Programming note: Indians-Giants coverage starts tonight at 6:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area with Giants Pregame Live (Channel locations)
SAN FRANCISCO – The Giants hit six home runs Wednesday at Coors Field. Now they're opening a homestand by giving out a bobblehead honoring Duane Kuiper's lone career homer. They didn't have Coors Field in Duane's day.
Some notes as the skies clear here in China Basin:
Angel Pagan had an MRI exam on his right knee that showed a “small, chronic” tear, as Bruce Bochy described it.
But the Giants manager said it’s a preexisting injury and Pagan should be able to play through it. A bone bruise bothered Pagan more on Tuesday in Denver, when he couldn’t rotate when he swung the bat and looked obviously compromised in center field.
The knee has calmed down and Pagan is in the lineup Friday as the Giants begin a three-game interleague series with the Cleveland Indians.
[Giants lineup: Full complement behind Hudson]
Brandon Belt is back in the No.3 spot, which is where Bochy intends to hit him for the foreseeable future. And Bochy also said he intends to keep Michael Morse in the No.5 spot, where he’ll be tasked with protecting Buster Posey in the lineup.
Morse hit 900-plus feet of home runs in Wednesday’s 12-10 victory over the Rockies at Coors Field, which prevented the Giants from getting swept. Posey wasn’t in the lineup that day and could use something straight to hit; he’s in a 3 for 35 slump and is getting pitched tough.
Bochy hopes Morse will be the enforcer this lineup needs.
“I like the way he’s swinging the bat,” Bochy said. “He’s a presence in the lineup. It gives us not just protection for Buster but a guy who has a lot of experience hitting in the middle of the order.”
In theory, Pablo Sandoval should be able to draw on that experience as well. But he remains in the No. 6 spot as Bochy tries to take some pressure off him.
This is a stunning, stunning stat courtesy of Bill Arnold of Sports Features Group: Sandoval still does not have a hit with two strikes this season. It’s true. He’s 0 for 39 with 18 strikeouts and five walks.
The Giants are batting .145 as a team with two strikes. The league average is usually nearer to .185 or so.
Sandoval’s strength has been to swing early over his career, but his offseason work with Miguel Cabrera convinced him to be more patient. His career rate for swinging at the first pitch is 42.6 percent, but he’s done it just 22.5 percent this season. That’s even lower than the league average (26.7 percent).
Lastly, the Giants take a break from NL West opponents after opening the season with 22 games within the division. It’s also their first interleague series of the season and Bochy met with the staff and players to stress the importance of playing better against the AL. They were 6-14 in interleague play last year and played some of the most wretched baseball I’ve ever seen when they dropped two games in Toronto.
“It’s up to us to tweak some things,” said Bochy, who changed up some of the ways the players use scouting and advance work. “It’s not just interleague but other divisions. We haven’t played as well as we have to.”