Matt Duffy and Joe Panik have returned to their post as table setters for heart-of-the-lineup guys at the two and three spots.
Duffy, after the Giants’ (9-10) 7-2 win over the Marlins (5-11) on Saturday night, said perhaps their role isn’t that simple:
“Offensively I think we’re all table setters for the pitchers right now.”
A San Francisco starting pitcher raked again Saturday night; this time Jake Peavy got a turn.
Bruce Bochy put Peavy back into the nine-hole tonight. And but for a brief moment, again, it looked like it might have been the wrong choice.
With a base open, one out down in the fifth, Jose Fernandez intentionally walked Gregor Blanco to get to Peavy. A mistake, clearly, for a coaching staff that witnessed the consequences of that decision just 24 hours earlier.
Peavy made them pay, pulling an inside fastball to left for a two-run RBI single to put the Giants up 4-1.
Bochy’s decision to put his pitcher in the eight or nine hole goes beyond juggling two leadoff hitters. The Giants pitchers, said Peavy, get special treatment:
“In batting practice we are not treated like pitchers…(Steve) Decker and Bam (Hensley Meulens) work with them… It’s almost Little League-ish at times, but they give us a game plan.”
Peavy said this is a trend he’s noticed throughout the National League, noting Cubs pitcher John Lackey’s improved presence at the plate. This series with the Marlins has so far proven that any Giants pitcher poses a threat if the coaching staff treats them like one.
Madison Bumgarner is batting .250 with a Kershaw homer under his belt. Samardzija has three RBI, and Johnny Cueto has worked a few key walks. Peavy is holding down a .600 batting average. He said semi-jokingly he hopes to keep up that pace:
“There were a couple years where I hit in the .200’s, so I’m going to try to eclipse that.”
His teammates get a kick out of this powerful pitching crew, said Duffy:
“We all kind of look at each other and kind of laugh with each other. Especially after an intentional walk which it has been for the last couple nights. It’s comical and it’s funny.”
Peavy, the pitcher, has returned to form after tough losses in Colorado and against Arizona. Said Bochy:
“His stuff was different tonight. He really stayed on top and had a good slider going, good depth to it, sinker, commanding everything. He did a good job battling getting through that six and going seven innings…We need both him and Cain to get us a little deeper in the game and he did it tonight.”
Tweaks he made to his breaking stuff, the type of contact his sinker forced, was a comforting sight for his infield, said Duffy:
“He was getting ground balls, soft contact all night which is really encouraging. He’s a guy that thrives not on strikeouts but soft contact.”
Peavy earned his second win of the season with a solid seven-inning outing in which he allowed just two runs on seven hits.
His offense helped him out quite a bit, too. Matt Duffy is in the three spot to stay, and the lineup looks calm and ready to produce. Bochy said the easy production from Joe Panik and Duffy make a load of difference:
“When we’re going well, those guys are good hitters at keeping it going. They don’t try to do too much and find ways to get base hits…They’re key for our success because they’re the top of the order as table setters. They create those chances for those big guys.”
Of course, Peavy wasn’t the only one capitalizing on a set table.
The Giants leapt on Fernandez straight away in the first with a one-out rally. Joe Panik cracked a two-strike single to left and Matt Duffy followed suit. Buster Posey racked Fernandez’s pitch count up a little with a nine-pitch RBI single to put the Giants up on the board. Belt added on with a sac fly to make it 2-0.
They rallied again in the seventh against Craig Breslow after Gregor Blanco notched a triple (he had two on the night) and Kelby Tomlinson took him home with an RBI single off the bench. Tomlinson advanced on a single from Denard Span and took off home thanks to a Panik RBI single. The Giants were up 6-2 by the seventh.
Peavy was into it:
“The way we win, who we are as a team, is how we won tonight.”