Strickland notched his second save with a scoreless 12th inning in Saturday's 2-1 victory over the Yankees. He also recorded a strikeout. The 27-year-old needed only 12 pitches to work through the 12th frame, recording his first save since June 8 against the Red Sox. Strickland has had an up-and-down July, but now has scoreless efforts in three of his last four trips to the mound. He's only two-for-five in save chances this season, but has three victories and 10 holds as well.
Strickland surrendered a three-run homer in the eighth inning of Saturday's loss to the Diamondbacks. Strickland was only charged with one run, but the homer blew the lead and eventually the game for the Giants. While this was an outing he would like to forget, he has done a respectable job as one of the Giants' late-inning relievers this season (3.00 ERA and 10 holds). The home run was just his second allowed on the season.
Strickland could see save opportunities this weekend with Santiago Casilla on paternity leave. Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News reported that manager Bruce Bochy would use matchups in the ninth inning while Casilla is away. Strickland is a likely candidate to see opportunities against righties after picking up his first save on June 8. The Rays have more righties than lefties in their lineup, making Strickland the favorite to see a save opportunity if one arises this weekend.
Strickland earned his first save of the season when in Wednesday's victory over the Red Sox, retiring the single batter he faced. Wednesday marked Strickland's 28 game of the season, yet he's pitched just 22.1 innings. Strickland's primary use remains pitching brief 0.1 inning stints, particularly against right-handed hitters, and his 26 percent strikeout rate is the third best among Giants' relievers.
Including Monday's clean outing against the Blue Jays, Strickland has tossed 5.2 consecutive scoreless innings over his last five appearances. Strickland had a rocky month of April with a few poor outings that saw his ERA inflate to 5.40. Since that time, he has lowered his ERA back down to 3.21 to go along with a 13:4 K:BB ratio. Santiago Casilla is in no danger of losing the closer's gig anytime soon, but if Strickland continues to pitch like he has over the past couple of weeks, then he will insert himself back into the conversation should Casilla ever falter.