ATLANTA -- It isn't so Hot-lanta at the moment at Turner Field. Thundershowers cooled it down to a manageable 75 degrees, and the Giants even managed to take batting practice amid a few fat drops.
The pregame news that most will find interesting was Giants manager Bruce Bochy's decision to keep Hector Sanchez in a battery with Barry Zito, and start Buster Posey at first base. In the past, Zito had Sanchez as a personal catcher in order to get regular rest for Posey's ankle and keep continuity with the rest of the staff.
But after hinting that Posey would finally work with Zito, Bochy decided to stick with Sanchez. The reason? He wants to keep the young switch-hitter's bat in the lineup.
I asked the obvious follow-up question. With Posey at first base and Brandon Belt on the bench, does Bochy prefer Sanchez's bat over Belt's?
"Yeah, I think that's fair to say, wouldn't you?" Bochy said. "He's coming off a pretty solid game. That's why I decided to go that way."
The Beltists will not be pleased. They'll point out that although Sanchez is coming off a four-hit game Saturday, Belt drew three walks in last week's Houston series to reach in four of 10 plate appearances. They'll also correctly point out that Belt's .360 OBP is third best on the team, and far better than Sanchez's .282 mark (weighed down by the fact he's walked twice all season.)
This continues to be a sticky situation. Bochy and the coaching staff know what Belt is capable of doing, but they also know that when he's going bad, he's a complete drain on the lineup. He doesn't just go 0 for 12 when he has a bad series. He goes 0 for 12 with eight strikeouts.
The other confounding thing is that Belt is mashing left-handers, which is counterintuitive. In general, it's the manager's job to look at matchups and try to pick spots when he thinks his players will succeed. Today, obviously, he has more confidence in Sanchez than Belt.
Hey, I just tell you what the manager says. Excuse me while I put on a Kevlar vest, just in case.
In other news, Bochy called the team's 4.85 road ERA, the third worst in the majors, "too extreme" when compared to their major league-best 2.31 ERA at home.
"We're not a club that will slug it with other teams," Bochy said. "We'll have to do better in the second half. That last road trip (to Washington and Pittsburgh) didn't help at all. Hopefully we're more acclimated, having just been East, and they know what to expect.
"But that's too dramatic, those numbers."
You know what's not dramatic? Rain delays. Hopefully the weather stays manageable the rest of the night.