Giants' three home runs in win over Washington pleases Bruce Bochy

Giants' three home runs in win over Washington pleases Bruce Bochy

WASHINGTON D.C. -- There will be a fair amount of talk over the coming months about the possibility of fences moving in at Oracle Park, but simply sticking a couple of bullpens in Triples Alley won't solve the lineup's biggest problem. 

The power drain has traveled in recent seasons. 

The Giants finished 13th in the National League with 80 road homers in 2017 and dead last in 2018 with just 73. Players will tell you this is in part because their swings get tailored to Oracle Park, where anything that gets up too high in the air in right field will get knocked down. 

"You can't change your swing back and forth," Brandon Belt said Tuesday afternoon.

No, but you certainly can take advantage of the nights away from Third and King, and the Giants did that Tuesday while kicking off their first road trip outside the division. Belt, Evan Longoria and Steven Duggar all homered off Stephen Strasburg in the fifth and sixth, sparking a 7-3 win over the Nats

“Last year, we couldn’t figure it out on the road in some hitters’ parks,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “This one is somewhat fair but it’s good to see us hit the long ball on the road. That’s going to be big for us.”

With three homers already, the Giants are close to matching their five on the season-opening seven-game trip. They had just four three-homer games on the road last year and two game at Coors Field and one at Chase Field. Nationals Park is considered to be one of the more fair ballparks in the National League, but the Giants made it look small for a few minutes. 

Longoria kicked it off with a game-tying oppo shot in the fifth. Like Longoria, Duggar jumped on a fastball and went the opposite way to make it a three-run inning. It was the second of the year for the leadoff hitter, who has gotten off to a slow start. 

“I know I’m at my best when I’m driving the ball to the opposite field,” Duggar said. “You make a couple adjustments a couple days ago, stay with it, stick with it, and eventually something good happens. That was just the thought process and you let it ride.”

[RELATED: Watch pitch that broke Bart's hand]

An inning later, Belt padded the lead by yanking a low screamer into the home bullpen. 

Duggar's might have been the only one to sneak out at Oracle Park, but the Giants won't worry about that. They have eight games on this important trip, and they'll need all the power they can get to support what has thus far been a very good pitching staff.

Giants trade struggling catcher Erik Kratz to Rays days after DFA


Giants trade struggling catcher Erik Kratz to Rays days after DFA

Erik Kratz is no longer in the Giants organization. 

Three days after San Francisco designated the veteran catcher for assignment, the Giants traded the 38-year-old to the Tampa Bay Rays. The Tampa Bay Times' Marc Topkin first reported the news Thursday, and the Giants announced the news shortly thereafter. 

On Monday morning, the player to be named was announced as minor league pitcher Matt Seelinger. He'll report to Class A Augusta.

The Giants traded for Kratz in late March, wanting a veteran backup for Buster Posey while Stephen Vogt recovered from shoulder surgery. 26-year-old catcher Aramis Garcia still had minor-league options, so the front office looked for a more-polished stopgap.

But Kratz struggled in his short time wearing orange and black, slashing .125/.222/.281 in 36 plate appearances. He also made more errors (four) in 11 games behind the dish than he did in 61 with the Brewers (three) in 2018, and caught two out of nine runners stealing. 

[RELATED: Where Giants stand on competing, rebuilding after quarter of 2019 season]

The Kratz trade was not the only move the Giants made at the position Thursday. They also optioned Garcia to Triple-A Sacramento in anticipation that Posey will return to the lineup Friday after a stint on the seven-day concussion list. 

MLB power rankings 2019: Where every team stands after eight weeks


MLB power rankings 2019: Where every team stands after eight weeks

As the MLB season approaches the 50-game mark, it looks like we could be headed for a repeat of the 2017 World Series.

The Astros and Dodgers seem head and shoulders above the pack, but there’s plenty of intrigue right behind them. The Twins are done rebuilding and ready to compete, and they were the third team to 30 wins. The Yankees weathered their injuries and could be frightening over the summer. 

In the NL, the Cubs are inching towards the top. Ditto with the Red Sox in the AL. As division races really start to heat up, it’s time for our bi-weekly look around the Majors. As always, there’s an emphasis on former Giants.