SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy joked this morning that his hitters were working on a new drill before today’s series finale against the Pirates, which the Giants need to win to avoid dropping all six game on this homestand.
"We’re working on a drill down there, getting hit by a pitch," Bochy said. "Leaning into the ball. We’re trying everything."
The Giants have scored a total of six runs during their current six-game losing streak and were held to a Michael Morse solo home run in their 3-1 loss on Tuesday, so the need for some kind of change is real, even if the drill isn’t.
What Bochy is actually doing to try to jump-start the offense includes juggling the lineup today -- with Brandon Crawford moving into the No. 2 spot -- and meeting with some of the Giants’ hitters, including Crawford, who is 3 for his last 20 and batting .233.
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Bochy said he talked with Crawford this morning for "quite a while, basically about the approach and maybe tweaking his mechanics a little bit Try to get him to shorten up and get him in a little better position where he can handle all four quadrants."
Crawford has handled left-handers much better this season (.311) but is hitting just .198 against right-handers, which Bochy said shouldn’t be happening. Moving Crawford up to the second spot may let the Giants "play a little different game with him, bunt, hit-and-run," to try to generate some life in his bat.
Crawford, of course, isn’t the only hitter struggling, and Bochy reiterated that for some of the Giants’ hitters, the current problems may be self-fulfilling -- when you’re in a slump, "Maybe your confidence isn’t quite as high swinging the bat, and you’re going to chase more pitches." He said that seemed to be the case Tuesday night, as the Giants struck out 13 times, including 11 against left-hander Francisco Liriano.
Today they’ll face right-hander Charlie Morton, who has pitched pretty well against the Giants during his career. Morton is 3-4 lifetime against the Giants but has a 2.51 ERA, and held them to one unearned run in eight innings in Pittsburgh earlier this season. Here is the full lineup he’ll face today:
And the Pirates’ lineup against Tim Lincecum:
* Some good news on the injury front: Bochy said all went well with Angel Pagan going through a normal pre-game routine Tuesday night in Arizona. Pagan will go through the same routine today and barring a setback play in a game Thursday.
Bochy said it’s unlikely Pagan, even in a best-case scenario, would be able to rejoin the Giants during their four-game series this weekend in New York, so the earliest he would return is likely next week in Milwaukee.
* Brandon Belt, though, will fly with the team to New York and could be activated there, Bochy said. Belt is scheduled to do live hitting today and has been ramping up his cardio work with no negative effects from his concussion. The Giants will likely make a call on Friday about activating Belt.
* Less promising is the news on Hector Sanchez, whose progress since his concussion has been "slow," Bochy said. There’s still no target date for Sanchez resuming baseball activities, and Bochy said it now looks like Sanchez’s concussion was "a little worse" than Belt’s. For context, Belt has been on the DL since July 20 with his concussion.
* No update on Matt Cain, who’s scheduled to meet with Dr. James Andrews about his injured elbow today.
* Lastly, Bochy was asked about the impending trade deadline (1 p.m. PT tomorrow) and said of the Giants’ current activity: "You explore everything. (But) there’s nothing on the horizon right now."
That obviously could change, but Bochy said he won’t be discouraged if it doesn’t.
"No, because this is a good group," he said. "And we’re close to getting a couple guys -- that’s encouraging, with Belt and Pagan. I think right now, though, this is our group and we can’t be looking at, well, we can’t get him, or do we have a chance to get that player.
"The only way to get out of this, we’ve got to work harder, got to try harder. Everybody’s got to try to do a little bit more to get out of this thing right now."