Burrell's slump comes at bad time for Giants
After four strikeouts in Game 3, outfielder 0-for-9, eight K's in WS
ARLINGTON -- Pat Burrell didn't pull any punches on Saturday evening at Rangers Ballpark, just as he couldn't stop punching out in Game 3 of the World Series.The Giants' left fielder struck out four times in as many at-bats as the Rangers won, 4-2, to pull within 2-1 in the best-of-seven Series. His overall World Series numbers in three games: 0-for-9 with eight whiffs. "Well, it wasn't good, my night wasn't good," Burrell said in all candor. "That's not exactly how you draw it up when you get your pregame routine going. I've just picked a bad time to struggle. There's no way around it. I'm getting pitches to hit, but I'm just not doing anything with them. I'm chasing some balls off the plate." Burrell is batting .158 in 13 postseason games with 19 strikeouts, a homer and four RBIs. Three of the RBIs came on a three-run homer in Game 2 of a National League Division Series the Giants won in four games over the Braves. That means he has five hits and a single RBI in his other 38 playoff at-bats. Including the 2008 World Series, which his Phillies won in five games over the Rays, Burrell is now 1-for-23 with 13 strikeouts in the Fall Classic. He was 1-for-14 with five K's against the Rays.
"[That slump] was not like this, it was different," Burrell said. "If I had the answer I wouldn't be going through it. These things happen. I've been through this before. You've got to come in [Sunday] and have a positive mindset. You get some work in and try to figure out something you can take into the game."To that end, Burrell went right to the video equipment to analyze his at-bats when he was finished with the media. Hensley Meulens, the Giants' hitting coach, said Burrell will figure it out. "He's been up and down before," Meulens said. "He's a student of the game. He was already looking at the video to see what he can track. We'll come in [Sunday] and work on some things. It's not easy." But Giants manager Bruce Bochy wouldn't commit to having Burrell back in the lineup for Game 4. "I don't know. We'll talk about it when I get back [from the media conference]," Bochy said. "His timing's probably off a little bit, which happens. The big hits he's gotten are a huge reason why we're here. It was a tough night for him, and I sure hope he comes out of it. But he can handle it." Burrell was signed by the Giants on May 29, only 10 days after his release by the Rays. In his 96 regular-season games for the Giants, he hit 18 homers and knocked in 51 runs. The Giants made the playoffs on the last day of the season by defeating the Padres, so the argument can be made that they needed every one of those homers and RBIs to qualify. Burrell, then, wouldn't be happy if he was left out of Sunday's lineup, starting as usual in left field. "I'd be disappointed, of course," Burrell said. "Would I blame [Bochy]? Probably not. I'm not exactly swinging the bat very well. And this is a terribly important time for our team. I'll show up ready to play, and we'll see." Not known as a great defensive outfielder, Burrell was involved in two plays in left field in the first inning. Burrell laid out for a line drive hit in front of him by Michael Young, but the ball popped out as he rolled over, allowing Young to reach. But he then roamed into the corner to grab Vladimir Guerrero's drive, banging off the left-field wall near the corner, to end the inning. "I caught a ball down the line, but I also probably should have caught the first one," Burrell said. "That was a little tougher play. I'm supposed to make all the routine plays, and I'm supposed to be a presence at the plate. That's what I'm here for. But I didn't do that. "You've got to be accountable for what you do. Certainly, I didn't get the job done tonight. Not even close. That's the frustrating part of it."
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.