April 11, 2011RATTO ARCHIVEGIANTS PAGE GIANTS VIDEO
Sunday, it was Mike Fontenots turn to be Andres Torres in a 6-1 Giants loss to the Cardinals. Monday, it was Miguel Tejadas in a 6-1 loss to the Dodgers.
RECAP: Giants can't solve Kershaw, Dodgers win 6-1
In other words, the answer to the question What will the Giants do until Torres returns to be the leadoff hitter? is now officially, Whatever comes to Bruce Bochys mind that day.With this addendum: After he frets about the other parts of his team.With the Giants poised to make a decision Tuesday on Torres possible shelving (if they arent sure hell be ready by the weekend, they will almost surely disable him retroactive to Sunday), Bochy has decided to do what he has done with the 5-6-7-8 spots in the order all last year and this:Put a name there and see if it sticks.
So far, it isnt. Then again, this isnt a microproblem that could immediately be solved by Torres health or an effective replacement. This is a macro-thing, as in, the Giants dont score in many ways at all from any part of the lineup.Again.Torres joined Cody Ross on the couch, squeezing Bochys hand in what was supposed to be one of the most populous parts of his ball team, the outfield. Ross is still a good two weeks and change away from returning in full form, and Torres makes it a problem.Add to that the indifferent results of Brandon Belt, Pat Burrell and Aubrey Huff, and you get a team with far more profound issues than the leadoff hitter, and the reason why, even with a 10-spot against the Dodgers in L.A., the Giants are barely averaging three runs a game.True, Torres was the least agreeable injury the Giants could endure this year, save Buster Posey, because they dont have another leadoff hitter. None whatsoever.They have people whom they could put there in a pinch, true. Nate Schierholtz filled in for Torres after his Achilles tendon strained itself Saturday and went for 3-for-3. Fontenot got Sundays assignment and went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Tejada went 1-for-4 Monday. And no runs have been scored by any of them, and only one, Schierholtz triple in his last at-bat Saturday, resulted in a runner in scoring position, making those four hits pretty much empty calories.Bochy shrugged his voice (trust us, he can do this) when asked what his longer term plan was, largely because he knows that until Torres comes back, he has no linear solution. He spoke of Aaron Rowand, and Mark DeRosa, and yes, even Belt as possibilities.Belt was the name that raised eyebrows, given his 35 career plate appearances, .161 batting average, .257 on-base percentage and one stolen base. Truthfully, he seems overwhelmed right now in the seven-spot; at the top of the order, he could be crushed.Plus, as the starting first baseman, he would probably be the first of his kind to lead off in, well, damned near forever. Wed look it up, but in the time it took to do so, Mark Buehrle could pitch both ends of a doubleheader against the As.Still . . .I think he could do it in a pinch, Bochy said. Hes got good plate discipline, he can get on base, and he could even run some.But it isnt that Bochy believes that Belt is that guy; he merely reaffirmed that Belt could be a guy, and not one he would choose if he actually had a choice. Not now to be sure, and maybe not for a very long time.In saying he would consider it, though, he reaffirmed the dilemma when you have one of something, it is by definition irreplaceable.And his absence also underscores one other fact about the 2010 and 2011 Giants their margin for error is prosciutto-thin. They are neither hitting nor fielding, which more than eradicates the pitching theyve received.As a result, they are what they were at this time last year an incomplete team relying more than is prudent upon a pitching staff that cannot live on the subsistence run support they have received. Andres Torres fixes some of that upon his return, but not all. Not by a long shot.