SAN FRANCISCO — There have only been nine left-on-left homers in the National League this season. Brandon Crawford has two of them, and he’s the only left-handed-hitting position player in the National League to have twice taken a lefty deep.
This is Year 2 of Crawford crushing lefties. What’s the secret?
“I wish I knew exactly what it was,” he said. “I’d try it against righties, too.”
Yes, Crawford is well aware of his strange splits. In 2013 he hit .199 against lefties but .269 against righties. Last year it was .320 against lefties and .213 against righties. The flip has continued this year, with Crawford hitting .333 against lefties and .204 against righties.
“I don’t know, it’s a lot of work against left-handers in BP,” he said. “I’m just staying up the middle.”
While Chip Hale inexplicably sent two left-handed relievers up to face Crawford last month (he doubled and homered), the Angels took a different approach. Hector Santiago seemed to know the splits, and he threw the kitchen sink at Crawford, giving him sliders, fastballs, curveballs and even the rare left-on-left changeup. Crawford had a single that extended the first Giants rally and then hit his fifth homer of the year.
He leads the team, and he’s halfway to his career-high of 10 homers. He’s also keeping some perspective.
“In 2013 I had five homers in April and hit four the rest of the year,” he said, smiling. “Hopefully that doesn’t happen again.”
At the very least, Crawford will wake up another day with bragging rights. Buster Posey hit his fourth later in the game, but still trails his good friend.
“He told me he didn’t want me to get too far ahead,” Crawford said.
--- Tim Hudson matched Madison Bumgarner (8 innings) for the longest outing by a Giants starter this season. He came three outs short of a complete game but said he knew that bid was over when he let the leadoff hitter get away.
“I’m not a guy who has been known for going complete games and pitching 250 innings,” he said. “But it is nice to know you can go out there and pitch that deep into a game. If you can give the bullpen a complete day off, that’s great, but I wasn’t expecting much from the old guy, to be honest with you.”
--- The Giants have 11 wins and eight of them have come in one-run games. Nobody in the Majors has more one-run wins. They're 8-3 overall in the tight ones.
"That's the type of ball we play," Hudson said. "Very rarely do we blow someone out or hopefully get blown out. We're used to playing tight ball games."
That's the way it's been for a few years. Hey, at least it always seems to help them when they get to the postseason.
--- Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols will go down as two of the best right-handed hitters ever. Sergio Romo has now gotten both looking at a fastball for a called third strike.
“It’s pretty cool,” he said. “It just so happened I got them in similar fashion. I’m known for one thing: my breaking ball … Yeah, today it worked.”