA in scoring? And why can he not get over the top at the Country Music Awards? God in heaven, when does his contract expire? Hes killing the franchise!Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com

After Stratton leads way in Giants' shutout, what does his future hold?

After Stratton leads way in Giants' shutout, what does his future hold?

SAN FRANCISCO — After the final out Monday night, a round table was carried into the corner of the home clubhouse at AT&T Park and surrounded by chairs. Eleven players were sitting, eating, drinking and laughing as Chris Stratton prepared to address the media. 

It was a rare sight for the Giants these days, a very rare sight. But then, so was Monday’s result. Stratton led the way in a 2-0 win over the Brewers that was the first home shutout of the season and motivated the joyous post-game scene. 

The shutout was just the second of the season for the staff. Ty Blach went the distance in the other one and Stratton, a fellow rookie, did the heavy lifting Monday, throwing six strong innings before giving way to the bullpen. Matt Cain pitched the seventh, Mark Melancon pitched the eighth while going back-to-back for the first time in three months, and Sam Dyson closed it out quickly. 

There’s a chance that Stratton joins that group in a few days. Johnny Cueto is scheduled to make a rehab start on Tuesday night in Sacramento and that could put him on track to return to the rotation a turn later. That would line up with Stratton’s next start, but Bruce Bochy wasn’t ready to kick the young righty out of the rotation, not after back-to-back scoreless starts against two of the better lineups in the league. A few days after striking out 10 Washington Nationals, Stratton cut through the Brewers. He has 12 2/3 scoreless innings over his past two appearances. 

“For how we’re using him, he’s really handled it well,” Bochy said. “We skipped him, moved him back three or four days, but he doesn’t let it faze him. This is an important time for these young players coming up, whether it’s (Ryder) Jones or (Jarrett) Parker or Stratton. They’re trying to show they belong in the Major Leagues.

“You’re hoping these guys show they’re ready to play here and we don’t have to do something else because we can do it internally.”

Bochy said he could use a six-man rotation when Cueto returns, or a starter could be skipped. That will all sort itself, but the manager made one thing clear. 

“We’d like to pitch him as much as we can,” Bochy said of Stratton.

That’s the same thing Bochy used to say of another right-hander, one he compared Stratton to before Monday’s game. Bochy was asked about Yusmeiro Petit, and he smiled and fondly stated, “He was so good. So good.” The Giants see some Petit in Stratton. He is unaffected by long layoffs and he’s capable of starting, relieving, or even pumping his fastball up a couple ticks for short outings. 

Petit was a mainstay in San Francisco for years, a key cog in a championship team. Bochy has been looking for that piece since Petit departed in free agency, and Stratton seems like he might be suited for the role. He will want more, of course, because all pitchers do. The Giants will give him five more weeks here to try and earn that. 

For the moment, Stratton’s focus is elsewhere. He turns 27 on Monday and the celebration started early. As Stratton answered questions, veterans at the table heckled him about striking out just one Brewer. 

“I left all the strikeouts in Washington, I guess,” Stratton said. 

Nick Hundley walked up with a TV remote and held it up between the cameras. 

“What was your thought on the punchout?” he asked. 

“I’m glad he swung,” Stratton said, smiling. “It was a ball.”

“Did you think about getting any more?” Hundley asked. 

With that, he smiled and ducked back behind the cameras to return to the celebration in the corner. A few minutes later, Stratton joined him.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' first home shutout of 2017

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' first home shutout of 2017

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — Ty Blach has been a bright spot in this losing season, giving the Giants a young, cost-controlled lefty who can potentially fill a huge role next season. Chris Stratton is trying to do the same thing from the right side. 

The 26-year-old continued his August surge, throwing six dominant innings against the Brewers in a 2-0 win that was the staff's first shutout at AT&T Park this season. 

It was the kind of night that's been so familiar over the years. The Giants had six home shutouts last season. Here are five things to know from this year's first ... 

—- The Brewers are first in the league in homers and the Nationals are third, so Stratton had his work cut out for him the last two times out. His results: 12 2/3 innings, 9 hits, 0 runs, 3 walks, 11 strikeouts. That’s quite the statement. Stratton’s scoreless streak is the longest by a Giants rookie starter since Chris Heston threw 16 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings in July of 2015. 

—- Matt Cain was used as a short reliever to protect a two-run lead in the seventh. He had a 1-2-3 inning that ended with a strikeout. 

—- Mark Melancon pitched back-to-back games for the first time since May 19-20. He struck out Neil Walker and Ryan Braun in a perfect inning. 

—- Jarrett Parker reached base his first three times up. He’s hitting .385 at home this season but he’s just 4-for-35 (.114) on the road. Weird splits for a Giant slugger. 

—- Brandon Crawford is finally finding some traction. His double in the fourth was the big hit in a two-run frame that gave Stratton a lead to work with. Crawford is 7-for-17 on the home stand with three extra-base hits and four RBI.