The SportsXchange


SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Giants are struggling big-time with runners in scoring position, and No. 3 hitter Pablo Sandoval is hitting .186.

The two things aren't necessarily interrelated, but a potential solution is.

Even after Sandoval blooped a difference-making single in the seventh inning Wednesday during San Francisco's 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Giants find themselves having to consider moving their struggling third baseman down in the order, especially with first baseman Brandon Belt off to such a good start.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy likes hitting Sandoval third because Sandoval is a switch hitter. It gives the Giants three consecutive left-handed hitters (behind center fielder Angel Pagan and Belt) atop the lineup against right-handed pitchers, and five consecutive righties (the switch-hitting Pagan, right fielder Hunter Pence, Sandoval, catcher Buster Posey and left fielder Michael Morse) against left-handers.

The plan was working early in the season, when the Giants went 17-for-38 with men in scoring position over their first five games. However, the strategy is failing lately. Including Sandoval's clutch hit Wednesday, the Giants went just 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position in the game, extending their slump in such situations to 17-for-82 (.207) in the past 10 games.

Sandoval had an earlier opportunity Wednesday and grounded out to third base with Pence on second base and one out in the first inning.

Sandoval went 2-for-4 in the game, raising his average 22 points.


RECORD: 10-5

STREAK: Won three

NEXT: Dodgers (LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu, 2-1, 2.57 ERA) at Giants (LHP Madison Bumgarner, 2-0, 3.31 ERA)


--LHP Madison Bumgarner will be matched up with LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu when he starts against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the finale of the Giants' nine-game homestand Thursday. Facing Ryu is significant. It shouldn't impact Bumgarner's pitching. Bumgarner already has a 7-2 win over the Dodgers this season and is 9-3 lifetime against them with a 2.63 ERA. Where Ryu should really be concerned is when Bumgarner comes to bat. When the powerful right-handed hitter matched up against another left-hander -- Colorado's Jorge De La Rosa -- in his last start, he powered a grand slam that propelled the Giants to a 6-3 win.

--3B Pablo Sandoval raised his batting average from .164 to .186 with two hits, including the game-winner, in Wednesday's 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Sandoval's difference-making hit came in the seventh inning after Dodgers manager Don Mattingly ordered an intentional walk to Giants RF Hunter Pence, creating a two-on, two-out situation for Sandoval. The struggling third baseman then reached out and blooped a LHP J.P. Howell changeup into center field to score INF Joaquin Arias with the go-ahead run. Asked afterward if the slight by Mattingly had fired him up, Sandoval admitted he also would have walked Pence in that situation.

--LHP Jeremy Affeldt was activated off the 15-day disabled list Wednesday. The timing could not have been better for a Giants team that used all seven of its available relievers Tuesday in a 3-2, 12-inning win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. The addition of Affeldt, who had been out with a strained knee ligament, makes the Giants' bullpen whole. He returns to share setup situations with RHP Santiago Casilla in front of closer Sergio Romo. Giants manager Bruce Bochy now has the luxury of having three lefty relievers at his disposal. Affeldt did not pitch Wednesday in San Francisco's 2-1 win over Los Angeles.

--OF Juan Perez was optioned to Triple-A Fresno on Wednesday. Perez seemed to have a nice gig. He began the season as the Giants' fifth outfielder, a speedy defensive specialist who could spell LF Michael Morse late in tight games and provide insurance for CF Angel Pagan, who missed half of last season with a hamstring injury. However, Morse was hitting so well, Giants manager Bruce Bochy wasn't replacing him much in left field. And Pagan has been perfectly healthy. Couple that with Perez's 0-for-8 results at the plate and his caught stealing Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and he was considered expendable when the Giants needed to create a roster spot for LHP Jeremy Affeldt.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "He's one of those guys where you can't throw the ball bad enough. You can't throw far enough off the plate. He just put his bat on it." -- Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, on Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval, who hit an outside pitch for the decisive single in San Francisco's 2-1 win Wednesday.



--LHP Jeremy Affeldt (sprained right knee) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 23. He began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Fresno on April 4, then made two rehab appearances for Class A San Jose. He was activated April 16.

--2B Marco Scutaro (back inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 21. There is no timetable for his return, as the ailment bothered him for large portions of last season and all spring.


LHP Madison Bumgarner

RHP Matt Cain

RHP Tim Hudson

RHP Tim Lincecum

RHP Ryan Vogelsong


RHP Sergio Romo (closer)

RHP Santiago Casilla

LHP Jeremy Affeldt

LHP Javier Lopez

RHP Jean Machi

RHP Yusmeiro Petit

LHP David Huff

RHP Juan Gutierrez


Buster Posey

Hector Sanchez


1B Brandon Belt

2B Joaquin Arias

SS Brandon Crawford

3B Pablo Sandoval

INF Ehire Adrianza

INF Brandon Hicks


LF Michael Morse

CF Angel Pagan

RF Hunter Pence

OF Gregor Blanco

View Comments