Throughout the entirety of the 2009 season for the Giants, there have been numerous "head scratching" decisions made by their manager, Bruce Bochy.
Continually not bunting runners over from second to third with nobody out and putting on the hit and run in precarious situations are just a couple of those head scratching decisions that come to mind.
For example, when the Giants were struggling at the plate in Philadelphia, Giants outfielder Eugenio Velez hit a lead-off double in the sixth inning. With the Giants down by the score of 2-1 at the time, conventional wisdom stated that you bunt the runner over to third. However, Bochy's lack of baseball sense came into play when he let Edgar Renteria (who is hitting just .250/.307/.328 on the season) swing away. Needless to say, Renteria failed to move Velez to third, and the Giants failed to score in the inning, and lost by a score of 2-1.
Furthermore, on a road trip in Houston, the Giants had runners on the corners with one out and the runner at first was Pablo Sandoval. With a 3-1 count to Ryan Garko (who has an excellent eye at the plate), Bruce Bochy called for a hit and run. The pitch ended up being a slider way off the outside corner and low (a pitch Garko wouldn't have swung at if the hit and run hadn't been on), Garko swung and missed, and Sandoval was out easily. On the next pitch, Garko popped up to shortstop to end the inning. Instead of having the bases loaded and one out, the Giants were back out on defense on the next pitch.
But rehashing examples from throughout the season is not the goal of this article. In fact, the two examples provided have already been beaten to death in my previous articles.
This time around, it is vital to focus on the most recent game in order to demonstrate to the casual Giants fan base why manager Bruce Bochy does not give the Giants the best chance to win.
Going into Tuesday's game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Giants still had a legitimate opportunity to make the postseason. After Monday's win, San Francisco was just four games behind the Colorado Rockies for the NL Wild Card.
If the Giants were to finally get on a significant roll (6+ game winning streak)—which they have yet to do this season—a postseason appearance would be feasible.
However, Bochy failed to give the Giants a chance to win by leaving the slumping Matt Cain in the game for much longer than necessary.
Although it may seem like Bochy couldn't have took him out much earlier as Cain only pitched 2 1/3 innings, the Giants starter was charged with seven earned runs in that span.
Cain, who was an all-star this season, has just one win in his last nine starts prior to Tuesday's game which includes an ERA of 4.04. Prior to those nine starts, Cain's season ERA was 2.12.
Clearly, Cain has not been pitching the way he was earlier in the season, and with the September call-ups giving added depth to the bullpen, Bochy should have yanked him when the game was still close.
Even though Cain failed to hold the Giants' 3-0 lead in the second inning, the Giants went back up ahead 4-3 in their half of the third. But in the bottom of the third, Cain let the first two hitters reach on loud base hits. And at that point in time, Cain had given up three runs and six hits since taking the mound in the second.
It was quite obvious that Cain just did not have his normal stuff on Tuesday, and after the first two hitters reached in the third, he should have been yanked. But once again, Bochy had yet to even call down to the bullpen after the second runner reached in the third.
The reason Bochy should have made a preemptive move (by taking Cain out before the game got away) is because at this point in the season, the Giants cannot afford to throw away a single game. With the bullpen stacked with extra help including phenom Madison Bumgarner and arguably the most feared pitcher of the last two decades (Randy Johnson) available, Bochy should have made a change while the one run lead was still intact.
Instead, Bochy pulled Cain with his team down 6-4 and brought a no-name rookie reliever into the game who wasn't able to record a single out and ended up allowing Cain's seventh earned run to score.
Not only does Bochy pull Cain out early, but he brings in rookie reliever Waldis Joaquin as his first reliever. The question to ask is where are the relievers that have been performing admirably all season? Joaquin first pitched in the big leagues back on August 4. Why doesn't Bochy bring in Brandon Medders, Sergio Romo or Bobby Howry?
At the point in the game where Cain was taken out, the Giants needed to have one of their top relievers in the game in order to calm things down. For the Giants to have any chance of winning at that point in time, they could ill-afford to give up any more runs. Yet, when the game was essentially on the line (even though it was just the third inning) Bochy threw out his most inexperienced reliever? Is he joking? Simply stated, bringing in Joaquin in that situation makes absolutely zero sense.
With poor managerial decisions continually being made, it is clear that Bochy does not deserve a contract extension. The Giants surprised baseball this year by being in contention due to improved talent on the roster, not because Bochy all of a sudden became Joe Torre or Tony La Russa.
If Bochy does return next season, then it will be evident that the "Giant way" (as coined by first-year owner Bill Neukom) will be referred to as the "wrong way" by the majority of Giants fans.
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