Matt Cain attempts a bunt. [Not pictured: successful bunt]
In baseball, we tend to focus on the big moments. Mammoth home runs, no-hitters and slick double plays dominate our Top 10 highlights every night. But the little things are what make champions, which is why Bruce Bochy needs to get some things fixed in a hurried.
First off, sacrifice bunts. The Giants' starting pitchers rank 11th in the National League in successfully executed sacrifice bunts. That's unacceptable. The bottom of the Giants batting order is lacking in power, but the potential for singles and walks is there. Batters like Brandon Crawford and Angel Pagan need to know that if they get to first, the pitching spot will buy them a base.
Another weak area is hitting with runners in scoring position. At the beginning of this past weekend's series against the Rockies, broadcaster Dave Flemming noted that the Giants were 1-for-39 with two outs and the bases loaded. That stat is so putrid it makes me want to wash my hands after typing it.
The problem with most of the batters is that they are swinging for the proverbial "five-run home run," which is to say, looking to slug their way into glory instead of sitting on something to bloop into shallow right. Baseball is a team game, and hitting approaches should reflect that.
Finally, we come to the errors. They've come in all shapes and sizes, from mental blunders to mismatched arms to the truly inexplicable. And they have to stop. The Giants are sitting on 81 errors, good for second worse in the majors.
There is no quick fix solution I can offer beyond the painfully simple, bordering on desperate advice that they just stop making them. Solidifying the defense gives the starting pitching leverage, which in turn lessens the pressure on the offense. Maybe you can't win a game from lack of errors, but you can certainly lose one from a surplus of them.
Should Bochy be able to get the small things sorted out, suddenly each game is much easier to win. San Francisco is much more of a threat. Throw a hot bat from Hunter Pence and a semi-decent Tim Lincecum in there, and baby, you got a stew going!