Bay Area Baseball: Giants load up on right-hand hitting to face Braves' Maholm

Published: Saturday, May. 11, 2013 - 12:05 pm

SAN FRANCISCO - Giants manager Bruce Bochy just called Braves starter Paul Maholm's numbers against left-handed hitters this season "stupid." And yeah, they're pretty good. Lefties are 4-for-49 against Maholm in his first seven starts, for a .082 average that's the lowest in the National League.

So Bochy has loaded up the Giants' lineup today with right-handed hitters. Brandon Belt gets a day off with Buster Posey at first. Guillermo Quiroz catches Madison Bumgarner. Andres Torres was originally in the lineup in left field but Bochy made a switch to get Francisco Peguero a start there.

Interesting note - it was widely covered after Quiroz hit his first walk-off homer last weekend against the Dodgers that it was also just his third career home run in the majors. The other two came in 2008 when he was playing for Baltimore. And what pitcher served up the second one? Maholm, on June 15, 2008, in a 5-4 win by the Pirates over the Orioles. Here's guessing Quiroz, who recounted both prior homers immediately after the walk-off against the Dodgers, remembers it better than Maholm.

Here's the full Giants starting lineup:

CF Pagan

2B Scutaro

3B Sandoval

1B Posey

RF Pence

LF Peguero

C Quiroz

SS Crawford

P Bumgarner

And the Braves' own righty-heavy lineup today against Bumgarner:

SS Simmons

2B Uggla

RF J. Upton

1B Freeman

LF Gattis

3B Johnson

CF B.J. Upton

C Laird

P Maholm

• Justin Upton has given Bumgarner fits in their past meetings, with an 8-for-14 career line against the lefty including a home run, four walks and no strikeouts. The Giants will get their first look at Evan Gattis, who has one of the better back stories in baseball.

• Matt Cain said this morning he's feeling no second-day soreness as a result of taking a line drive off his right hip in the second inning Friday night. Cain rebounded nicely on the play -- tracking down the ball to throw out Brian McCann -- and in the game, with eight innings to earn his second win of the season.

"Feels fine," Cain said.

Bochy reiterated his comments from Friday night that Cain's quick reaction on the play, and the amount of ground he covered to chase the ball down near the first-base line and flip a throw around McCann to Belt at first, made it "one of the best plays that I've seen."

"I don't know how many pitchers would have even looked for that ball," Bochy said. "He found the ball and where he picked it up for the throw from the other side of the runner - it's one of the best I've seen."

• Bochy said reliever Santiago Casilla's sore knee is "feeling better," but he's prepared to not have Casilla available until the Giants start their series at Toronto on Tuesday. Casilla was going to run on the field before the game and be evaluated again afterward.

• As for who will serve as the Giants' designated hitter in Toronto, Bochy said he'll think more about that on Monday, an off day for the team. The Giants are traveling Sunday and will have a full day in Toronto before the series starts. It will likely come down to who needs a day out of the field.

• Bumgarner could use one of those six-run innings the Giants broke out against Tim Hudson on Friday night. After receiving nine runs of support in his first three starts (all wins), he has gotten a total of four in his last four outings.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Matt Kawahara



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