Should Michael Morse See Left Field in the NLCS?


Aug 23, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; San Francisco Giants left fielder

Michael Morse

(38) walks to the dugout after striking out against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Morse has been largely inactive since the end of August, but is set to return for the NLCS, which starts in just a few hours. While Morse has supplied some power for the Giants this season, it would be wise to keep him in a strict pinch-hitting role in this October series.

My argument stems from two former Rangers’ outfielders. This season, Josh Hamilton missed about a month before being inserted into the lineup for the playoffs. The once mighty slugger went 0-for-13, while driving in one in the three game ALDS. It’s safe to say that his timing simply wasn’t there after missing so much time.

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So why have him pinch hit at all? There is a chance that he can run in to a pitch and have a game-changing at-bat. Also, he could hit for the pitcher in a big spot, and Morse is certainly an upgrade over every pitcher besides Madison Bumgarner in the box.

Having him hit for the pitcher also preserves the bench. How? It is likely that Michael Morse wouldn’t see left field once he hit, unless Bruce Bochy was really in a pickle.

This brings me to the second former Ranger, Nelson Cruz. In 2011, Cruz cost Texas the World Series with his shoddy defense. Michael Morse is far from a gold glover, but can be decent at times. Yet, the playoffs are not the time to let it all ride when it comes to defense. Let it ride by giving Morse a shot, but take him out once that bullet is used.

Defense, pitching and timely hitting wins Championships, see: 2010, 2012.

Lastly, the team has been winning without Morse in the lineup. San Francisco is 4-1 this postseason, only bested by the Royals 5-0 streak. This team, and its familiar parts, know how to win in October.

While Morse has good career numbers against many of the Cardinal pitchers, he has missed a month. It would be unwise and unfair to expect him to produce at a high level on a consistent basis in the NLCS.

If the Giants are fortunate enough to make it to the World Series, however, his role could certainly change.