San Francisco Giants: Austin Slater proves call-up was long overdue
By Hunter Ruetz
San Francisco Giants outfielder Austin Slater proved Monday night that his MLB call-up was long overdue.
There were a lot of question marks going into July concerning the San Francisco Giants and their offensively challenged outfield.
Austin Slater took a step toward being part of the solution on Monday night when the Giants thumped the Padres 13-2 in one of their most impressive offensive onslaughts of the year.
Slater, who was called up to the 25-man roster Monday morning, started in right field and batted in the No. 7 spot in the lineup in a favorable match-up against Padres southpaw Logan Allen. He stepped to the plate in the second inning with a .292 career batting average at the MLB level against left-handed pitching.
In his first big league at-bat of the season, he smacked a fastball back up the middle that hit Allen on the foot, ultimately robbing him of his first hit of the season.
He stepped to the plate again in the fourth inning and this time he would not be deterred. He took an off-speed pitch from Allen to the opposite field and showed off his legs, stretching the hit into a triple while driving in a run in the process.
Slater wasn’t finished there.
When he batted again in the seventh inning, he no longer held the platoon advantage with righty reliever Phil Maton now on the mound for the Padres. It didn’t matter. Maton hung a curveball and Slater crushed it into the left field bleachers.
The 26-year-old finished the night 2-for-5 with two RBI. For a team that has been searching all season for an offensive spark, he delivered just that in his debut.
Given his ability to play multiple positions both on the infield and in the outfield, Slater could very well see semi-regular action going forward in a super-utility role, especially when the opposing starter is a lefty.
Between the strong debut from Slater and the recent success of Alex Dickerson, hope for a more productive outfield is finally starting to materialize.