Monday, August 24, 2009

Bochy Must Go

Before tonight, I could have gone either way with Bochy. But this one hurts too much. Bochy should be replaced after this season, unless he can somehow pull the World Series championship out of his cap, but I don't think that is going to happen.

After that fiasco on Saturday, where Miller and Valdez just kept on giving up runs (if either one could have kept it close, the Giants could have come back), it was clear to me that neither one of them has the guts to pitch in high pressure situations like this, where we are fighting for a playoff spot. Or rather should not be put in that situation any more and verify that they don't have the guts. Not against the Rockies, at least.

And that's OK, not everyone can do this job. But now we should know not to use them, so we don't put them in such situations.

Only Bochy did put them in this game, after the way the bullpen held off Colorado and the offense finally came through in the top of the inning. I can understand the move a little bit, because they were the last pitchers in the bullpen. And he had already stretched out Wilson, Romo, and Medders.

Here's where the good managers don't care how the players feel and go for the win. He has to know when to forget about making the player feel good about himself, and you go for the jugular. I think he should have gone to a starter and ask him to suck one up for the team.

Now, had he really thought ahead, he would have kept Joe Martinez around, just in case, and had, say, Cain run the bases for Garko instead. But he didn't.

So that left Cain and Sanchez on the bench other than Miller and Valdez. With Cain to pitch tomorrow, plus he is one of our aces, you don't want to lose him taking a start, so I would have gone with Sanchez, who is two days away from his next start.

It is not ideal, but I would have rather gone with him, particularly since he has relieved before and is 3 days after his last start, 2 days before his next. Then you could push him back one day and move up Martinez, or even call up Pucetas when you put Freddy Sanchez on the DL (as it appears he will be put there) and just push Sanchez out.

After all, what is more important, saving this game after the comeback the offense just did, or trying to beat a bad team like Arizona? I would have put Sanchez in and forget about Miller's or Valdez's feelings, instead of putting them in and hoping they don't screw it up again.

Anything is better than to bring out Miller or Valdez out there. Valdez I can forgive more, he is young and inexperienced, but Miller is older and more experienced, he is what he is, and if he couldn't do it Saturday, he wasn't going to do it today. So Bochy should have at least went with Valdez first instead of Miller. Another mistake.

And it's nothing against Miller. But if he is not capable, he is not capable. Not everyone has the fortitude to put up with that type of pressure in relief. He is still valuable, keeping things close in a losing situation on a regular basis, he is good in that situation. Just not in this situation.

But Bochy put him in there.

I was on the fence about him previously, as I liked the way he handled the pitching staff previously, as well as the position players - you can only go with what you got - but this series, this game, was just too much to take.

I know that I'm being emotional, but I just had to vent. But I don't think that I will change my mind in the morning, nor will I change my mind should we make the playoffs. This was our little microcosm of playoff pressure managing and I give him a big failure on that, a big fat F.

The pitching had delivered up to that point, and the hitters finally delivered a big lead. You can not lose the game like that, not after such a comeback by the offense. You cannot put your faith and hopes in a pitcher who melted under the pressure on Saturday. And if you are, you pick the one who didn't do as badly, which would have been Valdez. But most of all, you go for the jugular, you bring in one of your starters to finish the game, you bring in Sanchez.

17 comments:

  1. absolutely spot on: bochy has to go. who doesn't play for the one-run lead in the 9th inning?! he had a total brain freeze tonight.

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  2. Bochy wasn't the right guy when they hired him. He's a veteran kind of guy and this is a young team.

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  3. It's only 3 letters bacci40, or are you an idiot too? And I also warned about language, I'm getting tired of warning you.

    bacci40:

    this game should never have gotten to the 14th

    only an idiot doesnt bunt after a leadoff double in the 9th

    and that is what bochy is....an idiot who has been using the same f-ing playbook for 20 years...it is not a brain freeze...one must have a brain to freeze

    i knew he wasnt going to bunt...he never bunts...unless it is absurd...like having your closer bunt with your ace on first

    oh, ocgf....what about sabean??? there is a reason that this team is short position players...the f-ing second baseman traded for...cant f-ing play

    both these idiots need to be out on their [butts] on oct 2

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  4. Yup, the 9th and the 14th were brutal. I couldn't believe Rowand's 3 pitch K in the 9th. There isn't a guy on the Giants who is truly worthy of the Bonds/Pujols "he should never be giving up outs" label, but Rowand isn't even in the argument.

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  5. The Rowand non-bunt was completely inexcusable. And yet, in some crazy way, I knew that there was no way that Bochy was going to call for the bunt. I've come to expect the worst from him.

    In a 1-1 game, the bunt was the play.....period. Nothing else should've been considered. That was grounds for firing right there.......as if they needed some other excuse.

    OGC, glad to see you're finally coming around to my way of thinking. It's just a matter of time before you begin to sour on Sabean. Trust me.

