SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Giants manager Bruce Bochy wore a wearyexpression Saturday after watching his squad get shut down by anothersoft-tossing left-hander. This time, Jeff Francis of the Cincinnati Reds did the honors.
Bochy nearly whimpered when told Francis got hammered for 11runs in his previous start.
A blip inning or two aside, the Giants have looked terriblefor more than a week. And with one Cactus League game remaining after a 10-2loss to the Reds, Bochy doesnt have much time to figure it out.
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Our heads were somewhere else, including the pitchingside, Bochy said. Weve had times weve really struggled against lefties.Weve got to figure that out. I dont know that we had a ball hit hard offFrancis till the homer.
The homer came courtesy of non-roster infielder JoaquinArias, giving him two in two days. Brett Pill also lashed a single off BillBray, a quality left-hander. This is a good time to be a right-handed hitter onthe roster bubble.
The same is true for Hector Sanchez, a switch hitter who hasplenty of pop from the right side.
Bochy was due to have another in-depth roster discussionwith GM Brian Sabean and the staff. The clubs performance against lefties including Jamie Moyer, whom theyll face in the sixth game of the season could influence a bench role or two.
Bochy even dropped a potential hint when he said the Giantscould improve the lineup against lefties by putting Buster Posey at first base.Presumably, that would only be an offensive upgrade if Sanchez caught, and notEli Whiteside or Chris Stewart.
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It remains possible that Sanchez will break as Poseys onlybackup catcher. Thats one of several topics Brandon Belt being another where the front office and coaching staff might have some healthy disagreement.
Either way, the Giants need their switch hitters to havebetter at-bats from the right side. Pablo Sandoval has improved after lungingat everything earlier in the spring, but Melky Cabrera has cooled off a bit andAngel Pagan took another 0-fer to drop his average to .185.
Pagans on-base percentage this spring? Try .221.
Francis pitched well but youd like to see betterswings, Bochy said. Thats what disappointed me. You didnt see good swings.
Posey was 0-for-2 with a walk as the first baseman. Hecouldnt pick on throw out of the dirt after Sandoval made a tremendous, divingstop down the line. But Posey was able to make nice scoops on two other throws.
Posey will be off for Sundays Cactus League finale againstthe Brewers at Maryvale. Itll be Tim Lincecum vs. right-hander YovaniGallardo.
Bochy is concerned about more than the offense. A day afterSergio Romo gave up three runs, including a two-run homer to Jeremy Hermida,the other frontline relievers got torched. Jeremy Affeldt allowed four runs(two earned) on five hits in one inning. And Santiago Casillas spring ERA blewup from 0.96 to 4.35 after he got shelled for four runs on five hits in hisinning.
Casilla today, his focus or concentration was off, Bochyvolunteered. He made 0-2 mistakes. Thats just a lack of concentration.
Steve Edlefsen and Jean Machi continued to keep pace withDan Otero for the final bullpen spot, though.
Edlefsen, a former college shortstop at Nebraska, picked arunner off first base and also cut down a lead runner on a pretty goodsacrifice bunt. He fielded a comebacker, too. His spring ERA is 1.74.
Machi, who looks like Pablo Sandovals stunt double on themound, continues to impress with his mid-90s fastball and split. He allowed ahit in a scoreless inning to lower his spring ERA to 1.80. Machi, 30, has neverpitched above Triple-A and had never been invited to big league spring traininguntil this year. The Giants signed him last year and loaned him to Mexico City,where he continued to pitch well. No surprise, the Giants took him back.
By the way, Machi told me his first name is pronouncedHAY-ahn and his last name is MAW-chee.
The Giants are bringing everyone in camp to the Bay Area,with the exception of Conor Gillaspie. He hit .189 and was optioned to Triple-AFresno. He has the misfortune of being a lefty hitter, which took him (and Mike Fontenot) out of the running on thisteam.
Bochy hinted he might have another roster move or two toofficialize on Sunday. But those could be obvious things, like telling usGregor Blanco, Clay Hensley and Ryan Theriot are on the squad.
Fontenot came to the ballpark late Friday night to clear out his locker. Some guys like to say their farewells when they get released. Others prefer to go quietly.
Fontenot, an upbeat, funny guy, had a lot of friends on this team. He'll also be forever remembered for the semi-clothed cartwheels he did in the clubhouse following Game 5 of the 2010 World Series, long after the media and families had left the scene and only the players were left.
The Colorado Rockies announced their rotation, and like theGiants, they will skip a No.5 starter in the first week. So itll be RHPJhoulys Chacin vs. Barry Zito on April 9, followed by RHP Jeremy Guthrie, theiropening-day starter, against Tim Lincecum. Then youll have 49-year-old leftyJamie Moyer vs. 22-year-old lefty Madison Bumgarner.
I told Bumgarner that hed be facing Moyer. He wondered ifits the biggest age differential in two opposing pitchers in history.I have to believe so, but Ill have to look that up.
For now, I can tell you this: Moyer was 32-43 and hadpitched in 100 big league games before the day Bumgarner came kicking andscreaming into this world.