Bochy on Belt: 'Brandon is a little lost right now'

726918.jpg

Bochy on Belt: 'Brandon is a little lost right now'

ATLANTA Now that Eli Whiteside is the backup catcherinstead of Hector Sanchez for the time being, how will Giants manager BruceBochy divvy up the duties behind the plate?

Bochy said hell use the same criteria that he used before:Itll be subject to the schedule, to the pace of games and when Buster Poseyrequires a break from strapping on his shin guards.

Bochy said Posey could catch Tim Lincecum on Friday. OrWhiteside could catch him. It depends on a number of factors, one of which is thepotential for a rain delay and a long night at Turner Field this evening. (Ifthe Giants walk out of here at 1 a.m., then its a good bet Posey wouldntcatch Thursday afternoons series finale.)

I mentioned to Bochy that if he decides to have Whitesidework with Lincecum on Friday in Philadelphia, it would feed the perception thatthe manager is intentionally keeping Posey from catching the Giants strugglingformer ace.

Not at all, Bochy said. This is more ... We have theluxury of Buster being able to play first base. Theres a good chance hellcatch Timmy. Well see where hes at. But at some point, hes going to need aday. When he does, its probably with (Barry) Zito or Timmy. That doesnt meanI dont want him catching them. Thats just how its been to this point.

This is more a case of were looking for production atfirst base.

So yes, the Lincecum-Posey discussion is related to thewhy-doesnt-Bochy-like-Brandon-Belt discussion.

What does Bochy make of Belts return to a funk at theplate?

I think its fair to say Brandon is a little lost rightnow, Bochy said. Its timing and confidence again. I say this so many times:Theyll have their ups and downs, young players, and they have to learn to dealwith it.

I know hes working hard in the cage. At the same time, youvegot to get production from everywhere, especially first base. Our hope is hellget it going there and contribute to this offense.

If not, Belt could find some fresh competition very soon viathe trade market if he isnt traded himself. Thats not the craziest notionin the world, given his perceived value to other GMs and the Giants relativelack of blue-chip prospects.

Belt is hitting .163 with a .222 OBP in 18 games since his torrid, 11-game hitting streak ended in late June.

--
As for the decision to put Hector Sanchez on the DL, Bochysaid the backup catcher likely would be out five to seven days. Thats just toolong to go short, especially when the backup -- Pablo Sandoval is a guy whohasnt caught a big league game since 2009.

Whiteside has familiarity with the staff and is on the40-man roster, so he was an automatic choice. In fact, Bochy said it made themove to DL Sanchez a bit easier because all the pitchers already know Whitesideand feel comfortable throwing to him.

Whiteside's commercial flight is scheduled to land a few minutes before the first pitch and the Giants expect him to be in uniform at some point during the game.

--
The tarp came off the field roughly 45 minutes before the first pitch and the field is being groomed, but there remain some pretty bright streaks across the sky. The radar shows that the rain should hold up for a few hours. As they say, we have a window.

Giants lineup: Span leading off vs Cubs after missing two games

Giants lineup: Span leading off vs Cubs after missing two games

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Giants-Cubs coverage begins at 4pm with Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming right here.

After missing the last two games with a sprained left thumb, Denard Span is back at the top of the Giants lineup Wednesday in Chicago.

San Francisco Giants:
1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Eduardo Nunez (R) LF
7. Christian Arroyo (R) 3B
8. Mac Williamson (R) RF
9. Matt Moore (L) P

Chicago Cubs:
1. Javier Baez (R) 2B
2. Albert Almora Jr. (R) CF
3. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
5. Ian Happ (S) LF
6. Jason Heyward (L) RF
7. Addison Russell (R) SS
8. Miguel Montero (L) C
9. Kyle Hendricks (R) P

Down on the Farm: Beede earns third win with River Cats on 24th birthday

beede-ball-ap.jpg
AP

Down on the Farm: Beede earns third win with River Cats on 24th birthday

Tyler Beede stepped on the hill at Raley Field in Sacramento on Tuesday night one year older and came away with one more win after the River Cats defeated the Memphis Redbirds, 6-2. 

Beede, now 24 years old, didn’t churn out his most impressive or dominant performance, but he limited hits and found a way to earn his third win of the year. On the night, he completed 5 1/3 innings pitched and only allowed four hits and two earned runs. He did, however, walk more batters (3) than strikeouts (2), which is his lowest strikeout total in a game this season. 

Those numbers shouldn’t be too surprising when looking at Beede’s trends this season on the mound. In his nine starts for the River Cats, he is walking slightly more batters than last year when he was in Double-A Richmond, and he’s significantly striking out less batters. Through 49 innings pitched, which leads the River Cats, Beede is issuing 3.31 walks per nine innings (3.24 BB/9 in 2016) while only striking out 5.88 batters per nine, compared to 8.25 K/9 last year. 

Instead, the Giants’ top pitching prospect is turning to ground balls, setting him up smarter for the future. After forcing seven groundouts to three flyouts on Tuesday, he is now rolling ground balls 56.5 percent of the time, an increase from 47.9 percent last season. 

Sacramento plays in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. All teams outside of the River Cats, who are last in the league with a team batting average of .238, are averaging just over five runs per game and almost one homer every game. Beede, isn’t letting the ball fly through air and has only allowed three homers off of him this season. This plays well for his and the Giants’ future. 

Whenever Beede finds his way to San Francisco, he doesn’t need to rely on his mid-90s fastball to get outs. The strikeouts will come, but life will be much easier watching a Gold Glove infield scoop up grounders for years to come. 

While Beede waits his turn to join the bigs, he’s showing maturity on the hill and stayed undefeated at home on a birthday night to remember. 

Around The Horn

— The Giants’ top power prospect, Chris Shaw, has been called up from Double-A Richmond to Triple-A Sacramento. Shaw, 23, played only first base in the minors before this season, but has transitioned to left field. He played 18 games at first and 18 games at left for the Flying Squirrels, registering no errors in the outfield. 

— Kelby Tomlinson is working in center field while with the River Cats. Insider Alex Pavlovic spoke to Bruce Bochy about the move

— Bryan Reynolds, the Giants’ top pick in 2016, finished a home run short of the cycle on Sunday. He went 5-for-6 with four RBI in the San Jose Giants’ win. On the season, Reynolds now has 14 multi-hit games in 38 games played. Here’s the breakdown: Six two-hit games, seven three-hit games and one five-hit game.