Programming note: D'backs-Giants coverage starts tonight at 6:30pm with Giants Pregame Live on CSN Plus (CHANNEL LISTINGS).
LOS ANGELES -- In the good times, and there have been many of them, Matt Duffy does his best to stay grounded. He sticks with the process, sticks with his up-the-middle approach, and looks for ways to get better. He's hoping that doing the same will help him come out of a wicked slump that's ruined the start of his second full season.
"I'm not searching," Duffy said. "I try to stay patient and calm and under control. Baseball has a way of humbling you. When you're in a slump like this, it's not easy, but you've got to make adjustments. That's kind of what you've got to remember, to stick to your process."
Duffy was 2-for-23 on this road trip and flew home with a .173 average. He has been a slow starter in the past, but the lights are brighter now that he's coming off a runner-up finish in the Rookie of the Year balloting. Manager Bruce Bochy said he'll give Duffy, the Iron Man in the National League, a day off soon. He sees a hitter trying to find his timing at the plate, but insisted that this won't last. "He's a good hitter," Duffy said.
Duffy sounded eager not for a day off, but for a shot at breaking this slump.
"I understand that things can turn around quickly," he said. "Something can click. I know what I'm capable of -- I'm not worried."
--- Bochy was adamant throughout spring training that Mac Williamson needed to be somewhere (Sacramento) where he would play every day, and he admitted Sunday that he doesn’t see a start in the big leagues over the next four or five games. Williamson has one at-bat in three games since being recalled.
“That could come into play here at some point, if he’s sitting too much,” Bochy said.
The Giants liked the idea of having Williamson’s power while facing left-handers Clayton Kershaw and Scott Kazmir, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if they decide to send him back to an everyday role sometime soon and bring up an infielder. Hak-Ju Lee could be an interesting name; he didn’t have a good spring, but coaches raved about the way he looked when he came back for the Bay Bridge Series, and he’s off to a nice start for the River Cats.
--- Denard Span didn’t quite let loose in spring training, and the Giants slow-played him through a hip rehab and two sore shoulders. On this road trip, though, Span has flashed the speed and explosiveness that made him such an intriguing offseason target.
“You’re seeing a healthy Span, who is going all out,” Bochy said, noting that Span needed time to get over last season’s hip surgery. “I think (the injuries) are behind him. He knows he’s 100 percent.”
--- After watching Josh Osich blow away Adrian Gonzalez in Saturday’s win, Bochy said, “it’s only going to get better with him.” Bochy said he expected Osich to start pitching in the seventh and eighth innings more often, and he turned to the lefty in a close game Sunday. Osich got three outs from two batters to get the Giants out of the seventh, and he easily set down Chase Utley and Corey Seager to start the eighth. Osich has a 2.57 ERA through two weeks.
--- Angel Pagan is off to great start hitting ninth, but the experiment has had a tough couple nights. Johnny Cueto twice came up to the plate with two runners on during Saturday's game and stranded all four. Jeff Samardzija came up with two on in the fourth Sunday and struck out. He had a runner on first in the seventh and bunted into an inning-ending double play. Bochy likes the new-look lineup, but this is worth tracking.
--- From last night, Samardzija talks about one pitch that cost the Giants in a 3-1 loss. All in all, the Giants had to be thrilled with what Samardzija did on this trip. He was peaking at 96 with his fastball for long stretches of both games, and the cutter is regularly 92-93.
"He's throwing the ball very well," catcher Buster Posey said. "I'm looking forward to more of that."
--- Here's the latest on Roberto Kelly, who got hit by a stray throw. (Yes, this seems to happen to Giants more often than others.)