SAN FRANCISCO -- It wasn’t long ago that Hunter Pence was Major League Baseball’s leading iron man. He started 331 consecutive games during a streak that ended late in 2014, and he played all but 23 defensive innings the last time the Giants had an even year.
A streak like that is impressive, but it’s also tough for a manager who thinks a lot about the optimal time to give a veteran a day off. After injuries wiped out most of Pence’s 2015 season manager Bruce Bochy vowed to be more diligent about giving his right fielder rest days, and he did so on Wednesday. Pence got just a pinch-hit at-bat, popping up in a 2-1 loss to the Diamondbacks.
“He knows this is the best thing to get the occasional day off,” Bochy said. “He goes so hard — not that they all don’t — but as you know, he’s so intense for nine innings.”
Bochy often used to joke that he wouldn’t dare put up a lineup card without Pence’s name on it, but he said "Full Throttle" didn’t fight it when Bochy told him Tuesday night that Wednesday would be an off day.
“I think that after he played in every game and had that streak, he admitted that the occasional day off would serve him well,” Bochy said.
A then-slumping Matt Duffy got a few early innings to clear his head Monday, Brandon Belt sat against a lefty Tuesday, and Denard Span got a breather last Friday. Brandon Crawford, Buster Posey and Joe Panik have nursed minor injuries.
That leaves an unlikely player as the only Giants regular who has started every game: Angel Pagan, who missed much of the last three seasons with injuries. Pagan drove in the only run Wednesday.
--- You could look at the box score and see Duffy's two doubles and think he's starting to come out of a funk, but the first one shows that he's already out of it. Duffy hit a high fly to deep right, getting the Duffy Double, if you will. Nobody hits that spot near the 309 sign more than he does, and the Padres even shifted him there during a spring training game. Anyway, that's the swing Duffy shows when he's right, and he had it all night Wednesday.
"Last night and tonight, it looked like he starting to get settled in," Bochy said. "That's what it's going to take, three or four guys getting hot and keeping it moving."
--- Madison Bumgarner is off to a slow start by his standards, but early on Wednesday he looked like his old self.
"I still don't feel I'm where I need to be, but it definitely was better for sure," Bumgarner said.
It tells you quite a bit about him that he's nowhere near his A-game and still has a 3.91 ERA.
--- If you missed it before the game, Posey is doing a very good thing for pediatric cancer patients. At the very least, watch the video at the top of that link. It's a side of Posey you never see. Also from yesterday, the latest on No. 55.
--- Zack Greinke is 8-0 with a 2.12 ERA in 11 career starts against the Giants. And to think, he was soooo close to signing with them in December.