On improvements in Velez, Giants
SAN FRANCISCO — Anybody watching Eugenio Velez play would agree that he doesn’t look like the same guy who has been erratic, at best, in his previous Giants stints.
He’s waiting for a good pitch to hit, instead of swinging anxiously. He looks sure-handed defensively and is no longer an error waiting to happen, though he made a mistake Saturday night by not rushing from the outfield grass to charge Ryan Howard’s roller.
Manager Bruce Bochy has noticed a difference in Velez, who’s hitting .444 (12-for-27) since his recall from Triple-A Fresno.
“I think more than anything, he’s comfortable, and he’s got that sense of belonging that you need when you’re up here,” Bochy said. “It probably helped him to go down to [Triple-A] Fresno and get consistent playing time. He’s got loads of talent and we know it. He looks very relaxed and he’s laying off pitches that he swung at before.”
This Phillies-Giants series was a potential Division Series preview, but you’ll never get the Giants to discuss that sort of thing. They’re still striving to reach the postseason, obviously enough, so they won’t jump to conclusions.
Having established control in the National League East, the Phillies feel less restrained when it comes to addressing the subject of the postseason. Left-hander Cole Hamels, who yielded all of San Francisco’s runs in five-plus innings Sunday as the Giants won, 7-3, was at ease with looking toward October.
And he thinks the Giants have a good chance to be part of it.
“They definitely have the type of team that will go to the postseason, just for the fact that they have really strong pitchers,” Hamels said. “It will be interesting. … Definitely fun to watch what goes on.”
Hamels pondered the several long drives that the Phillies hit during the series and said, “If we play at our field, I think it will be different. I think if you saw where we hit balls, those are definitely out of our ballpark. The score could definitely be a little different.
“But then again, you know what? They can hit balls just as well as we can.”
— Chris Haft