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The defending world champs have Jeff Francoeur starting in center field

Aug 7, 2013, 6:45 PM EDT

Jeff Francoeur Getty Images

Never has a team fallen so far, so rapidly.

Jeff Francoeur is making his third career start in center field as the Giants take on the Brewers in San Francisco tonight. His other two both came last year with the Royals, when he played 16 innings and somehow never had a ball hit his way. Or, at least, was never able to get in the way of all hit in his general direction.

Francoeur also played three innings in center field for the Braves in 2006, and he actually did handle a chance flawlessly, at least according to his career stats. Visual evidence of this phenomenon has long since disappeared.

What’s doubly amazing is that Francoeur is playing center field with a right-hander starting against the Giants tonight. Maybe one could justify getting his bat in there against a lefty, but Francoeur has typically been significantly worse against right-handers in his career. Just not this year, when he’s been equally abysmal against everyone (.560 OPS against righties, .565 OPS against lefties).

Alongside Francoeur tonight will be Roger Kieschnick in left and Hunter Pence in right. Kieschnick never played an inning of center field in the minors, which apparently ruled him out. Pence started 95 games in center for the Astros in 2007, but he’s played exclusively in right field since. He’d still be a better option than Francoeur in center, but at AT&T Park, many believe it’s harder to play right than center.

Francoeur is hitting .234/.250/.277 with no homers and four RBI in 47 at-bats since being called up by the Giants. He’s scored one run in 15 games.

  1. Kevin S. - Aug 7, 2013 at 7:05 PM

    Never, huh? Clearly you’ve expunged the ’98 Marlins from your memory.

    • granted42 - Aug 7, 2013 at 7:48 PM

      After the post-World Series sell off, the ’98 team was completely different than the ’97 team that won the Series. The 2013 Giants are almost the exact team that won the Series in 2012. I think Matt’s use of the word “Never” is completely accurate.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Aug 7, 2013 at 8:35 PM

        Ehhh, it’s all semantics. You have a point, but I would agree overall with Kevin.

        But yes, they fell for very different reasons, so to that end, the Giants have some solo infamy

      • jimeejohnson - Aug 8, 2013 at 9:47 PM

        Yankees up 3-0 to their #1 rival Red Sox only to lose 4 straight and the playoff series!

  2. scotttheskeptic - Aug 7, 2013 at 7:14 PM

    Careful Matt, you upset Craig with Frenchy-bashing.

  3. steelers88 - Aug 7, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    Didn’t the Giants do this 2 years ago? It’s like they either win the world series or they suck and miss the Playoffs entirely.

    • granted42 - Aug 7, 2013 at 7:43 PM

      In 2011, the Giants were in the playoff race until the last week or so. This year, they were out of it by the end of June.

  4. 13arod - Aug 7, 2013 at 8:01 PM

    Hes been doing good since the giants got him

  5. mrpinkca - Aug 7, 2013 at 8:20 PM

    Giants 2013: Suck a ton for Rodon.

  6. mississippimusicman - Aug 7, 2013 at 8:28 PM

    He’s been hitting really well lately… for a pitcher.

    • respectfortampabay - Aug 7, 2013 at 8:49 PM

      Yes, and sadly, I think the one stinkin run he scored this year was the other night against the Rays. Somehow, the Rays usually manage to allow one marginal player in most teams’ lineups to rake against them when their pitchers can shut down the rest of the team, usually resulting in a loss despite holding the other team’s stars in check. Late-season concern is about the Red Sox – Jonny Gomes (former Ray and great clubhouse guy) will probably do it to the Rays (again) if the season is on the line. As a Gomes fan, it was fun watching him punt his batting helmet after the walk-off… as a Rays fan, it sucked. Personally, I’d take him before Sam Fuld despite Sam’s speed and fielding talents.

  7. jimeejohnson - Aug 8, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    Northern California still blows away Southern California except for avocados, beaches, and car washes! Pie beats cake. Cannabis over alcohol.

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