Molina to stay at cleanup — for now

MIAMI — After collecting two hits against the New York Mets on May 17, Bengie Molina was batting .304. He entered Friday night’s series opener against the Florida Marlins hitting .247. During this slump, Molina remained in the cleanup spot in the Giants’ batting order.

This didn’t mean that manager Bruce Bochy was sitting idly by. Actually, Bochy said Friday, he considered moving Pablo Sandoval to the four-hole and even consulted Molina about it.

“Bochy’s the manager and [Brian] Sabean’s the general manager,” Molina said. “Whatever they want for this team, I don’t let that worry me.”

One can imagine that Sandoval’s two-run homer, which accounted for the sum total of the Giants’ offense in their 2-1 victory Friday over the Florida Marlins, might sway Bochy toward making a change. But Molina also stroked two singles, one of them preceding Sandoval’s homer.

Hence the slight but perceptible change in Bochy’s outlook regarding the cleanup spot …

Pregame: “We’ll see how it goes the next couple of days.” (Translation — a change is possible)

Postgame: “If I felt like [a change] would lighten the load on him … The way it went tonight, I’m going to leave it the way it is.” (Translation — Molina ain’t budging for the foreseeable future)

Meanwhile, Sandoval outdid himself with his wild hacking Friday. When he wasn’t homering, he was swinging more freely than usual — which takes a lot, in his case.

As Sandoval explained, he simply was trying to be himself: “Get my pitch, [be] the Pablo I am — aggressive at home plate. Get a pitch to hit a line drive. That [the home run] was the best swing I had in the game.”

— Chris Haft


What about Lewis in the two Hole!!!!!!! What was that?

It really doesn’t matter who bats cleanup. The Giants don’t have one, period. Majority are punch and judy types, no power to speak of. For a team that needs to get runners on or move runners along, they lack this fundamental skill. It’s a bunch of free swingers with no knowledge of the strike zone. Sandoval would be a better hitter if he was more selective. Pitchers are getting to know him and first pitches are rarely strikes, knowing that he will swing at anything. If he understands HIS strike zone, he will draw a few walks or even get a few good pitches to hit. As far as I can see, Giants are hitting pitches that the opposing pitchers want them to hit. A lot of times, hitters are down on the count, i.e. 0-2, 1-2, so they are at a disadvantage. This is due to swinging at first pitches instead of feeling out the pitcher. This is just one of many factors that reflects their inability to score runs. You can trade everybody on this team, except Lincecum and Cain, and nobody would shed a tear. There are no all-stars on this team, except Tim and Matt. Just average players who are overpaid. Sabean can put a similar team on the field by bringing up their best minor leaguers and save $$$$. Giants are rich in pitching, but lack so badly in hitting. When Ishikawa had a monster spring training, Sabean thought he found a diamond in the rough. That’s why he made no effort to trade for a power hitter, such as Crede, Cantu, Beltre. He went cheap when he should have gone expensive. He went expensive when he could have gone less expensive, i.e. Rowand, Renteria. Wait till 2012. The next couple of years will be the same.

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