LOS ANGELES — Since arriving in an offseason trade from the Minnesota Twins, LaMonte Wade Jr. has been everything the Giants could have hoped for and more.
Wade had a .684 OPS and two home runs in 113 plate appearances with Minnesota, but the versatile left-handed hitter has been much improved in San Francisco where he’s posted a .867 OPS with nine home runs in 148 plate appearances.
He’s done it all, however, without recording a single hit against a left-handed pitcher.
In 30 career plate appearances against southpaws, Wade is 0-for-25 with two walks, three hit by pitches and eight strikeouts.
He’s been a surprisingly valuable platoon bat for Gabe Kapler’s Giants this season, but with the club clinging to a 1.0-game lead in the National League West on Wednesday, Wade has been given a new challenge. For the second time in as many days, he’s in the starting lineup against a left-handed pitcher as he’s set to bat seventh and play left field against Dodgers southpaw Julio Urías.
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“I think he’s earned the opportunity to have this start and his at-bat quality has been really good,” Kapler said.
The decision to start Wade is reflective of the Giants’ confidence in him, but it’s also a telling sign that Kapler doesn’t have many strong options in the outfield right now.
With right-handed hitter Austin Slater starting in center on Wednesday, Kapler chose to start Wade in left field over Alex Dickerson, who typically only starts against righties, and struggling left-handed hitting outfielders Steven Duggar and Mike Tauchman.
Duggar was one of the Giants’ top performers in May and June, but he’s 6-for-42 with 13 strikeouts and no extra-base hits in July. Tauchman, who is responsible for two home run robberies and a dramatic grand slam this season, has had an even tougher time at the plate as he’s 9-for-61 with 21 strikeouts since June 1.
After Tauchman injured his knee making a catch on the warning track at Dodger Stadium on June 29, the Giants were hopeful a rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento would allow Tauchman to regain confidence at the plate and grow comfortable with some of …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Sports
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