Giants still waiting for hot streaks from lineup mainstays to come


Giants still waiting for hot streaks from lineup mainstays to come

SAN FRANCISCO -- When the Giants win a game with their bats -- it is rare, sure, but it happens -- Bruce Bochy often mentions that they strung good at-bats together and kept the line moving. 

That's a good way to put up runs, but it's difficult for even a good team to have most the lineup stay in sync for too long. For the Giants, it has been impossible. 

There's another way to production, though. Sometimes one player can get so hot that the rest of the lineup is pulled along. Think of Brandon Crawford hitting .412 last May, or Brandon Belt's occasional stretch of four homers in six games, or if you want to go way back, Buster Posey's scorching second half in 2012. 

One player can make a difference, which leads to another problem for the 2019 Giants. They haven't had anyone really get hot. You probably know this already, because the team entered play Saturday ranked 29th in the Majors with a .223 batting average and .656 OPS. 

But even bad teams can have one hitter absolutely take off for a month. The Giants really haven't had it happen, and for most of their regulars, any good vibes were limited to a week or so. 

Steven Duggar started the year as the leadoff hitter. His best stretch came in early May, when he hit .400 from May 1 to May 11, but he had just one extra-base hit. Evan Longoria's best stretch is an eight-game period in early June when he had a .971 OPS with one homer. Crawford has been unable to keep any momentum going. Tyler Austin had a homer in three straight games in late May but had just three hits in his next 26 at-bats. 

Kevin Pillar looked like a blockbuster acquisition when he walked into Oracle Park, hitting four homers and driving in 12 runs in six games. But he had just six total hits during the stretch and posted a .689 OPS the rest of the month. 

It has been a down season for Buster Posey, although for 17 games from April 19 to May 18, he hit .322 with 13 RBI and a .892 OPS. Joe Panik hit .333 with a .437 on-base percentage over a 19-game stretch. Brandon Belt had a .474 OBP over 18 games recently, with 13 runs and 10 RBI. 

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Those are hot streaks, to be sure, but not the kind that carries the rest of the lineup. There has been just one of those this season, and it illustrates in a way how deep the issues have been for the starting lineup. 

From May 6 to May 19, Pablo Sandoval hit .407, slugged 1.037 and mashed five homers and two doubles in 30 plate appearances. That's good for an OPS of 1.504, and Sandoval added seven runs and 10 RBI. But ... he started only six of those 11 games, doing much of his damage off the bench. 

Part of the beauty of baseball is the ability for a player -- just about any player -- to get absurdly hot for three or four weeks. For the 2019 Giants, it really hasn't happened yet. 

Watch Giants' Brandon Crawford, Mike Yastrzemski hit back-to-back homers

Watch Giants' Brandon Crawford, Mike Yastrzemski hit back-to-back homers

Clear your October plans, Giants fans. 

The Giants somehow are the hottest team in baseball, winning eight of their last 10 games. And they couldn't have started off their doubleheader against the Rockies at Coors Field any better Monday morning. 

Brandon Belt and Buster Posey each singled to start the top of the first inning before Pablo Sandoval surprisingly squared for a sacrifice bunt. The Alex Dickerson train continued with the left fielder scoring Belt on a line drive to right field. But that was just the beginning for the red-hot Giants. 

Brandon Crawford and Mike Yastrzemski hit back-to-back jacks to give the Giants a 5-0 lead in the first inning over the Rockies. Crawford went opposite field for a 366-foot three-run homer, his seventh dinger of the year. Yaz followed him with a 433-foot shot to right-center field for a solo shot, his sixth homer this season. 

The Giants entered Monday only 4.5 games back of the second spot in the NL Wild Card standings. While they still appear to be in sell mode before the July 31 trade deadline, anything could happen once a team catches fire.

Giants place Evan Longoria on 10-day injured list with plantar fasciitis

Giants place Evan Longoria on 10-day injured list with plantar fasciitis

DENVER -- Before playing four games at Coors Field, the Giants were forced to make a move with one of their hottest bats. 

Third baseman Evan Longoria was placed on the 10-day injured list with plantar fasciitis and right-hander Ray Black returned to the active roster to provide some pitching depth for a doubleheader. Longoria came out of Sunday's game with left foot pain, something he said has bothered him off and on throughout his career.

Longoria was scheduled to get an MRI on Monday. 

With six homers in his last nine games, Longoria has been a key part of the July surge. He leads the team with 13 homers, and the injury leaves the Giants with a right-handed hole in their lineup.

Pablo Sandoval will start at third base for the first game of Monday's doubleheader and the Giants do have some depth on their roster. Donovan Solano and Austin Slater both can play third base if needed, although Slater would be miscast as a starter.

At the Triple-A level, Zach Green is an obvious choice. The 25-year-old has 22 homers but has been blocked from a promotion because Longoria and Sandoval are at third and Brandon Belt is at first, Green's other position. Green is not on the 40-man roster, so the Giants would have to make additional moves if they were to take a look at a player they added in the offseason. 

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In a separate move, right-hander Sam Coonrod was added as the 26th man for the doubleheader. The Giants will need to make another move Monday afternoon when they activate Dereck Rodriguez to start the second game. 

It's been a busy stretch for the front office. Black was optioned on Sunday to clear room for starter Tyler Beede, but he stayed with the team and flew to Denver on Sunday night.