Leading Off

Leading Off: Giants’ Casey McGehee on the hot seat at the hot corner

San Francisco Giants third baseman Casey McGehee catches a line drive hit by Los Angeles Angels' Johnny Giavotella during the fifth inning of a baseball game on Sunday, May 3, 2015, in San Francisco.
San Francisco Giants third baseman Casey McGehee catches a line drive hit by Los Angeles Angels' Johnny Giavotella during the fifth inning of a baseball game on Sunday, May 3, 2015, in San Francisco. AP

When Justin Maxwell made the final out of the eighth inning Monday night in the Giants’ 2-0 win over the San Diego Padres, Casey McGehee was on deck.

It already was another awful night for the Santa Cruz native, who expected a happier homecoming when he signed with the Giants in the offseason. He was charged with a throwing error in the first inning (he seems to have difficulty reaching first from third), was hitless in three at-bats, grounded into his league-leading ninth double play and stranded five baserunners. Entering Tuesday’s game, he was hitting .181 with three RBIs in 21 games.

As Maxwell grounded out, we wondered what McGehee was thinking? Was he frustrated that he didn’t get another chance to hit and win back those fans who scream for his head on social media? Or was there a sigh of relief?

While we’re sure he would have wanted another at-bat, nobody could blame the new kid on the block for wanting no mas.

Being the new kid anywhere is tough enough. But when you’re the new third baseman, replacing one of the most popular players on a three-time World Series winner that still has a clubhouse full of what manager Bruce Bochy calls “championship blood,” imagine the pressure to succeed.

McGehee is certainly no home run hitter, but he can hit. Last season, he had 177 hits for the Marlins, fourth in the National League. On the flip side, he hit into 31 double plays – leading the league.

Bochy didn’t start McGehee on Tuesday, saying he wanted to give him a chance to relax and clear his head. That’s why Bochy is popular among his players; he stands by them through thick and thin.

But there may come a point where the best thing to do is to cut a man loose to save the ship from sinking.

Victor Contreras

vcontreras@sacbee.com

What to watch

NBA playoffs, L.A. Clippers at Houston, 6:30 p.m., TNT: The Clippers look to take a 2-0 lead over the Rockets in their best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series.


What to do

Baseball, San Diego at Giants, 12:45 p.m., AT&T Park: Rookie right-hander Chris Heston hopes for another quality start. Heston is 2-2 with a 2.51 ERA in five starts.


On this date

1998: Rookie Kerry Wood ties the major-league record with 20 strikeouts in a nine-inning game, pitching a one-hitter to lead the Chicago Cubs over the Houston Astros 2-0 at Wrigley Field.

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