An aging veteran with a reputation as the consummate professional who finally wins a World Series and is rewarded with a two-year contract that many thought was overly generous. Aubrey Huff, right? Well, up until this week that was Marco Scutaro.
Last season Scutaro was nearly automatic in all the things expected from a batter in the two-hole, not just with the obvious base hits, but also productive outs to move a runner over (such as bunts), sacrifice flies to knock a run in and things of that nature. This season, Scutaro’s early struggles were marked by several strikeouts in key situations.
Last year, it seemed he almost never struck out, and even rarer was a strikeout looking. Against the Cardinals, Scutaro had a runner on third with no outs and took a very close pitch for strike three. His other backwards strikeout was leading off an inning.
Hold on for a moment, Scutaro has started to turn things around and appears to be emerging from his early slump. Like the rest of the team, he had a chance to get going against the Colorado Rockies dreadful pitching staff, and he took advantage of it. Scutaro went 6-for-13, scoring and knocking in runs for the first time this year. A momentary blip, or a sign the same Scutaro we saw during the stretch run and postseason is back?
I think that was a momentary blip.
It took Scutaro a few months to get going last year too, batting .257 in the first two months. Now at the tail end of his career, it may take Scutaro more time to get his body going. The Giants second baseman might also be showing his age. He had back troubles coming out of spring training, which might have contributed to his early batting woes and, as anybody who has ever dealt with back issues can tell you, they don’t always go completely away.
Scutaro earned himself a season-long pass for his heroics last season. However, if Scutaro doesn’t heat up like he did at the end of last season as the season progresses, the Giants have several solid options for the two-hole. Brandon Crawford has handled the bat well this year. Aside from his strikeouts, he executed well in the two-hole last year. Joaquin Arias also handles the bat well and gives professional at-bats.
Fans should stay patient with Scutaro and not expect his torrid pace to continue, because really, what he did last year was unsustainable over a full year. As the season winds down and the Giants are fighting for a playoff berth, Scutaro is likely to heat up.