SAN FRANCISCO -- Manager Mike Matheny let it be known during Spring Training that he wouldn't hesitate to keep his batting order fluid. He's kept to that promise during this first week of the season.
With his third different lineup in four games, Matheny pushed Carlos Beltran up to the second place in the order Friday, a spot he started 40 games from in 2012. The move, Matheny said, was motivated by some "past success" that Beltran has had against lefty starter Barry Zito.
That move was complemented by bumping third baseman Matt Carpenter down to the No. 6 hole.
"All of our guys can fit anywhere in the lineup," Matheny said. "It's just a matter of them understanding their role. We want them to take their at-bats regardless of where they are in the batting order. The game should dictate how they take their at-bats. I think it's another topic that people make a lot more of than it really is. There's probably too much pride or insult given as to where you hit in the lineup."
Matheny could only hope that this lineup would have better success than the last one he sent out to face Zito, who flummoxed the Cardinals' offense in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series. Zito allowed only six hits in 7 2/3 scoreless innings in that outing, which sent the series back to San Francisco. It also marked the first of seven straight wins by the Giants en route to capturing a World Series title.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.