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String of righty starters a challenge for Giants

Bochy struggling to find days off for left-handed hitters
MLB.com

PHILADELPHIA -- The Giants are in the middle of a streak during which they're scheduled to face at least eight straight right-handed starting pitchers.

What makes that interesting is they don't currently have a switch-hitter on the roster and just four left-handed bats -- center fielder Denard Span, first baseman Brandon Belt, shortstop Brandon Crawford and second baseman Joe Panik -- who are all regulars.

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PHILADELPHIA -- The Giants are in the middle of a streak during which they're scheduled to face at least eight straight right-handed starting pitchers.

What makes that interesting is they don't currently have a switch-hitter on the roster and just four left-handed bats -- center fielder Denard Span, first baseman Brandon Belt, shortstop Brandon Crawford and second baseman Joe Panik -- who are all regulars.

View Full Game Coverage

That impacts manager Bruce Bochy in two ways. At least on the surface, it could limit his late-inning moves if the opposing team has a right-hander on the mound in an obvious pinch-hit situation.

"It depends who you have on the bench," he said. "We have some experienced guys. [Infielder Aaron] Hill's not a platoon player, or hasn't been all his career. So he's pretty good against left and right."

That situation arose in the ninth inning of Saturday's 5-3 loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. And Hill, batting for Austin Slater, delivered an RBI single against right-handed reliever Hector Neris.

Video: SF@PHI: Hill singles to left to bring home Crawford

Having Michael Morse (concussion symptoms) and Conor Gillaspie (back spasms) on the disabled list is a drawback.

"Morse, I'm comfortable with him against right-handers," Bochy said. "We do miss him, being on the DL. It really depends on the guys you have available. Would you like to have a left-handed bat? Sure. That's what Conor Gillaspie was, and talking to him, he didn't feel quite 100 percent or to the point where he could play [in a rehab assignment]."

The other factor is that it makes it more difficult to give one of his left-handed-hitting regulars a day off.

"Sometimes it's good to have a left-hander mixed in so you can give a guy a break," Bochy explained. "It's a little harder to give a guy a break when the matchups are in favor of leaving the left-handed bats out there. That's the only thing a lefty does. Sometimes it forces you. Especially when guys have played quite a few games in a row, it's a way of getting them a day off."

The last left-hander the Giants faced was Gio Gonzalez of the Nationals on Tuesday. Since then, it's been Washington's Max Scherzer in the final game of the homestand, then Jerad Eickhoff and Ben Lively in the first two games at Citizens Bank Park, followed by Jeremy Hellickson on Sunday. Then it's on to Milwaukee where they'll face Junior Guerra, Chase Anderson, Jimmy Nelson and Matt Garza.

Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the Giants on Saturday.

San Francisco Giants