SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants have a lot to figure out over the next week, but this is pretty cut and dry: They’ve scored 32 runs in their last four games, and those were all played at AT&T Park.
That means one of the stars of this run, catcher Andrew Susac, is in for an increased role.
“The more Andrew is playing, the more confidence he’s getting,” manager Bruce Bochy said after a 7-5 win over the Colorado Rockies.
That showed in the decisive rally, when the Rockies intentionally walked Buster Posey and then paid dearly as Susac scorched a ball past Gold Glover Nolan Arenado to give the Giants a lead. Susac may not play Sunday -- because he’s caught three times in the last four games and Posey always catches Madison Bumgarner -- but the Giants are lining their rookie up to be the main catcher on the next road trip.
The switch would mean everyday playing time at first base for Posey and a regular role in left field for Brandon Belt, who will fill in for the injured Nori Aoki.
“I see Andrew getting increased playing time,” Bochy said. “He’s earned that. We need some help offensively and he’s providing that.”
Susac has an eight-game hitting streak and two doubles, a triple and a homer in three starts at AT&T Park this week. When he showed up Saturday morning, the lineup board in the clubhouse mistakenly listed him in left field, which led to Susac pointing out that he has played some first base in the past. The Giants had him work there this spring, but Bochy said that’s not a realistic option while the team tries to get by without Aoki and Hunter Pence.
“He hasn't had enough work to do that,” Bochy said. “He’ll take some ground balls there and we’ll continue to give him work, but it just makes more sense to go the other way. What that’s going to do is it’s going to keep Buster fresh.”
Bochy hopes that the switch jolts the lineup but also saves Posey’s legs for the second half of the season. For this to fully work, Susac will need to do his homework. He has spent time getting to know Ryan Vogelsong’s tendencies in recent weeks and has caught two straight sharp starts by Vogelsong. Now, Susac may be tasked with reading the minds of veterans like Matt Cain, Jake Peavy and Bumgarner, too.
“It’s just getting confidence with guys right now,” he said. “I’ve got to learn these guys’ tendencies more. What is the risk and reward for their pitches? That comes with experience.”
He’ll get a crash course, but it sounds like he’ll enjoy it. Susac lit up when talking about Vogelsong shaking off some of his pitch selections.
“He shakes everybody,” Susac said, smiling. “When he shakes, I’m learning, and I don’t view it as a bad thing. It’s a constant learning process.”
Susac said his main concern is “staying confident and making sure I give (the starters) confidence.” That shouldn’t be too difficult given how much confidence the manager already has in this plan.
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