Joey Bart is out of the Giants' starting lineup Sunday against the A's, and the rookie catcher probably could use a day off for many reasons.
After going 0-for-3 with two more strikeouts in the Giants' 6-0 loss to the A's on Saturday, Bart now is batting .241 with a lowly .606 OPS. Known for his power, Bart has yet to homer, and his slugging percentage is just .304.
The Giants took their time with Bart for a reason. They cautioned fans that he shouldn't be asked to be the offensive savior in San Francisco. And right now, he certainly isn't.
“There’s a tremendous amount of belief in Joey long term," Giants manager Gabe Kapler told reporters after the loss, via The Athletic's Andrew Baggarly. "All of the talent is there. And right now he’s getting it handed to him.
"He knows that. It’s time for him to adjust, and he’s ready to do so.”
Bart's power will come. The Giants know that. He hit 16 homers in the minor leagues last season, and has made Oracle Park look like a Little League field in batting practice.
What has to be more concerning is Bart's .302 on-base percentage, and the fact he has struck out 30 times while walking just twice.
“We’re seeing a hitter experiencing something he hasn’t gone through at the minor-league level and that he hasn’t gone through as a college player,” Kapler said. “He’s being pitched to with a very well-thought-out plan.
"There are some areas of his game right now that are getting exploited."
Pitchers are pounding Bart inside with fastballs and making him chase breaking balls off the plate and in the dirt. That always has been a weakness in his game. But it's a lot easier to make adjustments in San Jose than in San Francisco.
Since going 2-for-4 in a 10-1 win over the Seattle Mariners on Sept. 9, Bart has gone just 2-for-19 with nine strikeouts in seven games. His batting average dropped 42 points, from .283 to .241. The Giants went 2-5 over that stretch.
Rookie slumps are expected. Bart has to adjust quickly, though. The Giants don't have much time, as they enter Sunday 25-26 and out of the NL playoff picture.
With just nine games to go, Bart needs to get back on track and the Giants must return to the win column.