Slumping Giants can get younger, better

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Indications are that the Giants, losers of five in a row, are thinking about having Eric Hacker replace Todd Wellemeyer at the back of the rotation. It’d be another stopgap for a team that has generally given more weight to short-term solutions over long-term considerations during GM Brian Sabean’s time at the help.
Fortunately, the time is approaching at which those short-term needs and long-term goals will meet. Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey are looking ready for the majors, and it’s going to make sense to bring both to San Francisco next month.
Bumgarner, who essentially had a rotation spot to lose this spring, has regained his velocity over the last month and gone 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA in five May starts for Triple-A Fresno.
Posey has been hitting all season long, but only recently did the power start to come. He has four homers and seven doubles for Fresno this month, and he’s hitting .327/.422/.506 in 156 at-bats for the year.
There is one complication with both players. Since they were up last September, they already have a few weeks of service time. The Marlins can call up Mike Stanton on June 1 without any worries that he’ll be a super-two arbitration case after 2012. The Giants, though, would have to wait until around July 1 to be guaranteed that same protection with their two elite talents.
That might be too long, and the Giants probably won’t wait once they’re convinced the youngsters can help them win ballgames. Bumgarner, in particular, could make a big impact right away, given that the alternatives for the fifth spot in the rotation are less than stellar. The 27-year-old Hacker is 7-1 with a 2.20 ERA as Bumgarner’s rotationmate, but his fastball is below average and he major leaguers won’t be particularly vulnerable to his curve.
Inserting Posey into the mix would be more complicated. Bengie Molina got off to a great start, only to fall into an awful slump of late. He hasn’t had an extra-base hit since May 6 or an RBI since May 5.
The Giants, though, are happy with how Molina handles the pitching staff. And backup Eli Whiteside has done fine work in limited action, hitting .298/.340/.532 in 47 at-bats. The other position Posey can play, first base, is home to Aubrey Huff. Huff’s 800 OPS in unspectacular, but only part-timers Whiteside and Andres Torres have higher marks on the Giants.
Whether Posey gets the call in the next couple of weeks will probably be determined by how Molina bounces back. If Molina starts producing runs again, the Giants would rather have his experience behind the plate. Posey, though, is likely the second-best hitter in the organization at the moment, behind only Pablo Sandoval. He’d likely be an asset while catching two or three times a week and playing first base against lefties. The Giants have made the right move for his future in letting him catch regularly in Triple-A for two months, but it’s about time for a change.

Video: Christian Yelich belts league-best 20th home run of 2019

Christian Yelich
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It’s been a good week for multitalented Brewers slugger Christian Yelich, who showed off his beer chugging capabilities during a Bucks game on Thursday night, then returned to dominate the baseball sphere on Friday with his 20th home run of the season.

In the third inning, Yelich worked a full count against Phillies right-hander Jerad Eickoff, finally letting loose on a 91.1-m.p.h. fastball that dipped into the right field corner to help the Brewers snap a 2-2 tie:

According to MLB Stats, the 27-year-old outfielder reached the 20-homer threshold in the fewest number of team games since Josh Hamilton did it for the Rangers in 2012. Friday’s blast also marked the third such hit he’s recorded against the Phillies in the last two weeks alone, following two home runs off of Edgar García and Zach Eflin during the club’s last road trip.

Entering Friday’s opener, Yelich held a .325/.440/.732 batting line with 19 homers, nine stolen bases, and a 1.172 OPS through 191 plate appearances. While he was held out for the majority of the week’s games due to a mild case of back spasms, he appears to have made a full recovery.

The Brewers currently lead the Phillies 4-3 in the fourth.