What Kevin Pillar Is Bringing to Upgrade Giants' Struggling Offense

SAN FRANCISCO -- There are some huge names in the Padres lineup. A $300 million man, a first baseman who was the face of a World Series champ four years ago, a top prospect with a father who also played in the big leagues. 

But the guy who has always killed the Giants, just absolutely killed, is Wil Myers.

During this three-game series, Padres people might have felt the same way about the Giants lineup. It wasn't Buster Posey or Brandon Belt or Evan Longoria who did the damage, it was Kevin Pillar, picked up last week after a career spent 3,000 miles away in a different league. 

Pillar hit two homers in three games and drove in nine of the 13 Giants runs. That is different. That's not the type of production we're used to seeing around here, especially from an outfielder, but it was the way Pillar got to those numbers that were really a fresh sight. 

Pillar's homer in the fourth inning Wednesday was a low screamer that looked like it could curl foul or smack the wall. Instead, it landed alongside an ambulance that's parked between left field and the player's lot every game. 

The ball left the yard at 109.5 mph, matching Pillar's three-run double off Joey Lucchesi a night earlier. He had a 110.1 mph single against the Rays last Friday, and that's a rarity for this current lineup. 

The Giants do not have another player who has cleared 108 mph in exit velocity this season. Yep, the new guy has the three hardest-hit balls of the season. 

With three at 109-plus already, Pillar is well on his way to exceeding last year's total with the Blue Jays. He hit seven balls that hard in 2018, more than any Giant. Three of those seven last year were hit 110 mph or above. The Giants had five of those from Hunter Pence and three from Mac Williamson, but Evan Longoria and Pablo Sandoval (one each) are the only holdovers who hit a ball 110 mph last season. 

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There are so many numbers in today's game, but boil it down to something simple: The new guy is just hitting the ball really hard, and that's led to production the Giants desperately needed. 

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