Austin Slater

Stubborn Slater proving to be one of MLB's best pinch hitters

Austin Slater's patient approach at the plate is a big reason why he is one of baseball's best pinch hitters.

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Austin Slater continues to prove his value to the Giants, and his approach at the plate is a big reason why he is one of the best pinch hitters in all of baseball.

After being no-hit through five innings on Wednesday night, Slater provided a spark that ignited the Giants' offense in a come-from-behind 5-4 win over the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.

With two runners on and nobody out in the top of the seventh inning, it was Slater who drove in the Giants' first run of the game. Slater then came to the plate one inning later and tied the game at four runs apiece with another base hit in the top of the eighth.

In speaking with NBC Sports Bay Area's Laura Britt and Sean Estes on "Giants Postgame Live," Slater explained his mindset coming off the bench against the Rockies.

"I kind of started my routine in the fifth (inning) of this game," Slater said. "I usually start in the fourth, but [Rockies starter Connor Seabold] was cruising there through five. You know the lefties are coming in, especially when we stack the lineup lefty-heavy like we did tonight. It's a mentality of always staying ready and kind of getting on the same page as [Gabe Kapler] and Kai [Correa] and just being ready."

Slater not only is one of the Giants' best pure hitters, but also his patience at the plate has earned him a reputation with Kapler and the coaching staff.

"Slater's just had great at-bats against both ... but he always works a really good at-bat," Kapler said. "He's pretty disciplined and at times I've used the word 'stubborn' and I love that word with respect to not swinging at balls and not chasing and he can get pretty stubborn at times in the strike zone. And then that buys him a pitch to hit and he's been doing damage on those."

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Slater primarily has been used off the bench in his six-plus seasons with the Giants, posting a career .258/.347/.486 slash line with an impressive career 106 OPS+.

After missing the start of the 2023 season due to elbow and hamstring injuries, Slater returned to the Giants' lineup on April 24 only to be placed on the injured list again on May 10 after re-aggravating his hamstring injury. Since his second return on May 29, he has been one of, if not the Giants' best hitters, boasting an extremely impressive .378/.425/.514 slash line in 16 games this season.

With the Giants' lineup fully healthy, Slater's impact should continue to be felt off the bench for a team that prides itself on pinch-hitting.

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