Giants Still Waiting for Hot Streaks From Lineup Mainstays to Come

SAN FRANCISCO -- When the Giants win a game with their bats -- it is rare, sure, but it happens -- Bruce Bochy often mentions that they strung good at-bats together and kept the line moving. 

That's a good way to put up runs, but it's difficult for even a good team to have most the lineup stay in sync for too long. For the Giants, it has been impossible. 

There's another way to production, though. Sometimes one player can get so hot that the rest of the lineup is pulled along. Think of Brandon Crawford hitting .412 last May, or Brandon Belt's occasional stretch of four homers in six games, or if you want to go way back, Buster Posey's scorching second half in 2012. 

One player can make a difference, which leads to another problem for the 2019 Giants. They haven't had anyone really get hot. You probably know this already, because the team entered play Saturday ranked 29th in the Majors with a .223 batting average and .656 OPS. 

But even bad teams can have one hitter absolutely take off for a month. The Giants really haven't had it happen, and for most of their regulars, any good vibes were limited to a week or so. 

Steven Duggar started the year as the leadoff hitter. His best stretch came in early May, when he hit .400 from May 1 to May 11, but he had just one extra-base hit. Evan Longoria's best stretch is an eight-game period in early June when he had a .971 OPS with one homer. Crawford has been unable to keep any momentum going. Tyler Austin had a homer in three straight games in late May but had just three hits in his next 26 at-bats. 

Kevin Pillar looked like a blockbuster acquisition when he walked into Oracle Park, hitting four homers and driving in 12 runs in six games. But he had just six total hits during the stretch and posted a .689 OPS the rest of the month. 

It has been a down season for Buster Posey, although for 17 games from April 19 to May 18, he hit .322 with 13 RBI and a .892 OPS. Joe Panik hit .333 with a .437 on-base percentage over a 19-game stretch. Brandon Belt had a .474 OBP over 18 games recently, with 13 runs and 10 RBI. 

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Those are hot streaks, to be sure, but not the kind that carries the rest of the lineup. There has been just one of those this season, and it illustrates in a way how deep the issues have been for the starting lineup. 

From May 6 to May 19, Pablo Sandoval hit .407, slugged 1.037 and mashed five homers and two doubles in 30 plate appearances. That's good for an OPS of 1.504, and Sandoval added seven runs and 10 RBI. But ... he started only six of those 11 games, doing much of his damage off the bench. 

Part of the beauty of baseball is the ability for a player -- just about any player -- to get absurdly hot for three or four weeks. For the 2019 Giants, it really hasn't happened yet. 

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