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  6. Yeah bacci40, and I guess it was Sabean's fault that Sandoval had to leave the game early, forcing the use of Uribe at 3B and reducing the bench by one.

    If it was Sanchez's knee, then it would make some sense to blame Sabean, but Sanchez hurt his shoulder taking swings, which was fine before the trade, and yet you blame Sabean for that.

    That would be as disconnected with reality as blaming Sabean for signing Durham when he had a career long history of health.

    I'm still not happy about the trade for Sanchez, and the lack of usage doesn't help, but at least be logical about why you don't like something or someone. People who attack with illogic just undermines their argument and position and, well, make themselves look like an idiot, which, of course, is totally ironic.

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  7. Up to now, Matt, I actually liked Bochy's use of young players for the most part. I didn't assume anything when he came on, as I heard the rumors too, but observed to see if people's impressions were correct or not.

    I can see why people said what they said, but for me, overall, I thought he used prospects as appropriate most of the time (except for Frandsen). He gave them chances to play, and once he committed to giving the prospect a chance, he did follow through and played that young player, giving him a long try out with regular starts and play. That is all a prospect can really ask for, to me.

    He also sat them down when there is a tough starting pitcher on the mound and brought in the vet to face that, which helps with the young guy's confidence. That's good for development of young position players. Earl Weaver used to do that with young pitchers, he would slowly bring them along, putting them in situations where they can succeed, letting the vets take the tougher situations. That's good for rebuilding.

    So people say he goes with vets, but from the way I see, he's gone with young players all through most the pitching staff, and they were willing to dump vets with contracts, like Morris, Ortiz, and Kline, in order to open up spots for young pitchers to get their chance or keep the position they earned.

    It is not like the roster is made of two parts, position players and pitchers, where you can accuse him of using vets with position players but ignore his usage of young pitchers. He has brought along a lot of young pitchers so far and done a good job there.

    I couldn't articulate this last night, but after a while, I realized that the Giants should not be (and are not) looking to rebuild anymore after this season. We should be competing for the playoffs starting in 2010 and beyond.

    So we will need a manager who is going to lead us to a World Series championship or at least give us our best chance to do that.

    After this series with the Rockies, I don't think that Bochy is the man to do that.

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  8. And I'll admit that I don't know who is. As much as I hate to say it, but Tracey looks like he might be one but he's taken.

    Internally, I would have to say that Steve Decker should be given strong consideration given his success managing in the minors.

    He is continuing it this season, the Defenders are 74-53, leading the Eastern League Northern Division by 8 games, looking like they will coast in for the playoffs. He has been winning division titles as he has risen up the minor leagues.

    And he's not doing it with any really strong hitter. 1B Brett Pill is the top HR guy with 15 in 471 AB, not really that outstanding. And 2B Brock Bond leads the team with a .340 BA and .849 OPS, which is good for the league, but not really that good when viewed by major league talent.

    Of course, he benefited from getting Bumgarner and (sniff) Alderson mid-season (16-2 together), but there has not been anyone doing really that well the whole season. Henry Sosa has been doing well but his strikeout total is shockingly low, which don't bode well for the majors. Even Bumgarner has suffered from lack of strikeouts too at his level. Clearly, it was the addition of these three to his roster mid-season that made the big change.

    But still, this team had Matt Cain at one point long ago and that team didn't contend for anything. It was not until this season that they won, particularly impressive given the lack of talent among the position players, not one top prospect in the bunch.

    It fact, it is littered with prospects who have fizzled out, Brian Bocock, Adam Witter, Andy D'Alessio, Antoan Richardson, David Maroul, Sharlon Schoop, Mike Mooney, EME. It also has a rising prospect in Brandon Crawford, who appears to have stalled here (as many other prospects have). He is hitting much better on the road, but still not that good overall and he hits way too many groundballs.

    Among fizzled pitchers, there is Jesse English, Dan Griffin, Jesse Foppert, Nick Pereira. But there have been a number who have done well: Ben Snyder (converted to relieving, doing well), Joe Paterson (co-closer), Matt Yourkin, Waldis Joaquin, Dan Otero (closer).

    I think he's a good choice for us if they do decide not to go with Bochy, as he knows the talent we have in the minors over the past few years more than anyone else, and he's been doing it, winning titles, without a lot of top level talent on his teams.

    Then again, of course, there is Ron Wotus, our current bench coach, who was like Decker, winning division titles that he had no right winning when the talent level wasn't that good, back about 10 years ago in the minors.

    And he knows the talent at the major league level as well as anyone. He would also be a good choice internally.

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  9. Boof, I don't think I will.

    I've been pretty steady with my admiration of what Sabean has done as our GM.

    Bochy however, I've never been that big a supporter or detractor, I've just been of the opinion that he wasn't hurting the team so I had no problem keeping him around and there were some things I liked about him, though not enough to give him even a partial vote of confidence.

    I liked what he did this season and I was leaning towards keeping him because of it, but I knew there was still a lot of season to go yet and there would be critical games late. Before, I could have went either way, but after this series, I don't think that he's up for the challenge, we need a fresh start with a new manager in 2010.

