Manager Bruce Bochy Is Continually Handcuffing the Giants
At this point, there should be no need for Giants fans to debate over whether or not Bruce Bochy is a quality big league manager.
Simply said, he isn't one.
Why? Because quality managers put the eight most useful position players on the field day in and day out and place them in the ideal spots in the lineup.
But San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy has done neither in every single game of the season since his bosses acquired Pat Burrell off the free agent wire back in late May.
In the 22 games since Burrell's arrival to the 25-man roster, the Giants have played with their best available offensive and defensive lineup a grand total of zero times.
Now those of you reading this might be gawking at my opinion and thinking to yourselves "who is this kid and why does he think he knows more about baseball than a big league manager? I mean he's not a paid writer, he's barely an adult who writes for Bleacher Report free of compensation."
But please, anyone with that mindset needs to realize you don't have to be a professional to understand baseball.
It is widely agreed upon by writers here, and the "professional" news outlets that the best eight position players the Giants could put on the field are as follows:
LF: Pat Burrell
CF: Andres Torres
RF: Nate Schierholtz
3B: Pablo Sandoval
SS: Juan Uribe
2B: Freddy Sanchez
1B: Aubrey Huff
C: Buster Posey
As for the batting lineup, these eight players should be arranged (based on current production and hitting style) in the following order:
Now, if certain young stars like Sandoval and Posey were performing better at the plate, you could make the argument that they belong more so in the middle of the order.
Perhaps if Sandoval was building on his impressive marks from last year during 2010, hitting third or cleanup would be possible lineup spots.
Posey on the other hand has the talents of a three hitter or six hitter. When intelligent baseball minds discuss future offensive potential at the plate for Posey, they draw comparisons to Joe Mauer instead of, say, Justin Morneau.
But for the here and now, Sandoval and Posey belong lower in the lineup as Burrell, Uribe and Huff are carrying the load offensively.
The main point in all of this however, is that the aforementioned lineup gives San Francisco the best chance to win because it combines the maximum amount of offense they can put on the field with the maximum amount of defense on the field.
Baseball fans should understand that the likes of Aaron Rowand, Edgar Renteria, and Bengie Molina are finished as everyday big league starters.
While it is unfortunate that the three combine to make $25.5 million dollars this season, that doesn't mean they should be held without scrutiny.
Recently, Rowand has started to ride the pine more often than he has seen the field. But it is time for Molina and Renteria to join him.
Despite solid numbers at the plate this season, (an .829 OPS thus far) Renteria should ride the pine for numerous reasons.
1) He can't seem to stay healthy when starting and keeping him fresh as a bench player and pinch hitter will be crucial in the second half.
2) Uribe plays a better shortstop and has been San Francisco's most lethal offensive weapon this season. The only possible option of getting both players in the lineup would be moving Uribe to third and bench the slumping Sandoval.
3)However, Sandoval is too much of a threat to break out of his slump to bench him for any extended length of time, and Uribe plays a much sharper shortstop than he does third base. The Giants would be much better off defensively with Uribe at short and Sandoval at third. Plus, offensively its only a matter of time before Sandoval gets his bat going.
As for Bengie Molina, the Giants are in a position where it is only a matter of time before Posey takes over at catcher. Posey is the catcher of the future, and Molina is certainly in his last season as a Giant.
The argument that Molina catches a better game and is more familiar with the staff is a pointless notion to make because Posey will have to learn the staff at some point in the future. The sooner he gets used to catching the better the Giants will be in years to come.
Plus, any hiccups that come from Posey not calling as good of a game can be easily overcome with the fact that Posey is a much better all-around athlete. Posey can turn all those should be doubles that are Molina singles into actual doubles, and he has more range on pop ups, bunts, and has a stronger arm.
All those intangibles make Posey at catcher the ideal position both offensively and defensively.
Now since Posey has been playing elsewhere in the field recently, the player taking Molina's lineup spot would be right-fielder Nate Schierhotlz. Even though the 26-year-old outfielder has struggled at the plate in a reserve role in recent weeks, he brings more offensive punch than Molina and is an all-star caliber defender in the outfield.
Schierholtz owns one of the best arms in baseball in terms of both strength and accuracy. But, the only way a team like the Giants can take advantage of these skills is by playing him everyday.
Getting him into the lineup is imperative for his defense alone and since he will be hitting eighth, any offense from him is a merely a bonus. And as his past as showed, Schierholtz has the ability to get red hot with consistent playing time, so with him in the lineup, the Giants should at some point receive significant offensive production from eight hole.
Unfortunately, this lineup has yet to see the light of day. As mentioned previously, Bochy has not put this starting lineup on the field for a single game since Burrell's arrival.
And without putting this lineup on the field the Giants are instead playing Molina more often than they should, which then causes them to have play either Rowand (who has been awful all season) or to move Huff (who would be the second limited range outfielder on the field) to right-field.
But when the Giants move Huff to right field, they then have two "water buffaloes" (aka slow runners) in the outfield. And having both Burrell and Huff man the outfield corners is not an ideal formula for preventing runs.
Putting one of them out there for offensive reasons makes sense but placing both of them out there (when it can easily be avoided) makes absolutely zero sense.
Yet this defensive set up seems to happen more often than not, which is what frustrates the Orange & Black faithful. Lineup decisions from Bochy often decrease the Giants' chances at winning because they don't make any sense.
Just like it makes zero sense for Posey to bat cleanup, Molina to bat cleanup, Renteria to bat fifth, and Rowand to bat leadoff as has happened thus far this season.
So why does Bochy continue to manage the Giants, or even in the big leagues at all?
Your guess is as good as mine.
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