Giants closer Hunter Strickland is headed to the disabled list after punching a door and fracturing his pitching hand following Monday night’s loss to the Marlins, as the club told reporters, including NBC Sports Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic, on Tuesday evening:
Hunter Strickland punched a door after coming out of game last night. He fractured his pitching hand and is having surgery. Out at least six to eight weeks.— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) June 19, 2018
Strickland blew his fourth save of the season in Monday’s game, allowing three earned runs on three hits and two walks over 0.1 innings. After being removed from the game, Strickland attempted to confront Marlins center fielder Lewis Brinson, who had the game-tying single against him earlier in the inning and had advanced to third base.
It’s obviously a frustrating loss for the Giants, as Strickland — a first-year closer — had posted an impressive 2.84 ERA and 1.23 WHIP with 13 saves over 34 appearances.
Strickland has actually been quite inconsistent, historically, in save situations — he has a 4.24 ERA and 1.27 WHIP for his career over 94 games and 317 plate appearances in those spots — but overall, his career numbers are very good. In 238 games (212.1 innings), he has a 2.67 ERA and 1.15 WHIP with 203 strikeouts and just 71 walks. With that said, it’s worth wondering whether the frequent drama is worth the effort for the Giants at this point. If the front office has a “three strikes” policy, one could argue that Strickland has now struck out after getting into a shouting match with Salvador Perez during the 2014 World Series, going rogue and throwing at Bryce Harper last summer to get revenge for Harper homering against him three years prior, and now this incident.
Strickland will be replaced on the Giants’ 25-man roster by right-hander Pierce Johnson, and manager Bruce Bochy said either Sam Dyson or Tony Watson will take over the closer’s role, per Pavlovic. The Giants have former All-Star closer Mark Melancon in their bullpen, but they obviously feel uncomfortable tasking him with pitching back-to-back days at this point, as he hasn’t pitched in consecutive games since returning on June 1.