SAN FRANCISCO — It’s tougher for an American League manager to adjust his lineup in a National League park than vice versa, Paul Molitor believes, because AL managers must subtract a player from their lineup, while NL managers get to add one.
With the way Robbie Grossman has been hitting lately — his on-base percentage in June is .419, and he’s slugging .458 this month — Molitor wanted to keep his “extra” outfielder in the lineup, particularly with a lefthander, Matt Moore, on the mound for the Giants. So that means Eddie Rosario is out of the lineup for a second straight game, and third time in four games.
“Rosey didn’t get a chance to play last night, but Robbie’s been playing really well,” Molitor said — and he includes Grossman’s defense as markedly improved, too. “I’ve been trying to find a way to get [Grossman] in there.”
That’s the concession a manager must make when the pitcher has to hit. “It’s challenging, yeah. You only do it a few times a year, and you have to try to find the right combination of playing good defense, like we’ve been doing, and still have a chance” to score runs,” Molitor said. “I’d like to get a good look at Kennys [Vargas] when I can, too, but it’s going to be tough in this series.”
Ervin Santana will bat ninth, which he said he looks forward to. He’s also trying to shake off last Saturday’s outing in Anaheim, when he lasted only four innings and allowed seven runs, both season worsts.
“Going back to last year’s All-Star break, there haven’t a lot of tough starts to bounce back from for him. But in Anaheim, it was a tough day in terms of him not being able to execute his pitches in the way we’ve become accustomed to,” Molitor said. “He’s had an extra day [of rest], so he should be pretty fresh. You just hope he comes out and is spotting that fastball. When he does that, it usually bodes well.”
There are some familiar faces at the top of the lineup for the Giants, with Denard Span and Eduardo Nunez facing their former teams.
Here are the lineups for the first game of three at AT&T Park, where attention is going to be divided for many fans between baseball and the NBA Finals. Could be a big party later tonight.