Just last weekend, Giants third baseman Matt Duffy was hitting so poorly that manager Bruce Bochy held him out of the lineup Monday for a mental break. Now, Duffy looks like the only Giants hitter who isn’t slumping.
Duffy had two of the Giants’ three hits Thursday in a 6-2 loss to the Diamondbacks that was their eighth defeat in nine games. That included four in a row to their divisional rivals from Arizona, marking just the second time the Giants have been swept at AT&T Park since the stadium opened in 2000.
Such is the state of the Giants’ offense that even their lone rally Thursday left them feeling frustrated. Arizona starter Shelby Miller walked the first four batters of the third inning, including Hunter Pence to force in a run, then was removed from the game. The Giants trailed 2-1 at that point and still had the bases loaded with no outs, but Tyler Wagner got cleanup hitter Brandon Belt to hit into a double play and Brandon Crawford to ground out to escape the inning with the score tied.
The Diamondbacks took back the lead in the fourth as Yasmani Tomas crushed a home run to left field off Johnny Cueto. And the Giants’ offense did not advance a runner past first base for the rest of the game.
“We’re missing the timely hit,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “You always look lifeless when you don’t get those hits. … They were trying to give us the game there. If it wasn’t for the walks, we’d probably get shut out, to be honest.”
The Giants were shut out Tuesday night and managed one run Wednesday against Zack Greinke and the Diamondbacks’ bullpen. Over the final three games of the series, Duffy had six hits in 11 at-bats. All other Giants hitters went 10 for 86 (.116). The Giants were hitless in five at-bats with men in scoring position Thursday and are 3 for 35 (.086) in those situations over their last five games.
“We need somebody to inject some life in us, this offense, and get a big hit,” Bochy said.
Especially vexing is that the offense was highly productive the first week of the season as the Giants won six of their first eight games. They have since gone from two games up in the early National League West standings to fourth place and 3 1/2 games behind.
“I don’t think we’re worried,” Duffy said. “I think our lineup is composed of too many good hitters who understand what they’re doing at the plate to stay down this long.”
Aside from giving some regulars a day off, Bochy has yet to revamp his lineup but said he would consider changes. A possible tweak is moving Duffy, who hit third much of last season, higher in the order. Duffy collected his two hits Thursday from the 7-hole.
“They should start swinging the bats a little better here, but give Arizona credit,” Bochy said. “They pitched well; they played well. They did everything right. And we couldn’t do anything right in this series.”