Giants call on dominant Bumgarner in battle with Brewers
Hunter Pence is batting .279 with 16 runs in 32 games batting leadoff. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
Programming note: Giants-Brewers coverage begins on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area with Giants Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m.
SAN FRANCISCO -- With the defending champion Giants in last place and 12 games behind the first-place Dodgers, manager Bruce Bochy is giving his lineup a makeover.
After the Marco Scutaro-leadoff experiment went 0-for-9 in two games, Bochy is turning to Hunter Pence to set the table.
Pence, 30, has 32 career games as the leadoff hitter, where his on-base percentage is .320. All 32 of those starts came in his first two seasons in the league in 2007 and '08 with the Astros. Pence, who has only hit third, fourth, fifth or sixth for the Giants, is the fifth hottest hitter in the National League since the All-Star break, going 24-for-66 (.364).
It's no surprise that Scutaro, 37, has the day off Wednesday.
"More than anything, he needs a break," Bochy said Tuesday. "He needs days off. He’s not one to make excuses, and he wants to go out there for the team. He wants to win. But it’s time to take it out of his hands."
Though the Giants turn to Pence to get on base, the team will need to improve its clutch hitting behind him; the Giants are 2-for-22 (.091) with runners in scoring position this series.
Brandon Belt is slotted in the three-spot, where he is 1-for-11 (.091) this year. He has reached base in 11 of his last 16 plate appearances.
The lineups are set for Game 3 of the four-game set with the Milwaukee Brewers:
San Francisco Giants (50-62, 29-28 Home)
1. Hunter Pence (R) RF
2. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
3. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B
6. Roger Kieschnick (L) LF
7. Jeff Francoeur (R) CF
8. Joaquin Arias (R) 2B
9. LHP -- Madison Bumgarner (11-6, 2.69 ERA)
Milwaukee Brewers (48-65, 21-34 Road)
1. Rickie Weeks (R) 2B
2. Norichika Aoki (L) RF
3. Jean Segura (R) SS
4. Jonathan Lucroy (R) C
5. Carlos Gomez (R) CF
6. Khris Davis (R) LF
7. Yuniesky Betancourt (R) 1B
8. Jeff Bianchi (R) 3B
9. RHP -- Marco Estrada (4-4, 5.32 ERA)