Angel Pagan swung the bat like his feet were stuck in cured cement. He played tentative in center field when two bloopers landed in front of them.
And earlier Tuesday, the Giants curiously promoted an outfielder, Juan Perez, to replace long reliever David Huff despite having just spent their other long man, Yusmeiro Petit, for four innings. They were more concerned about covering their hobbling outfielders than covering innings.
I’m writing from afar and watching on TV with the rest of you, but it sure looks like Pagan’s sore right knee is affecting him. And I’d be very surprised if he’s in the lineup when the Giants and Rockies make a quick turnaround to play Wednesday afternoon’s series finale.
Pagan struck out three times, including a bail-out swing in the ninth to strand two runners in a 2-1 loss at Coors Field. They were 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position and 1 for 19 in two games here.
[INSTANT REPLAY: Bumgarner tosses complete game, but Giants lose]
And over their last five games, would you care to guess how many RBI singles, RBI doubles and RBI triples they’ve hit?
One. Pagan’s two-run single in San Diego.
Everyone knew how important Pagan was to the Giants in the leadoff spot. But he’s also been their best clutch hitter. After that single in San Diego, he was 8 for 20 with runners in scoring position.
If he’s not playing at full capacity, it’s going to make it even harder for the Giants to come out of these doldrums. They’re already operating with a patchwork operation at second base in place of Marco Scutaro, who was such a dynamic combo with Pagan when the Giants were blitzing their way to the World Series title in 2012. It was Pagan and Scutaro who sparked the offense time after time late that season, when the Giants ranked as the highest scoring road offense in the major leagues. They always seemed to score in the first inning, and it always seemed to set the tempo.
Scoring first is still a pretty big deal. The Giants are 8-1 when they beat their opponent to the scoreboard and 3-9 when they do not.
But they aren’t doing it very often these days. And without Scutaro, the Giants’ linep just isn’t as long as Bruce Bochy had hoped. Michael Morse was signed to be a No. 7 hitter. Instead, he was protecting Buster Posey by hitting cleanup Tuesday night. Rallies stalled at the bottom of the order when they got around to Joaquin Arias and Ehire Adrianza.
What have the Giants done at second base? Try a .510 OPS and a .175 average with no home runs and three RBIs. Among the 30 major league clubs, only the San Diego Padres are getting less offense from second base.
The good news is the Giants rotation, one big blip from Ryan Vogelsong aside, is proving firm enough to give the team a chance to rally. And even if the Giants can’t find anyone in uniform to drive in the tying run, at least they’re able to get it to the plate.