MILWAUKEE – The Giants got beat up over the weekend in Philadelphia, where they have a famous statue of Rocky Balboa. Then they checked into their downtown hotel here, just a few blocks away from a less famous but no less delightful statue of Arthur Fonzarelli.
They will send Jeff Samardzija to the mound for the opener of a four-game series at Miller Park.
They’ll try to keep the Brewers from jumping the Shark.
(Your groans are understood and acknowledged. It’s been a long travel day.)
Fresh off losing a series to the team with baseball’s worst record, the Giants will take on the NL Central-leading Brewers in a four-game series that might be a bigger test for their pitchers than their hitters.
Make no mistake, the Brewers are pitching well. But the Giants always seem to find a way to put up runs at Miller Park. The tougher task will be for a staff that made far too many “terrible pitches” in Philadelphia, to use Bruce Bochy’s words, to execute better against a Brewers lineup that can hurt you in myriad ways.
At least the Giants won’t have to contend with third baseman Travis Shaw, the Brewers’ leading RBI man. He was placed on the paternity list and will miss the first three games of the series. (Shaw, you might remember, is the guy the Red Sox traded to open up third base for Pablo Sandoval. Oops.)
Hunter Pence is getting his first start since coming back from the disabled list. He’s hitting sixth because Bruce Bochy wanted to give him a chance to settle in a bit.
“We hope he’ll make us a little more consistent offensively,” Bochy said.
With Pence back, left field becomes a mishmash between rookies Orlando Calixte and Austin Slater. Bochy said he would look at matchups as he determines whom to start on a daily basis. He liked Calixte in the series opener against right-hander Junior Guerra.
“We’ll go with the hot guy — not that anybody is hot right now,” Bochy said.
Yep. Management is seeing what you are seeing.
At some point soon, Jarrett Parker will start a rehab assignment. Then you could see the deck get shuffled again. For now, whenever Slater does start a game in left field, he’ll become the 10th Giant to do so (and the 12th to play an inning at the position) this season. It’s the first week in June, by the way.