-- Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he plans to give several regulars the night off Wednesday for the series finale against the Rockies. Bochy said the lineup is likely not going to feature Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt or Gregor Blanco.
All those hitters are, of course, left-handed, and the Rockies are starting a lefty in Tyler Matzek. But there’s another reason: The Giants are offensively challenged right now and Bochy said after the Giants’4-1 loss Tuesday night that he sees those struggles wearing on some hitters.
"We have some guys that are really, really, I think, pressing right now," Bochy said. "It’s pretty obviously looking at the at-bats. You go through it, and we have a few guys going through it right now."
The Giants have scored seven runs during their current five-game losing streak. They are hitless in their last 18 at-bats with men in scoring position and 3-for-40 in those situations over the last six games. After leaving 12 runners on base in the home opener against the Rockies on Monday, the Giants stranded nine more Tuesday night, with an eighth-inning sacrifice fly by Matt Duffy rescuing them from consecutive shutouts.
Buster Posey narrowly missed a pinch-hit two-run homer when his drive to center in the eighth was hauled in by Charlie Blackmon at the wall. Belt nearly hit a two-run homer of his own in the first inning, but the ball hooked foul into McCovey Cove. Those were the hardest-hit balls of the night for the Giants, and like too many of their most important at-bats right now, they yielded nothing.
"It’s tough when you get as many guys as we have right now not seeing the ball very well," Bochy said.
Crawford is in the biggest slump, hitless in his last 21 at-bats and batting .156 through the first nine games. Belt is hitting .125. Joe Panik is batting .200 and has already struck out eight times -- a quarter of his total from last season.
Even though it’s early, Bochy said he believes looking up at the scoreboard and seeing those numbers blaring out at you can affect you as a hitter. As Panik pointed out, two good or bad games at this point can swing a hitter’s average 50 points either way.
"You try not to take too much of that into consideration," Panik said. "You have good at-bats and try to take that with you. Over the course of 600, hopefully if you put together good at-bats, it’ll even out. Obviously, you don’t like looking up at the scoreboard and seeing you’re not doing well."
The Giants got a seven-inning quality start from Tim Hudson on Tuesday and Bochy said the overall play the past two games has been "pretty good." But the timely hits have been missing, so on the 10th day of the season, he’ll try to shake things up.
"We’ll find a way to get these guys relaxed and just throw out some quality at-bats," said Bochy. "Right now that’s just not happening."
* Hudson hasn’t received a run of support in his first two starts but said he was unhappy about putting the Giants in an early hole Tuesday. He allowed two runs in the second and another in the fourth. But he got stronger later in the game, retiring 11 of his last 12 hitters and completing seven innings on 100 pitches.
"It took a little bit to get into the rhythm of the game," Hudson said. "Unfortunately we were three runs down by the time I started to figure some stuff out. It was a tough one, it was a little bit of a grind out there."
Hudson said that from his view, "We had some guys that had some pretty good at-bats. We’re just having a tough time getting some runs across the board right now."
* When Posey pinch-hit in the eighth as the potential tying run, nearly the entire AT&T Park crowd got to its feet, chanted his name and roared when he connected on a pitch by Rafael Betancourt to center. They weren’t the only ones who thought Posey might have hit a game-tying homer.
"I thought it had a chance," Bochy said. "He hit it well. Great at-bat, great match-up. That’s the way it’s going right now."
* The Giants will try to snap a five-game losing streak behind Tim Lincecum. Colorado starts the left-hander Matzek, who faced the Giants once last season and earned the win allowing two runs in seven innings. First pitch at 7:15 p.m.