5/17/2013 9:39 P.M. ET
Giants' approach at the plate is paying dividends
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
DENVER -- So the Giants led the National League in hitting entering Friday with a .269 mark. This fact is not to be taken lightly.
Many outstanding hitters have performed for the Giants, but few helped them win team batting titles. Since 1932, the club has paced the NL in hitting exactly twice: 1962 (.278) and '93 (.276).
The Giants' efficiency largely represents a continuation of last year, when they recorded the league's second-lowest strikeout total and hit a Major League-high .296 with runners in scoring position after the All-Star break.
"The guys have bought into [the offensive philosophy] more and more now," hitting coach Hensley Meulens said.
Meulens, who divides his duties with Joe Lefebvre, reviewed the basics the Giants try to follow: shortening up one's swing with two strikes; getting a good pitch to hit (a time-honored approach); and trying to hit pitches on a line drive down. That way, the batter is more likely to put the ball in play. If he mishits it up, he'll pop up or lift a lazy fly ball.
Meulens reiterated that the arrival of individuals such as Marco Scutaro, who strives to avoid striking out, has pushed other Giants to adopt the increasingly team-wide approach.
Affeldt finds success at hitter-friendly Coors Field
DENVER -- Jeremy Affeldt has written a book, "To Stir a Movement," which not only provides autobiographical details but also explains his altruistic beliefs.
Maybe his next book ought to be a how-to compendium on pitching at Coors Field.
Among pitchers who have thrown at least 70 career innings at hitter-friendly Coors -- Affeldt has worked 70 1/3 -- he owns the lowest ERA, a 3.07 figure. He also ranks second in opponents' batting average at .228, less than .0005 behind Huston Street. Incidentally, Giants right-hander Matt Cain is third at .232.
Affeldt, who contributed two scoreless innings to the Giants' 8-6 victory Thursday, said that it's all about adjusting to the mile-high altitude, which tends to straighten pitches.
"You have to finish your pitches here," Affeldt said, citing the importance of releasing the ball with the end of the fingertips. "If you throw a sinker in most ballparks, it's still going to sink, even if it's not your best one. Here, if you don't finish it well, sometimes it almost cuts [across home plate] due to the air. You'll throw a good pitch and it comes right back to the middle. Now that outer half of home plate becomes the middle, and the outer third of home plate becomes the outer half. That's good hitting area."
Mistakes, Affeldt said, become magnified.
"It's more highlighted that you didn't throw a pitch right," he said.
Inducing ground balls becomes a paramount concern, he added. "If it gets hit in the air here, it really doesn't want to come down," Affeldt said. He observed that when he pitched home games during his 2006-07 Rockies tenure, "I thought 'down.' That's all I thought about."
Giants Minor League coach Torres dies at 61
DENVER -- The Giants issued a statement Friday saying that Victor Torres, a batting coach and instructor in the club's player development department, died Wednesday in Florida at age 61.
Torres spent five seasons between 2007 and last year as hitting coach for the Arizona Rookie League Giants. He also coached for one season, 2008, at the club's Double-A Connecticut affiliate. Torres had worked in professional baseball since 1994 and ran his own baseball academy in Puerto Rico and Florida from 1973-89.
"The San Francisco Giants are deeply saddened by the passing of our former minor league coach, Victor Torres," general manager Brian Sabean said in the statement. "Victor was a tremendous person who proved to be a great asset to the organization with his ability to communicate and mentor our young hitters. He will be deeply missed and our condolences go out to the Torres family for their tremendous loss."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.