Bob Melvin

Giants notes: Melvin doesn't anticipate changes to struggling lineup

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SAN FRANCISCO -- It has been a disappointing homestand for Giants hitters, but as they took the field Tuesday night, they led the majors in collective hard-hit percentage and ranked second in hard-hit outs. There are reasons to believe better days are coming at some point, but when he was asked about those statistics before the second game against the Washington Nationals, Bob Melvin grimaced. 

"It's a results-oriented business," he said. "You can hit them hard all you want, but you've got to hit them where they ain't. We haven't done that terribly well at this point."

A few hours later, Melvin stood at a podium and tried to make sense of another lifeless performance against the Nationals, who now have won six straight against the Giants, in large part because they seem to take the extra base whenever they want. 

The Giants are as station-to-station as any team in the big leagues -- they're the only one without a stolen base -- and they now have gone five straight games without a homer, their longest streak since 2018. A night after leaving seven runners on base, they left 11 on in a 5-3 loss.

The final three were particularly painful. The Giants loaded the bases against shaky Nationals closer Kyle Finnegan, but Michael Conforto bounced one back to the mound and Matt Chapman hit into a game-ending double play. For all of the attention paid to Mike Yastrzemski and the bottom of the order in recent days, the Giants had their four and five hitters up with the game on the line and didn't even come close to tying it. 

"We leave 11 on again, so that's been a theme for us, unfortunately," Melvin said. "We keep getting them on. We'll score them, but it's getting a little frustrating."

Melvin has resisted the urge to mix things up with his lineup, and the staff doesn't see moves that are as easy as those on social media might think. There have been calls for Luis Matos and Marco Luciano, but Matos is just 6-for-27 (.222) in a hitter-friendly Triple-A league. Luciano is off to a good offensive start, but there's no desire to displace Nick Ahmed, who currently leads all major leaguers in Outs Above Average. 

"I don't think we're at that point right now," Melvin said before the game when asked about changes. "We have a group of guys that we're going to run out there for a while. We're what, 11 games into it? I think that's kind of a small sample size as far as what our offense is going to look like."

Bring On The PFPs

It wasn't really a surprise to see just about the entire pitching staff gather near the mound on Tuesday afternoon for pitchers' fielding practice. A night earlier, Blake Snell lost a footrace to the bag and also ended up being part of a botched rundown. The Giants have been a bit sloppy in general, and this is a staff that wants to focus on fundamentals. 

Melvin said the timing was just a coincidence, though. Pitching coach Bryan Price likes his guys to go through PFPs during the season, and he schedules the drill for late in a homestand because it tends to beat up the grass around the mound. Tuesday's PFPs were already on the schedule before Monday's ugly loss, and Melvin was thrilled to see his pitchers work on their defense. 

"You do it every day during spring training and then it feels like never during the season, so it's something we're trying to stay on top of," Melvin said. 

Worth The Wait

After Snell lasted just three innings on Monday, Melvin had praise for rookie Kai-Wei Teng, who threw 3 1/3 relief innings to save the bullpen. It turns out the performance was a huge moment for the entire Teng family.

The right-hander's parents live in Taiwan, so they weren't able to get to San Diego in time for his big-league debut. Their flight back to Taiwan was Tuesday morning, and for most of the week that they were following the Giants, the long reliever wasn't needed. On the family's final night in San Francisco, Teng took the mound, pitching in front of his parents for the first time in 10 years.

"They were very nervous," he said Tuesday, smiling. 

The Giants have had more than a dozen players make their MLB debuts the last two seasons, but that certainly was the longest flight that any set of parents has made in recent years. It led to a proud moment Tuesday for parents who nervously waited about a week to watch their son pitch.

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