The San Francisco Giants offense hasn’t been all that fruitful so far. Despite the nice additions, they’re scuffling as a whole. It’s about time to shake it up.
After last night’s game I was a little frustrated. Most were. When you get “singled” to death by the Padres, whose lone hit in 13 innings of baseball had been a pinch hit single by a pitcher, you get a little upset. Eight strikeouts, against a Padres pitching staff that is about mediocre is frustrating, especially when six of those came from Evan Longoria and Hunter Pence. Longo is an article for another day.
Pence. Love him. Without him, the Giants likely don’t win in 2012, and you can argue in 2014. He was probably the first legitimate outfielder the Giants had since Barry Bonds. Don’t get me wrong. I have respect for the crew who got it done in 2010. But Andres Torres, Cody Ross, and Aaron Rowand don’t stack up to prime Hunter Pence.
But prime Hunter Pence hasn’t been here since 2014. The injuries, father time, they’ve all caught up with him. At some point the Giants should probably accept that. Here is something that Alex Pavlovic threw out at the end of the game last night, and it quite tells the story of these frustrations:
More than half their games, the Giants have come up with less than two runs, in a lineup with Posey, McCutchen, and Longoria. That’s bad.
Here’s the problem though, they’ve had plenty of chances. They are fourteenth in the league in hits, and 27th in runs scored. A bit of a disconnect there, huh.
Hunter Pence has been batting sixth and seventh in the lineup, which is a spot where you want a decent hitter. 1-5 in the Giants lineup usually have the ability to get on base. But when you have guys like Pence who are hitting .200 and have an OPS of .451 in that six or seven spot, that’s not very effective in a lineup that needs multiple hits to get a run across.
Let’s just look at the Giants lineup as a whole with runners in scoring position. They’re currently 17 FOR 101 w/RISP this season. 101 CHANCES! AND ONLY SEVENTEEN HITS! It’s atrocious. What’s even more annoying is that in general with men on base, they’re hitting .261. That’s not bad. With runners on first, they’re hitting .387!
How did this turn into an article about the Giant’s futility at the plate and how is it wrapped up in Hunter Pence and Mac Williamson? Just hold on. We’ve got like…350 more words to go.
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Out of batter 3-6, the only player with an average above the Mendoza line with RISP, is Buster Posey. At some point, the Giants need to get someone in there who will clean up the mess. The last year plus of Hunter Pence tells us it likely won’t be him.
Down in AAA, where the San Francisco Giants sent their best hitter in Spring Training, Mac Williamson is lighting up the PCL. He has FOUR HOMERS and they’ve played for a week less than the Giants have. Seven of his 12 total hits have been extra bases. At some point the Giants are going to have to give him a call, and the guy to take the fall in the outfield will likely be Pence.
The Giants haven’t had the urgency to do this in years past. They definitely didn’t last year. But they have to now. This year is peak “win-now” mode. They have significant money coming off the books next year, they went and traded away a couple of top prospects for Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen.
Now that the offense isn’t working as they had hoped, it’s time to do something different. They have to. They placed the importance on this year with their words and actions. Now it’s up to them to pull the trigger and shake things up. Ever since 2014, every move the Giants have made has been reactionary. They need to start being pro-active. They have issues. And Mac could fix them. Or he could not. But I’d like to find out if he can.
Williamson showed this spring, and has showed so far in AAA that he’s ready for the big leagues. This isn’t some Jarrett Parker flash in the pan three homer game guy. This is a guy who has been the best power hitter in the farm system since he debuted in 2013.
It’s taken him some time, yes, but he seems to be ready. The Giants can no longer afford to keep a “ready” player waiting in the wings while a guy on the last legs of his career is performing significantly below average for the last year and a half. So, the ball is in your court Bobby. It’s time to make the move.