SAN DIEGO -- Forget about small sample sizes and the 149 games remaining on the schedule. The Giants realize they need an upgrade, and they know they're lacking in offense most of all.They have scored one or fewer runs in seven of 13 games, including Friday's 5-1 setback at the
SAN DIEGO -- Forget about small sample sizes and the 149 games remaining on the schedule. The Giants realize they need an upgrade, and they know they're lacking in offense most of all.
They have scored one or fewer runs in seven of 13 games, including Friday's 5-1 setback at the hands of the San Diego Padres. The Giants mustered one hit in seven at-bats with runners in scoring position, which already has become a familiar theme. San Francisco's batting average with runners in scoring position, which ranked second-worst in the Major Leagues entering this game, dipped to .168.
"That's going to have to pick up," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
Quirks and inconsistencies pockmark the Giants' performance. Joe Panik has 15 hits and only four RBIs. Evan Longoria (.149) and Hunter Pence (.200) are clearly struggling. Andrew McCutchen's pair of walk-off hits obscure his .204 average.
Entering his 10th Major League season, McCutchen insisted he understands the adjustments he must make in the batter's box.
"Hit the ball where the ball's pitched," he said. "I shouldn't be rolling the ball over like that."
Though McCutchen is hardly the Giants' lone underachiever on offense, the results of his at-bats Friday typified their frustrations. He lined out with two runners aboard in the third inning, flied out to end the fifth inning with two on and lined into a double play to conclude the seventh with two teammates on base.
Bochy indicated that making one lineup change or shuffling the batting order won't make much difference. Besides, a different set of Giants will start the next two games, with left-handers Clayton Richard and Joey Lucchesi due to pitch for San Diego.
"It's not one guy, really," Bochy said. "There are three or four guys trying to find it here in the early go."
None of this helped Giants starter Ty Blach, who no-hit San Diego for four innings to make the game competitive. The left-hander displayed a crackling fastball that complemented his usual array of offspeed stuff.
But first baseman Brandon Belt's fielding error helped San Diego score twice in the fifth and break a scoreless tie.
The Padres added a pair of runs in the sixth to chase Blach, who lasted 5 1/3 innings and allowed four runs (three earned). Hunter Renfroe and Christian Villanueva doubled before Freddy Galvis singled.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
With the game scoreless, the fifth inning turned sour for Blach with two on and one out when Belt fielded Carlos Asuaje's grounder and dropped the ball as he looked toward second base to record a force play or even start a double play. Hoping to salvage the play, Belt turned toward first base and underhanded his relay to Blach. Belt's flip traveled lazily, enabling Asuaje to slide in safely. Opposing pitcher Tyson Ross and Jose Pirela lined opposite-field RBI singles to right.
HE SAID IT
"We all have some mileage. We understand. We've all had ups and downs. It's all in how you handle it and move on. All we got to have is a key hit and we're back in the game. No one has a sad face or anything like that. We're good. We're this close to being able to be more consistent." -- McCutchen
Derek Holland will ride whatever momentum he can as he faces the Padres and fellow left-hander Clayton Richard in Saturday's 5:40 p.m. PT rematch. Holland has performed well in both of his starts, but that's just it -- he has pitched only twice, and he must continue to perform competently if he is to retain his starting spot after San Francisco's top three starters return.
Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.