How Giants Steven Duggar handles highs and lows of first full season


How Giants Steven Duggar handles highs and lows of first full season

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants have shuffled plenty of players in and out of the lineup this season, particularly in the outfield. But when it comes to their 25-year-old center fielder, they're willing to let Steven Duggar take his lumps. 

Duggar's defense is such a plus that he brings something to the table on a nightly basis even when he's slumping. And as the staff has watched him try and adjust to big league pitching, there hasn't been much concern about the mental side of the game. 

"The thing you love about him is how even-keel he is every single day," assistant hitting coach Rick Schu said. 

Duggar comes to make adjustments every day, and while his numbers are down from his rookie year, the Giants plan to keep running him out there -- he leads the team in at-bats -- and feels he has shown improvement over the last week after making swing changes. Duggar has worked to shorten up at the plate, and he had a nice two-game swing with the Padres, hitting a two-run shot on Tuesday and scoring twice Wednesday when his speed was on full display. 

In his second at-bat of that game, Duggar hit a slow roller up the middle and ended up on second when a ball was thrown away, scoring a few moments later on a single to left. In his third at-bat, he topped one 20 feet in front of the plate and again ended up on second when the ball was thrown away. 

The speed has at times helped a struggling lineup, but for the most part, Duggar has been disappointed by his first two months as a locked-in starter. His OPS is down 51 points, his strikeout rate remains near 30 percent, and he has just one stolen base. The adjustment to the big leagues is a tough one. 

"I was telling somebody the other day, you get one pitch an at-bat, maybe. If you miss that pitch, you've got to go into battle mode," Duggar said on this week's Giants Insider Podcast. "It's tough to hit when you're behind in the count, it's tough to hit when you start missing pitches you should be hitting. It's just trying to grow from that and try to get better every day. 

[RELATED: Duggar set lofty goal stealing 30 bases]

"We all run into slumps every now and then and you get in your own way sometimes, but at the end of the day, hard work and smart work gives you a better chance to succeed."

Duggar went in depth about the highs and lows of this first half, and what he is trying to enjoy about big league life. You can stream the podcast here or download it on iTunes here.

Watch Giants' Mike Yastrzemski receive standing ovation at Fenway Park

Watch Giants' Mike Yastrzemski receive standing ovation at Fenway Park

Mike Yastrzemski knew his return to Boston would be a big deal for his family, but he also knew how much it would mean to Red Sox fans who grew up cheering for his grandfather, Carl. Those fans showed their appreciation Tuesday when Yastrzemski stepped to the plate to lead off for the Giants. 

Yastrzemski got a nice ovation from the locals -- and a sizable Giants contingent -- before his first professional at-bat at Fenway Park. He grew up coming to games at the park and considered himself a diehard Red Sox fan. 

Yastrzemski said before the game that he planned to take the moment in. 

"It'll be cool. I don't get wrapped up in moments very easily," he said. "I've kind of trained my whole life to block out situations and crowd noises and stuff, but I think tonight I need to take a step back and get lost in one of the moments and appreciate that and experience it and then we can get back to playing baseball."

[RELATED: Yaz, family ready for emotional series at Fenway]

Yastrzemski went down swinging in his first at-bat, but it was still a successful inning for the Giants. As Yastrzemski was settling back into the dugout, Brandon Belt hit a solo shot over the Green Monster. 

Giants vs. Red Sox lineups: Mike Yastrzemski makes Fenway Park debut

Giants vs. Red Sox lineups: Mike Yastrzemski makes Fenway Park debut

Like grandfather, like grandson.

Mike Yastrzemski will play his first game in his grandpa Carl's old stomping grounds Tuesday when the Giants open up a three-game series against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Carl Yastrzemski compiled 452 home runs, 3,419 hits and 18 All-Star selections over a decorated 23-year career spent entirely with the Red Sox. Mike has hit .265 with 19 home runs and 51 RBI in 96 games with San Francisco, and he'll be leading off for the Giants in the series opener.

Logan Webb will get the start for San Francisco, as the rookie right-hander looks to get back on the winning track. Webb is coming off consecutive losses in which he's failed to reach the fifth inning each time.

Nathan Eovaldi will take the mound for Boston. The right-handed veteran recently returned to the starting rotation from the bullpen, and threw 93 pitches in his last outing. Eovaldi has struggled against the Giants in his career, having gone 2-4 with a 10.86 ERA over six meetings.

Stephen Vogt will get the start behind the plate and bat fourth for San Francisco, as Buster Posey is out with back tightness. Chris Shaw, a Massachusetts native, will be the Giants' designated hitter and bat seventh.

Coverage begins at 3:00 p.m. PT with Giants Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming live in the MyTeams app.

Here are the lineups for Giants-Red Sox: 

San Francisco Giants (72-78)
LF Mike Yastrzemski
1B Brandon Belt
3B Evan Longoria
C Stephen Vogt
CF Kevin Pillar
SS Brandon Crawford
DH Chris Shaw
RF Austin Slater
2B Mauricio Dubon 

[RELATED: Giants rookie Yaz's surge makes trip to Boston even better

Boston Red Sox (79-70)
LF Andrew Benintendi
SS Xander Bogaerts
3B Rafael Devers
DH J.D. Martinez
RF Brock Holt
1B Mitch Moreland
C Christian Vasquez
CF Jackie Bradley Jr.
2B Marco Hernandez