Kelley L. Cox — USA TODAY Sports
Just when you thought it could not get worse, the Giants suffered another major blow when closer Hunter Strickland punched a door after blowing a save Monday night.
Strickland allowed three runs in the ninth inning against the visiting Miami Marlins, ultimately leading to a 5-4 loss. He fractured his pitching hand when he punched the door, Bruce Bochy told reporters before Tuesday’s game. The Giants manager estimates that Strickland will miss 6-8 weeks. Bochy compared the injury to Madison Bumgarner’s, who fractured his pinky in his final spring training start, sidelining him for about three months.
Bochy said he did not know about the injury until he got home. He believes Strickland punched the door soon after he exited the game. Strickland spoke with reporters after the loss, did not appear to be in pain, and took full blame for the loss. He lamented that his performance was “unacceptable.”
Hunter Strickland says loss was unacceptable, “I didn’t do my job.” pic.twitter.com/Os0HKHinDx
— KNBR (@KNBR) June 19, 2018
“I am sure he felt full responsibility for it, and he didn’t think before he acted because the frustration was built up,” Bochy said Monday. “I am thoroughly disappointed. I am crushed. He has grown as pitcher, player, and a person. But I know Hunter— he cares deeply, and let his emotions get away from him after the game.”
Bochy said the replacement closer will either be Tony Watson or Sam Dyson. Pierce Johnson is expected to be recalled to fill Strickland’s void.
Strickland had put together a solid season in his first full season as San Francisco’s full-time closer, producing a 2.01 ERA before he allowed those three runs in Monday’s loss. The news of his fractured hand compounds a brutal injury bug that has swept the Giants roster this season.
“He really grew as a pitcher, handling his emotions well, tight situations, which you have to,” Bochy said. “You have to be able to control your emotions. (We) talk about this so much, how important it is for players, but particularly the closers. You have to have emotional control.”