Duffy starts tonight as Giants try to right struggles against left-handers

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014 - 5:54 pm

SAN FRANCISCO -- Following last night’s loss to the Colorado Rockies, the Giants are now 5-14 in their last 19 games against left-handed starters. They see another one tonight in the Rockies’ Jorge De La Rosa, who’s won 13 games with a 4.21 ERA for a last-place Colorado team.

Mostly for that reason, it’s Matt Duffy at second base tonight for the Giants rather than left-handed-hitting Joe Panik. Joaquin Arias was another option for a right-handed bat, but manager Bruce Bochy said Arias’ neck is "a little jacked up right now."

Bochy said he might consider a similar move with shortstop Brandon Crawford in the coming days, "just to get him a break." Crawford is in a tough stretch -- he’s batting .159 over his last 19 games and went hitless in four at-bats Monday night, while also making a pair of throwing errors.

While Bochy has given Crawford a day or two off before to regroup when the shortstop has struggled at the plate, he said he might be less inclined to do so right now. The Giants are fighting for their postseason possibilities going into September, and Bochy said it’s "getting to the point where we’d like to run all these guys out there as much as we can, talking about our core guys.

"At the same time, we’ve got to start getting some runs on the board," Bochy said. "So you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to help that cause.

That said, here’s the Giants’ lineup tonight against De La Rosa:

CF Pagan

RF Pence

C Posey

3B Sandoval

1B Morse

2B Duffy

LF Blanco

SS Crawford

P Bumgarner

And the Rockies’ lineup against Madison Bumgarner:

SS Rutledge

CF Stubbs

3B Arenado

1B Morneau

C McKenry

RF McBride

LF Barnes

2B Culberson

P De La Rosa

* A day after it was announced the Giants intend to skip his next turn in the rotation, Tim Lincecum was out on the field around 3:15 p.m. today, working on his motion under the supervision of pitching coach Dave Righetti. Lincecum threw a short bullpen session and Bochy said he is likely available in relief tonight for an inning if needed.

Bochy reiterated that Lincecum’s work at this point is "just trying to tweak a couple of things, just trying to clean up the delivery a little bit." While much reaction to the move has been along the lines of "Lincecum moved to bullpen," it’s worth nothing that Bochy made it fairly clear the change is for one start, after which the Giants will re-evaluate the rotation and Lincecum’s place in it.

Further emphasizing that point, Bochy said today that if the Giants had to use Yusmeiro Petit in long relief or an extra-innings game tonight, they could still shuffle things and have Lincecum start Thursday instead. It probably won’t happen, but the possibility has been left open.

Lincecum, meanwhile, shared his reaction today to likely being skipped.

"I’m for continuing forward," he said. "If (Bochy is) making that decision, it’s up to him. He’s the one that sees it, he’s the one that has to make that decision. But in my mind, I’m going to go out there and battle any chance I get, any chance I can to go out there, whether that’s start day or in relief. But I think they’re giving this time to get my stuff right and kind of clear my head and just get away from the tedious nature of picking at things too much in between starts."

Lincecum stressed he believes his issues the past month have been mechanical, though the resulting struggles have also worked their way into his head a little. He said that he’s trying not to view the move as a "negative" and that, "Now that I find myself in it, I’ll try to work myself out of it."

"Consistency was something I was looking so forward to finding, and I did, (so) it was heartbreaking to kind of fall out of it," Lincecum said. "But I think that’s why this game is as fun as it is. We get a chance to battle, even with ourselves at times.

"That competition can be fun, but it can also have a negative effect, and you’ve seen the result of that. So just trying to get back to my head spinning the right direction, being positive and leaning on the things I know I can do."

* Bochy said he had not received a report on Hector Sanchez’s latest doctor’s visit. The Giants are waiting for news on Sanchez’s latest concussion setback.

* In Sanchez’s absence, rookie Andrew Susac seems to be making a good impression. Susac homered to the deep part of AT&T Park last night, his second with the Giants, and Bochy said the shot was "one of the more impressive ones we’ve had this year."

"Angel (Pagan) was standing by me and said the wind was kind of blowing in a little bit from center field," Bochy said. "But their center fielder didn’t make a long run after that ball. He kind of shut things down. He knew that ball was out. So this kid’s strong.

"He’s only going to get better with the bat, but I think if you look at last year to this year, he’s probably made as much improvement as any of our prospects."

* The Giants have their own left-hander going tonight in Bumgarner, who finally had a strong outing at home in his last start at AT&T Park on Aug. 15 against the Phillies. He allowed just one run on four hits in seven innings. Bumgarner, though, remains 4-6 with a 5.17 ERA this season at home.

One added benefit of his starting tonight, though: If the Giants are looking for more right-handed bats in the lineup, Bumgarner provides a pretty good one.


Call The Bee’s Matt Kawahara, (916) 321-1015. See his baseball coverage at sacbee.com/mlb. Follow him on Twitter at @matthewkawahara.

Read more articles by Matt Kawahara



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