WASHINGTON NATIONALS 6, SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS 4: BOX SCORE
In need of a prayer, the San Francisco Giants added a Christian.
As expected, the Giants recalled Justin Christian from Triple-A Fresno to fill the roster spot created by outfielder Melky Cabrera was suspended for the rest of the regular season.
It won’t excite any Giants fans, but GM Brian Sabean said available options through trade were “not too compelling or interesting.”
So it looks like Gregor Blanco will be the Giants’ starting left fielder for the immediate future, with Christian providing an option against left-handed pitchers.
Christian has hit .348 at Triple-A Fresno this season. But in his brief stint with the Giants, he’s produced a batting average that would only be impressive to Aubrey Huff. He hit .158 in 41 plate appearances before being sent down on Aug. 1.
When Dan Otero was also headed to Fresno, MoreSplashHits thought that perhaps the Giants would have enough good sense to call up another position player, returning to the 13 player/12 pitcher roster. Instead, they called up Eric Hacker from Fresno to serve as the long man in the bullpen, until either Brad Penny comes off the DL or Guillermo Mota returns from his suspension.
Manager Bruce Bochy went to a 13-pitcher roster a couple of weeks ago to lessen the strain on a bullpen that had begun to show signs of weakness, particularly in a 20-game-in-20-day stretch.
But now with the day off Thursday and another on Aug. 27 before rosters expand on Sept. 1, that seems to be less of an issue.
Also, with a lineup that included Cabrera, Angel Pagan, Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence, Bochy said he wouldn’t be doing much pinch-hitting or double switches.
Take Cabrera out of that mix and insert Blanco, and Bochy may want to have more flexibility in his lineup.
One potential option the Giants should consider to fill the Cabrera void is a lineup in which Posey plays first base, Hector Sanchez catches and Brandon Belt plays left field.
Posey played quite a few games at first this season as the Giants looked to keep his bat in the lineup and give him a bit of a break from catching.
But with Belt swinging a hot bat of late, would it not make sense to keep both Posey’s and Belt’s bat in the lineup?
Plus there would be less of a drop-off in offensive production from Cabrera’s .346 average with Sanchez’s .279 average than than Blanco’s .236.
But that’s not the only advantage. It keeps Posey in the lineup more, and keeps him fresh as the season grinds into its dog days.
While it’s true that Belt has not played a game in the outfield since spring training this season, he did play 31 games in left field last season and handled himself well enough.
The Giants could make this work by sending Hacker back to Fresno and calling on Eli Whiteside to serve as the No. 3 catcher.