Brandon Crawford is out of the Giants’ lineup Wednesday after spraining his right index and middle fingers in the fourth inning of Tuesday’s game against San Diego. The shortstop was injured while sliding into second base, and was called out to add insult to injury. Joaquin Arias slid over from third and Nick Noonan entered the game, batting in Crawford’s No. 6 spot. Noonan reached base twice in a game the Giants went on to win 5-4.
Buster Posey gets a full day of rest Monday after playing in all nine games of the Giants’ recent road trip. The reigning MVP caught eight of those games, spending Saturday’s game at first base. Posey collected 15 hits on the trip, raising his 2013 batting line to .316/.390/.515. His .905 OPS is tops among MLB catchers and seventh among all position players in the National League. Hector Sanchez gets his fifth start of the season behind the dish and his first since April 18th.
Sanchez caught Zito in 24 of his 32 starts last year, becoming somewhat of a personal catcher for the lefty. Bochy looks to exploit this comfort tonight at AT&T, where Zito has a 1.94 ERA on the season. He is 4-1 in home starts, to go along with an 0-4 road record and 11.28 ERA away from San Francisco.
The Giants’ road woes continue. With two straight defeats in Pittsburgh, San Francisco is now 12-20 on the road and just 33-31 overall. To their great fortune there is no breakaway team in the NL West, with Arizona on top at 37-29. If the Giants called the NL Central home, they would be 8.5 games behind the world-beating Cardinals.
The Giants will face Pirates’ pitcher Charlie Morton, who is making his season debut. One year ago tomorrow, the 29-year-old had Tommy John surgery to repair his elbow.
Marco Scutaro remains out with a case of “mallet finger”, but is looking to return tomorrow for the Braves series. Updates to follow today and tomorrow.
With the right-handed Morton on the mound, Blanco and Crawford return to the top of the lineup. Belt, too, moves up, having hitÂ behindÂ Joaquin Arias just yesterday. I understand Bochy believes heavily in platoon splits, but in the long run extra at-bats for Belt are more useful than anything Joaquin Arias does at the plate.
Here’s the lineup vs. Charlie Morton (0-0, 0.00), with notes to follow: