SAN FRANCISCO -- Joaquin Arias is in the Giants' lineup at shortstop again today against a Cubs left-hander. It's the second consecutive day off for Brandon Crawford, who said he's healthy but has hit nearly .100 points lower against left-handers this year than against right-handers. Manager Bruce Bochy said he wanted to get Arias a couple games at shortstop coming off the DL, but also that Crawford's struggles against lefties recently has played a part in his sitting the final two games of the homestand.
Crawford has been as near a lock in the Giants' lineup as Hunter Pence, starting 97 of the Giants' first 103 games. But he's hitting .207 against lefties and has two hits in his last 30 at-bats against them. Bochy said Arias could also see some starts in the second half at first base against lefties, spelling Brandon Belt, though Belt is in the lineup today.
"I think it's fair to say that Crawford recently has had a tough time against lefties," Bochy said. "Doesn't mean he's not going to play against them anymore, but Belt has been swinging the bat a little better against lefties, so he gets the start today."
Bochy was asked if resting Crawford is a two-day thing and he said he'd have a clearer answer when the Giants reach Philadelphia, after their visit to the White House and President Obama on Monday. He did say that having Arias, who had two hits Saturday night and looked sure-handed at shortstop, "allows us to give Crawford a few more days off this second half."
Here's the full Giants lineup against Cubs left-hander Travis Wood:
CF Torres 2B Scutaro C Posey 3B Sandoval RF Pence LF Francoeur SS Arias 1B Belt P Lincecum
And the Cubs lineup that Lincecum will face:
CF DeJesus LF Lake 1B Rizzo RF Schierholtz SS Castro 3B Valbuena 2B Barney C Castillo P Wood
* The Giants, as Bochy indicated yesterday, skipped on-field batting practice today and instead held a brief but concentrated infield-outfield session, complete with outfielders throwing to bases and the infielders turning double plays and charging slow rollers.
"We talked to them about this, that it's going to be important for us to improve our defense, so we're going to stress it a bit more from this point on, start taking infield and concentrated ground balls," Bochy said. "We've had some other issues, I know, but that's one thing that should show up every day from this club is better defense."
The Giants made two more errors in their 1-0 loss on Saturday night -- one each by Pablo Sandoval and Marco Scutaro -- and now lead the majors with 76. Bochy said the full team skipping BP and taking defensive reps before games will happen "maybe a couple times a week."
"But the other part, the added infield and outfield work, that's going to be every day," he said.
* Bochy said right-hander Guillermo Moscoso will be activated today, but the Giants had yet to announce the corresponding move as of an hour before the game. Bochy said they were waiting "until we talk to the players involved."
* The Giants send Tim Lincecum to the mound today trying to avoid being swept at home by the Cubs for the first time since Sept. 13-15, 1993. Lincecum has faced the Cubs once this season back on April 14, allowing four earned runs on six hits in five innings and getting a no-decision in the Giants' 10-7 win at home.
Lincecum followed up his no-hitter with arguably his worst start of the year against the Reds, giving up eight runs on nine hits in 3 2/3 innings last Saturday. He said fatigue was not a factor carrying over from the 148-pitch performance in San Diego. We'll see how he responds today, with the Giants trying to avoid a 3-7 homestand before going on the road to Philadelphia and Tampa Bay.
-- Matt Kawahara