Kruk & Kuip: Padres weren't biting at Zito's offerings
Brandon Belt is hitting .359 since Aug. 1 with eight doubles, three triples, five home runs and 14 RBI in 29 games. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
Ehire Adrianza hit .310 with a .409 on-base percentage in 45 Triple-A games this year. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
SAN DIEGO -- Buster Posey has 47 extra-base hits this season.
Brandon Belt has 49.
Although Posey was the deserving NL MVP last year, there’s no doubt that Belt has emerged as the Giants’ most valuable offensive player in the second half this season. He had another productive day Monday, collecting two of the Giants’ four hits and driving in their only run with a double in a 4-1 loss to the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.
[RECAP: Padres 4, Giants 1]
Belt is hitting .359 since Aug. 1 with eight doubles, three triples, five home runs and 14 RBI in 29 games.
He led the NL with 23 runs scored in August, too. Do we need to mention that the Giants aren’t one of the league’s offensive juggernauts this season?
The well-documented changes to his grip and stance have made a difference. But Belt also has a new spot in the batting order, and he’s thriving as the No. 3 hitter.
[RELATED: Belt gets a new grip]
He could become a career fixture at that spot, Giants manager Bruce Bochy agreed.
“Yeah, it could be,” the manager said. “He’s got a good eye at the plate, he gets his walks and he can run some. It could be a good spot for him.”
With Posey hitting behind him, of course.
Probably the most surprising of the Giants’ nine September call-ups is shortstop Ehire Adrianza, who will join the team in time for Wednesday’s game at San Diego.
[RELATED: Giants add surprise to list of September call-ups]
Adrianza is 24 but his glove probably could have played in the big leagues as a teenager.
And Brandon Crawford is looking forward to seeing that glove again.
“I kind of go back to instructional league, when he and I were two of the only shortstops there,” said Crawford, of the late Autumn crash course in Arizona when recent draftees work a few extra weeks with coaches. “I don’t know if it’s full circle or not, but we’re together again in the big leagues.”
Because they’re both shortstops, Crawford and Adrianza played at different levels almost exclusively. Crawford rehabbed a bit in 2011 at Single-A San Jose when Adrianza was there. Another year, he joined San Jose for the playoffs.
But back when he was first beginning his pro career, he was taking grounders alongside Adrianza and sizing up the competition. That never really stops, even if it takes on a different tone when you’re big league teammates.
“You want to see him do well, of course,” Crawford said. “There’s always that sense of competitive drive, though. You want to outperform everyone because you want to be the guy.”
Crawford remains “the guy.” His starting job is secure, and Bochy even mentioned that Adrianza might not get many opportunities in September. But the Venezuelan native earned the big league call-up with his strong second half.
A switch hitter, Adrianza struggled for a second consecutive year at Double-A Richmond and was hitting .240 when the Giants promoted him to get a change of scenery at midseason. He found the PCL more to his liking, and was hitting .312 with a .413 on-base percentage heading into Monday’s season finale for the Grizzlies. He was 6-for-13 with two triples over a three-game span entering Monday.
“He went to Triple-A, he did a good job and he’s a gifted defender,” Bochy said. “How much he’ll play, I can’t answer that. We get the chance to take a look at him. He and Johnny (Monell), these are two young kids who had a good year with the bat.”
See Monday's coverage for the full story on the September call-ups.