After back-to-back subpar offensive outings against the Minnesota Twins, the San Francisco Giants are shaking up their lineup for Sunday’s series finale.
But even though the Giants managed just two runs in the first two games of their series with the Twins, manager Bruce Bochy said the team’s struggles at the plate aren’t the reason he’s giving some of his regulars a day off.
“It was actually planned,” Bochy said. “I told (Brandon) Belt before yesterday’s game, before his home run that he would be off today. He’s played quite a few in a row. I told (Denard) Span, (Brandon) Crawford I just think with a lefty going, it’s a good day to get him off too. That’s to give these days two days off so we can freshen them up and get this thing going here.”
Aside from resting their starting first baseman, shortstop and center fielder, the Giants will give second baseman Joe Panik another day off as he recovers from a sprained thumb suffered in Thursday’s victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.
Panik is out of the lineup for the third straight day, but Bochy said Saturday that the Giants anticipate he’ll return to the lineup on Tuesday against Kansas City.
With both of their starting middle infielders out, the Giants will turn to utility man Kelby Tomlinson at shortstop and veteran Aaron Hill at second base. Tomlinson is 6-for-18 this season as a pinch-hitter and is making his sixth start of the year.
Additionally, with Span taking a day off, Bochy inserted Gorkys Hernandez into the eighth slot in the order following Hernandez’s three-hit game against the Brewers on Thursday.
“Tommy’s (Tomlinson) been needing a start and we’ll get Hernandez in there,” Bochy said. “He helped us win the game in Milwaukee in his start so we’ve got to keep these guys involved, it’s not about yesterday.”
A familiar face
After facing Twins’ right-handers Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios in the first two games of the series, San Francisco will match up against a pitcher making his Major League debut, Minnesota’s Nik Turley.
Turley has spent 10 seasons in the Minor Leagues, but has pitched well for the Twins’ AA and AAA affiliates this season and finally earned a long-awaited call-up.
The La Canada, California native spent the 2015 season in the Giants’ organization, and Bochy said he remembered Turley from watching him throw in Spring Training.
“A little bit, he was with us in Spring Training and he’s a big guy that looks like he’s found his control,” Bochy said. “Sometimes that happens with a taller guy, it takes a little bit longer. He’s well traveled and now it looks like he’s gotten on track with his command. You go back to someone like Randy Johnson, early in his career really didn’t know where the ball was going from what I heard and now this guy is throwing the ball very well. Good for him, he’s a great kid.”
The Giants’ Saturday starter Jeff Samardzija was asked about the path Turley has taken to the big leagues after his outing, and he said he admired the perseverance of a player who clearly paid his dues.
“It’s really impressive, resiliency in this game is a very important attribute,” Samardzija said. “I think as long as you know and have confidence in yourself that you have skills to do it and you just need the time and have the practice, a lot of times these guys go and play a handful of years in the Minor Leagues or Independent ball and something clicks and that’s why this game is such a great game. It just takes a little bit of confidence or a little adjustment here or there and you can see a guy’s career take off. You tip your hat to guys like that grind and work hard.”