Giants

Giants flame out again, but don't expect lineup changes yet

Giants flame out again, but don't expect lineup changes yet

SAN DIEGO — It is common, when a team is going through a stretch like this, for the manager to be asked about shuffling the lineup. Perhaps a struggling star needs to be moved down in the lineup, and after Friday’s 5-1 loss to the Padres, Bruce Bochy was asked if he thinks Evan Longoria needs a break from the No. 5 spot. 

“I don’t know… do you think?” he said, his eyes wide. “Obviously these are things we’re talking about, what is the best way to go, but it’s not one guy. We’ve got three or four guys who are still trying to find it here in the early go.”

You could argue it’s even more than that, and Bochy later had a more telling comment. 

“When someone gets really hot, you move them, but that’s not the case right now,” he said. 

The staff can meet for hours a day, but there’s not much that can be changed when most of a lineup is slumping or inconsistent. Joe Panik got off to a hot start and has remained on track, and he looks poised to hit first or second all year. Buster Posey saw his hitting streak snapped Friday, but he’s still batting .341. 

Other than that … 

  • Andrew McCutchen has two walk-offs but he’s also batting just .204. He came up in a big spot in the seventh and bounced into a double play, dropping to 3-for-21 with runners in scoring position. 
  • Brandon Crawford had three singles on Friday but he entered the day batting .225. 
  • Brandon Belt had two singles, but he continues to strike out in big spots. 
  • On his birthday, Hunter Pence went hitless in four at-bats, dropping his average to .200. 
  • Longoria struck out three times, dropping to .149. 
     

“We’re still having a tough time getting that big hit,” Bochy said. “That’s got to pick up here. We’ve got to find a way to get these runners in.”

The game was the 13th of the season and the Giants have been held to zero or one run in seven of them. But they also scored 10 runs against Felix Hernandez, seven in a thrilling win over the Dodgers on Saturday, and seven here on Thursday. That kind of inconsistency has managed to keep them around .500. It has also made it difficult to truly make lineup changes. 

Bochy said the staff will continue to talk, but don’t expect anything drastic on Saturday. The Giants are facing a left-handed starter, so it’s not an ideal time to give too many of the regulars a breather. The heart of the lineup is right-handed. 

The frustration is building, but Bochy remains hopeful this group will come out of the funk. He’s hoping the inconsistency ends soon.

“You look at how the season has gone and we’ve been pretty good or it’s been a rough go,” he said. “Seven games, one run or less, that’s not going to work.”

Brian Sabean not sure why 'star in the making' Brandon Belt is so polarizing

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Brian Sabean not sure why 'star in the making' Brandon Belt is so polarizing

So far this season, Brandon Belt is hitting .304 with six home runs and 12 RBI.

He boasts a .402 on-base percentage.

"We need him. The guy is a star player in the making," Giants executive VP of baseball operations Brian Sabean said on KNBR 680 on Wednesday. "We hope with the strength of a deeper lineup -- which I think in time will prove to be true -- that he's got a lot that can really help this ball club and contribute in a big way."

So why then is Belt so polarizing?

"I'm not sure," Sabean answered. "There are folks that do swing and miss (Belt has struck out 22 times in 20 games). He's kind of a study in contrast. And while I say that, he's probably got one of the best eyes in the big leagues and can work a count, work an at-bat and take a walk with anybody.

"But what I'm seeing this year is that he's getting to more pitches, where in the past he would not put it in play. He's doing that in a big way. There are just some guys for whatever reason don't square up as many balls as you think they would be capable of.

"He's been a work in progress. He's still a young guy and I think that once he finds his power, he'll be a guy that will be very dangerous in anybody's lineup."

Belt was an All-Star in 2016.

The 30-year old is making $16 million this season, and will earn $16 million each year through 2021.

Samardzija, other Giants pitchers need to move on quickly from 15-2 loss

Samardzija, other Giants pitchers need to move on quickly from 15-2 loss

SAN FRANCISCO -- Ten minutes into his start Wednesday, Jeff Samardzija got a mound visit from manager Bruce Bochy and a member of the training staff. 

His fastball was sitting 89-91 at the time, and given that Samardzija is just two starts removed from a DL stint for a strained pectoral, the concern was understandable. 

"He's fine. We just wanted to check on him at that point," Bochy said. "He said he was fine and as you saw his stuff picked up, which you see sometimes from starting pitchers."

Samardzija did get back to the 93-94 range by the third, which is still a couple ticks from normal for him, but at least isn't concerning. He didn't make it to the fourth, though. A Matt Adams homer put the last three of six runs on his line.

"Just one of those days," Samardzija said. "I've been feeling really good. It just took a little longer today (to get loose). There's really no explanation for it sometimes.

"Obviously it's a little bit of a different script for me right now (coming off the injury). We're going to learn from it and keep getting better and get on to the next one." 

A few Giants need to move on quickly after this one. Josh Osich, coming off a sparkling spring, continued to backslide at the worst possible time. The Giants will need to clear a roster spot for Will Smith next week. Osich was charged with four earned runs. Cory Gearrin walked two of three he faced and cashed in two of Osich's runners. He, too, has fallen down the depth chart a bit.

"They're not on track. O really had some good moments today, lots of swings and misses, but also had trouble getting the ball where he wanted at times," Bochy said. "Cory is battling too much right now instead of going out there and attacking the strike zone. This game is all about confidence and if they get shaken a bit they don't throw the ball with as much conviction."