The San Francisco Giants hope to have first baseman Brandon Belt back in the lineup Tuesday when they begin a two-game interleague set against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas.
Belt has missed the past 11 games with a left oblique strain but is expected to be activated as soon as Tuesday.
His return will be a welcome boost for San Francisco, which has won seven of its past nine games.
The Giants’ infield depth received a blow over the weekend when third baseman Evan Longoria was placed on the 10-day injured list with a left shoulder strain.
Longoria is hitting .280 with nine homers for the surprising Giants, who lead the NL West by two games. Wilmer Flores, Jason Vosler and Thairo Estrada are expected to fill in until Longoria returns in four to six weeks.
“It’s going to be a major challenge to fill his shoes,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “I’m not sure we’re going to be able to have anybody step right in and do what he was doing. At the same time, we have to turn the page and get ready to compete.”
Texas dropped two of three against Tampa Bay over the weekend and has lost seven of its past eight series.
The Rangers’ offensive woes continued in a 7-1 loss on Sunday, when they went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left 11 runners on base.
“We gave away too many at-bats early in the game,” manager Chris Woodward said. “We had guys on base, we just did not come through. We’ve got to get better. I can point to some of their at-bats in critical moments where they fought off a certain pitch with two strikes, and we didn’t. And we have the personnel. We have to get better.”
Rangers starter Jordan Lyles (2-4, 5.75 ERA) received a no-decision last Wednesday after giving up three runs over five innings against Colorado.
The 30-year-old right-hander will be facing the Giants for the second time this season after allowing two runs over five frames in a 4-2 loss on May 11.
Lyles is 4-5 with a 5.31 ERA in 22 career games (10 starts) against San Francisco.
The Giants will turn to Alex Wood (5-3, 3.48), who is looking to bounce back after allowing seven runs over 3 2/3 innings in last Tuesday’s 8-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
The 30-year-old left-hander has lost his past three starts, giving up a total of 13 runs in 15 2/3 innings over that stretch.
Wood is 2-0 with a 0.86 ERA in three career starts versus Texas.
The Rangers have lost 11 of their past 12 games and could use a spark from second baseman Nick Solak, who is mired in a 9-for-61 slump over his past 17 games.
–Field Level Media
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