In a season increasingly about the future, the Giants’ lineup is clutching onto a piece of the past.
Buster Posey is not moving from the middle of the order, Bruce Bochy said Tuesday, despite the catcher’s batting average plunging to .239 and his power fading.
The Giants entered their matchup with the Rockies having scored 299 runs this season, good for 28th in baseball. Their .223 batting average was dead last — and not by a little (Toronto was 29th at .227).
They could use any little advantage they can engineer. But a bat that has lived in the middle of the order for the past decade will continue its residence.
“You look at a lineup, you’ve seen us tweak things. I think one constant is Buster will be somewhere in the 3, 4, 5 hole,” the manager said at Oracle Park. “You look at a guy that can do some different things. Buster is a guy you can hit and run with, a contact guy.”
A guy who, since returning from the injured list with a hamstring strain, has gone 5-of-32 with one walk and one extra-base hit (a double). In 184 at-bats this year, he’s hit three home runs.
Bochy knows the back of the baseball card does not support the lineup spot. But he’s not sure this lineup has a No. 3 or 4 hitter.
“Sure, you look at the numbers, ‘Why’s he hitting there?'” Bochy said, having penciled Posey in at No. 3. “Well, as a club, we’re not swinging the bat very well. Let’s be honest. We’re hitting like .220. It’s not like we have a lot of guys that fit that mold.
“His presence, I can guarantee you it’s still there when other teams go against us. Right now, he’s a guy we’re going to stay behind. Think it’s a matter of time before he gets on track.”
Bochy is in his final year as manager, presiding over a 33-44 team heading toward being trade-deadline sellers. Loyalty to a catcher with whom he’s won three World Series is understandable, if difficult to stomach for fans wanting to see a more powerful arrangement.
For his part, Bochy denied that bond plays into his decision-making.
“As far as what he’s done and our relationship, we have to do what’s right,” Bochy said. “Right now, the right thing for me is still hit him where he’s hitting.”