The SF Giants split the two-game series against the Oakland A's. The 1-0 loss to the A's on Wednesday night snapped a five-game winning streak. Nevertheless, the Giants are off to a strong start with plenty of encouraging trends.
3 takeaways from the SF Giants series against the A's
San Francisco has been bitten by the injury bug to start the season, but they built up enough depth to withstand some injuries. LaMonte Wade Jr. (knee inflammation) and Tommy La Stella (Achilles) are poised to return soon with Evan Longoria (finger) not far behind.
None of the three have played an inning in 2022. They will all be welcomed additions as each one is expected to play an important role on this year's roster. However, Alex Cobb (abductor strain) and Anthony Desclafani (ankle inflammation) have hit the injured list whereas Zack Littell and Mike Yastrzemski have been placed on the COVID injured list.
Despite all of these injuries, the Giants have been able to stay strong while creating opportunities for new players. On the year, they have a 13-6 record with a +44 run differential.
1. Jakob Junis is off to a strong start
The injuries to the pitching staff have created opportunities for some new faces including Jakob Junis. The right-handed hurler spent the first five seasons of his career with the Kansas City Royals before signing with the Giants for a one-year, $1.75 million pact.
Junis has extensive experience, making 89 appearances during his stint with the Royals. Plus, he attacks the strike zone and has a minor league option remaining. That last detail certainly played a role in why the Giants signed him.
Nevertheless, it is a good thing that they did because Junis has made two long appearances with the Giants. Sam Long started the game on Wednesday night, allowing one earned run in one inning of work followed by five scoreless frames from Junis.
The 29-year-old pitcher allowed just four hits and one walk against six strikeouts against the A's. On the year, he has completed 10 scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts against one walk.
The righty is an extreme strike-thrower and that had, at times, gotten him into trouble with the Royals as he allowed the long ball at too high of a frequency. Nevertheless, Junis has always flashed a quality slider and it looks like the Giants are trying to simplify his pitch mix by increasing the usage of that pitch.
So far, the returns have been promising. Alex Cobb and Anthony DeScafani are due back soon, but Junis should continue to see leverage innings before they do return.