Bochy provides clues for how he’ll structure heart of Giants’ lineup

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.–With a left-hander slated to start for the Mariners Friday, Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy penned a lineup that could be nearly identical to the one he writes up on Opening Day at Dodger Stadium.

Bochy stacked the top of the order with right-handed hitters while dropping some of his left-handed regulars like Joe Panik and Brandon Crawford further down in the lineup, a clear sign the Giants will take different approaches depending on matchups.

Giants front-loading their lineup with righties today. Posey hitting cleanup.

— Kerry Crowley (@KO_Crowley) March 9, 2018

Before the Giants scratched third baseman Evan Longoria (left heel), the lineup featured new right fielder Andrew McCutchen in the third slot, Buster Posey in the cleanup spot and Longoria in the five hole. Bochy said he won’t commit to keeping that trio in those spots yet, but there’s a strong chance that regardless of who the Giants face, that trio will fill out the 3-4-5 spots in their regular lineup.

“We’ve had meetings about this lineup,” Bochy said. “Between what we see, what we think, even the analytics, we get information from them. They all have a nose for an RBI and they’ve been run-producers.”

Bochy’s lineup called for Austin Jackson to hit leadoff and start in center field, which is unsurprising considering the success Jackson has had in his career against left-handed pitchers. Last season, he hit over .350 against southpaws, and though he won’t play every day for San Francisco, Jackson figures to be a fixture when the Giants do face lefties.

Though left fielder Hunter Pence hit second Friday, it’s possible Joe Panik or Brandon Belt could slide up to that spot so Bochy can mix up handedness at the bottom of the lineup.

“You could break it up a little bit more if you left (Panik) in the one or two hole, so we’ll have to talk about that, too,” Bochy said.

When the Giants face righties, they’ll likely experiment with Panik as a leadoff hitter and Belt in the second spot.

Regardless of the matchup, though, Bochy sounds committed to using McCutchen, Posey and Longoria in the heart of his order, and he’s not opposed to the idea of having Posey serve as his primary cleanup hitter. Though Posey hasn’t reached the 20-home run threshold since 2014, the Giants think he could thrive as a run-producer even if he’s not hitting the ball out of the park …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports

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