LOS ANGELES — Since arriving in off-season trade from the Minnesota Twins, Lamonte Wade Jr. has been everything the Giants could have hoped for and more.
Wade had two home runs in .684 OPS and 113 plate appearances with Minnesota, but the versatile left-handed hitter has been greatly improved in San Francisco where he posted .867 OPS with nine home runs in 148 plate appearances is.
However, he has done it all without recording a single hit against a left-handed pitcher.
At 30 career plates against the Southpaws, Wade is 0-for-25 hitting two walks, three pitches and eight strikeouts.
He’s been a surprisingly valuable platoon bat for Gabe Kapler’s Giants this season, but with the club’s 1.0-game lead in the National League West on Wednesday, Wade has been given a new challenge. For the second time in as many days, he is in the starting lineup against a left-handed pitcher as he prepares to bat seventh and play left-field against Dodgers’ southpaw Julio Urias.
“I think he has got the opportunity to start this and the quality of his batting is really good,” said Kapler.
The decision to start Wade shows the Giants’ confidence in him, but it’s also a sign that Kapler doesn’t have many strong options in the outfield right now.
On Wednesday, with right-handed hitter Austin Slater starting in the center, Kapler chose to start Wade in left field over Alex Dickerson, who usually starts only against right wingers, and left-handed hits outfielders Steven Duggar and Mike fights Touchman.
Duggar was one of the Giants’ top performers in May and June, but he scored 6-for-42 in July with 13 strikeouts and no extra-base hits. Tauchman, who has been responsible for two home robberies and a dramatic Grand Slam this season, has had an even tougher time at the plate as he is 9-for-61 with 21 strikes since June 1.
After Touchman injured his knee on the warning track at Dodger Stadium on June 29, the Giants hoped that a rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento would allow Tauchman to gain confidence at the plate and get comfortable with some mechanical adjustments. . The hitting coaches told him to make up.
So far, adjustments have not yielded better results as she is 1-for-9 with four strikes in the second half.
“The one way we’ll be able to tell whether (Touchman) has made the move that he’s been able to take is to get consistent play time for him, but for any of those guys to be able to do that.” Really tough for us right now,” Kapler said. “I still think his batting practice session is looking better and his bats have been better since he came out of IL.”
If Duggar’s struggles continue, the Giants could substitute him for Triple-A Sacramento, where he’s found success over the years, returning from challenging stretches in the majors. The organization essentially couldn’t do the same with Tauchman, which was acquired through a trade with the Yankees in April.
In order for Touchman to move to the minors, the Giants would have to designate him for an assignment, giving other clubs a chance to potentially claim a waiver before Triple-A could go straight.
In the dugout at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday, Kapler insisted the Giants still have confidence in Touchman’s abilities and believes the outfielder has more confidence than when he was placed on the injured list in June. When it came time to write the lineup card, however, Kapler opted to make Touchman available off the bench.
Duggar and Tauchman currently offer more value with their gloves than their bats and with Wade unproven against left-handed pitchers, it is increasingly clear that in addition to a daily outfielder capable of hitting both the right and left of the club. Will get profit before July. 30 trade time frame.
It is possible that the eventual return of first baseman Brandon Belt from the injured list will ease some of the team’s issues as Wade and right-handed slugger Darin Roof can platoon in left field while Dickerson transitions to a part-time role. The counterargument, of course, is that it is difficult for the Giants to bet on the health of Belt’s knee, which has given him trouble throughout his career for the rest of the season.
The best possible scenario for the Giants is that within the next 10 days, the club has more clarity on when the belt can return, with Dickerson building up a solid night at the plate on Tuesday and either Duggar or Touchman at the plate. find a rhythm.
All this is unlikely to happen in such a short period of time, but with the Giants getting a positive development or two in the outfield, it could dampen the team’s desire to bring in outside help.