SAN FRANCISCO -- Brandon Belt makes his first big-league start as a No. 3 hitter tonight against the Mets and their ace Matt Harvey. Belt is one of the few Giants who's hitting right now -- he's 18-for-55 (.327) over his last 17 games -- and Hunter Pence, bumped down to the No. 6 spot tonight, is hitless in his last 22 at-bats. So manager Bruce Bochy said it's an attempt to "tweak things a bit, do something to get this offense going."
Belt said he last hit third in the minors in 2011 and that "it'll be fun. ... It's definitely a challenge," he said. "I've got some good hitters behind me, so maybe I can get on base and let them drive me in."
Belt is also one of the few Giants with a previous look at Harvey, whom the Giants beat last season in his only start against them. Harvey has been a different pitcher in his second big-league season, though, with a 2.27 ERA in 18 starts and league-leading 141 strikeouts in 123 innings. His 7-2 record is a reflection of how little support the Mets have given him. He has six starts already this year where he allowed two or fewer runs and got a no-decision.
Harvey is a leading candidate to start the All-Star Game for the National League. Bochy said his performance tonight probably won't have much of a bearing on Bochy's decision (as the N.L. manager), though, as he already has a good idea of which way he's leaning. One plus for Harvey, aside from the numbers -- the game is at his home park, Citi Field in New York.
"He's a power arm, great changeup," Bochy said. "You get special arms that come around like this every so often and he's emerged as one of the best pitchers in the game."
Here's the full lineup the Giants will send out against Harvey:
And the Mets against Tim Lincecum:
* The Giants made a roster move today, placing Joaquin Arias on the disabled list with appendicitis and recalling Nick Noonan from Triple-A. Arias had an appendectomy last night.
* Lincecum is looking for his first win in more than a month, and the Mets may be a strong candidate with the second-lowest OPS in the N.L. Lincecum has also given up one run or fewer in each of his last five starts against New York, going 5-0 with a 0.79 ERA. But as has been the theme lately, he'll need some support.
-- Matt Kawahara