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Friday, June 19, 2015

Time to shake up lineup?

Prior to Thursday night's nice little offensive output of 7 runs in Seattle, clutch hits and runs were about as tough to come by as they've been at any point this season. My suggestion, and frankly something I'm surprised Bochy hasn't tried to do more of is mix up the lineup a bit.

One of the big moves I have been pondering over in my mind is possibly swapping Matt Duffy and Angel Pagan in the batting order, at least while Hunter Pence is out. Matty D seems to be putting it together right now and is one of the Giants' better clutch hitters with runners on base and in scoring position. Mix that in with his respectable .293 average and .789 OPS to go along with 6 HR and 31 RBI and you'll see why I like the kid as a 3-hole option in Pence's stead. Not to mention he didn't start playing regularly until roughly a month into the season, and it makes the 24 year-old's numbers pop out even more, especially those RBI. Pagan has had a pretty decent year at the plate up until the last couple of weeks as he's taken a bit of a fall (slashing just .167/.227/.183 in June). He's hit for no power whatsoever, so unless he's at or above .280 and his OBP is at least .330, then he's really not much of an offensive threat. I understood starting the year with him in that spot as the Giants had limited options and Pagan had shown the ability to hit for at least a little pop in prior years. This year, it hasn't been there, at least not yet, and his pedestrian .266 average with a dreadful .303 on base average and weak .330 slugging percentage and whopping 16 RBI's must be moved from that three-spot, and quick.

I mean, I don't wanna turn this into a Pagan bashing, because I still like the player a lot and I know he's just in a slump and is going to get hot again at some point. He's another guy that's gotten clutch hits in big situations so he's earned some leeway, but there's no reason to be hitting him third right now with Matt Duffy just raking to all fields with pop. A lineup (sans Pence of course) of Aoki-Panik-Duffy-Posey-Belt-Crawford-Pagan-Maxwell (swap Pagan and Maxwell vs lefties) would look a lot better, in my opinion at least.

Anyway, that's really been heavy on my mind the last couple of days and I just haven't gotten around to writing it until now. The offense has been the the team's main concern of late and with Hunter Pence sidelined again, and this time for something that may nag him and effect his swing significantly the rest of the way when he eventually does return. I mean, unless he tears something and absolutely cannot go, I have a hard time seeing Hunter go under the knife with baseball still to be played, especially if given an option to play through. However, the fact that the Giants and Pence are being so hush hush about this as well as the fact that he was due back today (June 18th) and he still hasn't made enough progress to be given a firm timetable makes me wonder. They did say he'll be shut down another two weeks but who knows what will happen at that point. Tendons can be tricky, especially ones in the forearm for a guy with a violent hack like Pence's. Also, there has been a lot of talk on Marty Laurie's KNBR show, with credible guests such as Hank Schulman, that would suggest the Giants may be heavy in the market for outfield help.

Their pitching staff has seemed to right itself a bit, and they're getting nothing but positive feedback from Cain and his rehab assignment thus far. You can never use too much pitching, and I'm sure Sabes and Bobby Evans will be monitoring that market too, but with Pence's nagging injuries, along with Pagan's history of running into injury himself as the season wears down, the outfield would certainly make sense as a main area for upgrade. Plus we're starting to hit the part of the year where losing teams are going to start entering selling mode. I'd be all for an upgrade at the utility infield spot over Joaquin Arias if they could find one but that's not a priority. So, as far as outfield targets, I'm not sure who's going to be out there and available. I do like Cameron Maybin from Atlanta, or a couple of guys they just faced with Seattle in Seth Smith and Mark Trumbo. The ladder, Trumbo, is really intriguing actually, because if the Mariners continue to tank, they;re likely going to re-deal him before the deadline and he's just the type of Pat Burrell-esque type of bat they could use, only Trumbo is heaps and bounds better than Burrell, younger and more versatile. He could step into right field and take over for Justin Maxwell while Pence eases back and would allow Boch the ability to actually give guys like Pence, Belt and Aoki nights off and still having a solidified offense.
The Giants Baseball Blog


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