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How behind-the-scenes work with Bonds key to Chapman's turnaround

It appears Matt Chapman finally has figured things out.

Following a sluggish start to the 2024 MLB season — his first with the Giants — the All-Star third baseman has flipped the script on his campaign. Chapman has been on a tear as of late, something Giants hitting coach Pat Burrell largely credits to none other than San Francisco legend Barry Bonds.

“I’d like to say I have something to do with any of this stuff,” Burrell said Friday morning on KNBR’s “Murph & Markus.” “He’s worked a lot with Barry at home. He’s worked a lot with Justin Viele, the other hitting coach. They spend a lot of time together in the cage and found a way for him to get back on top of the fastball, especially away from him. If you’ve watched the last couple nights, he’s been able to really get on top of some high pitches out over the plate there. His top hand is really coming through nicely.

“I can’t say enough about how hard he’s worked. At home games, Barry’s there quite a bit and him and Chappy over the last couple of months have formed a pretty good relationship and I think he’s really helped him a lot. So I want to make sure I gave Barry some credit for that ’cause I know it’s due.”

Through May 15, the 31-year-old was batting just .205 but since then has gone 13-for-20 (.650), boosting his average to .249.

Chapman spoke to 95.7 The Game’s Bonta Hill and Joe Shasky on “The Morning Roast” about his early struggles and when asked if he was trying too hard, he instead attributed his start to a number of things.

“I’m sure it’s a little bit of everything,” Chapman said. “New division. New team. New teammates. I also think part of it was I was hitting the ball hard and not getting any luck. So I think that my numbers didn’t reflect how I was playing, to be honest, but I also think definitely that you want to come in and make an impact right away. You want to help be one of the guys to lead the charge.

“I’m no stranger to putting too much pressure on myself. But once you start to feel comfortable — and I’m starting to feel like I’m starting to play like myself — getting into the flow of things a little bit, get some more confidence and you kind of get to be yourself.”

Chapman now has gone deep in three consecutive games entering Friday’s contest against the New York Mets, and is slashing .565/.655/1.174 with three home runs, eight RBI, 11 runs and 13 hits over the last week. The Giants are 6-1 in that span.

Burrell understands the slumps come and go in a season for every hitter, but their focus right now is to try and keep Chapman’s hot streak going as long as possible.

“He’s a very physical, strong kid. So when he hits it, he’s going to hit it hard. And that’s fine. We want to encourage him to just have good at bats and be on time. When he gets a little out of sorts, he tends to expand and chase a little bit. And then you’re putting yourself behind the 8-ball. So the way he’s going right now, he’s just not missing. As a hitter, you go through ups and downs every season. And when it’s going good, you just want to ride it as long as possible.

“So we’re just doing everything we can to keep him with that feeling that he’s got. The goal for us is just to keep him doing what he’s doing.”

The momentum he picked up at the plate carried over into his glove on the field, making several big plays on both offense and defense in San Francisco’s most recent series win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.

And Chapman — and the Giants — surely hope the momentum flows into San Francisco’s three-game set against the Mets at Citi Field.

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