Bochy plans to stick with Belt in second half

Bochy plans to stick with Belt in second half
July 8, 2012, 5:21 pm

PITTSBURGH -- This morning's pregame session with Giants manager Bruce Bochy was mostly a first-half summation and second-half look-ahead, which I'll save for my midseason review.

But Bochy did respond to a question about what his lineup strategy would be when the season resumes on Friday, and specifically what he'll do at first base.

Bochy said he plans to stick with the same lineup, and he'll stay the course with Brandon Belt. After a torrid run in mid-June, Belt is struggling to put the ball in play again. He's 1 for 13 with two walks and eight strikeouts on the road trip, and is sitting today with Buster Posey at first base.

"He's out of sync at the plate, his timing is off and his confidence is shaken a little bit," said Bochy, adding that Belt didn't see the ball at all Saturday against the Pirates' James McDonald. "He's one guy who usually doesn't chase pitches. He's chasing more than we're accustomed to. We'd like to get him back to being more patient and getting his walks."

Counterintuitively, Belt has been much, much better against left-handed pitching. That's part of a team-wide trend. The Giants are 17-9 against lefty starters but a game under .500 against right-handers. Jered Weaver, Mat Latos and, most recently, McDonald had their way with them.

So while the assumption has been that the Giants will try to acquire a right-handed power-hitter for the bench, they need their existing personnel to do more damage against right-handers, too.

Whether the opposing pitcher throws left-handed, right-handed or kicks the ball to the plate, the Giants need to be better with runners in scoring position, Bochy said. Their .262 average ranks ninth among the 30 major league clubs, but they're tied for 28th with a .224 average with runners in scoring position. Their .184 mark with two outs and RISP is the second worst in the majors, better than only the wretched San Diego Padres.

One guy who could help, at least in theory, is Aubrey Huff. Bochy said there remains a chance he could be activated on Friday, but the fact he had a knee setback makes that a bit less likely.

"We'll see how the next two or three games go," Bochy said.

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