    See my comments on both at questions 5 and 6 of this post: http://obsessivegiantscompulsive.blogspot.com/2009/04/giants-big-6-question-for-2009.html

    As I noted there, Sabean needs to figure out who is the right manager to lead the Giants 2010 and beyond, this is a critical period. That is the litmus test on whether he should be given another extension beyond 2011, I believe.

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  10. This has been my knock on Bochy all year. He mismanages our staff greatly. He has stolen at lest 3-5 games from Zito by not knowing when he was clearly gassed. He has taken 1-2 wins from timmy and cain each for the same reasons. He continues to trot Howry out in big spots when it's clear he can't handle the spotlight.

    Also, I'm not sure why it took so long for Velez and Schierholtz to be starting when they were clearly outperforming Winn and Lewis. Given his slow defense I would also hope to bench Renteria for Uribe who can play just as sloppy of a SS while hitting 20 points higher for average.

    Bochy did his part in watching the flock and absorbing lots of losses, but it's now time to hire someone who truely understands how to actively manage a team and win games and keep up a morale.

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  11. Thanks for your comment Kevin.

    I was OK with Bochy going long with our pitchers. They aren't going to develop unless you put them in such situations and this year was suppose to be about learning and development.

    Zito, on the other hand, I agree to a degree, I had forgotten about those, but given the new Zito, I can see the case being made to try him out and see if he can handle it with his new stuff.

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  12. I disagree about Velez. Velez did not outperform, he sucked totally earlier this season. And his AAA numbers were not that impressive either, at least not enough to bring him up. But with Schierholtz injured, they brought him up (if I remember the sequence right). But they caught lightening in a bottle and rode his hot streak, and he's hoping to ignite another hot streak again. We're going to need every little contribution.

    In Schierholtz's case, once Lewis was put down, Nate did start basically full time with his hot streak until he had his injury and had to go on the DL. Since his return, there has been 12 games and he has started 9 of them.

    But it was not like Schierholtz really deserved the opportunity with his play this season: when he was finally starting almost every game on June 11, he was hitting .239/257/.328/.586 overall and he had a .175/.190/.225/.415 May in 40 AB/42 PA.

    And when do you sit Lewis? He was still hitting .276/.376/.423/.799 overall at the end of May, but, continuing a slide since April 19, he slid all the way down to .256/.346/.389/.735 on June 11, his last start with any regularity. From April 19 to June 11, he hit .214/.292/.345/.637, and the Giants decided to give Nate a chance since Lewis was stuck in a bad gear. But it wasn't like Schierholtz was burning up at the plate either pushing Lewis, the Giants just decided that they had enough.

    And when in June do you drop Lewis? He had hits in 3 of the first 4 games he played in June. They made the switch to Schierholtz right about the right time, he had two months and no light at the tunnel, so they gave the understudy a shot and Schierholtz has basically started ever since, except for his DL stint.

    I think Lewis's collapse was what kept Winn in the lineup. Vets simply are more reliable than rookies and young players. Ask anyone who follows Andy Marte or Andy LaRoche about that. Or even Francoeur or Kouzmanoff. It is all relative, as unreliable as you think vets might be, young players are even more so.

    Had Lewis been hitting OK, Schierholtz would have taken RF with Winn's struggles. Lewis scuffling, they did bring up Bowker but then he struggled too. So did Guzman. If Bowker had hit like he did in AAA, or like Velez has hit once he came back, Winn would have been sitting, I'm sure of it.

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  13. I think Bochy can actively manage a team and win games when he has the talent - he still has the 5th best record in the NL. He has also done a good job keeping up morale, I think, there were many situations this season where the team could have given up, but continued to battle and has kept themselves relevant in the playoff scheme of things.

    But I'm thinking long term, I'm thinking when we make the playoffs, and I just don't think he has what it takes to manage in tight situations like the playoffs. Which was my conclusion about Baker when the 2002 World Series ended, I was happy he was gone, hopeful that Felipe could do the job. Too bad he didn't bring along Tracey as his bench coach instead of his guy from Detroit.

    FYI, Renteria is hitting .261, Uribe .269, and his OBP is better, .316 vs. .300. However, Uribe has hit for a lot more power - Renteria's bone spur apparently prevents him from hitting with power much, he noted after his homer that he wasn't feeling the pain as much lately.

    And it shows: in the last two weeks, Aug 10-24, he has hit .364/.404/.500/.904, and been a good factor in the back of the lineup, acting as the leadoff batter for the top of the order.

    Uribe has hit .194/.237/.328/.565 from July 22 to today, with 20 K in 67 AB. I think those are pretty good reasons why Renteria is playing and Uribe isn't right now.

    I will give Bochy that, he gives hitters some rope to do something with it, and he swaps around to try to give some opportunity to all the players on the bench when the regulars are scuffling.

    I just don't think he can handle pressure playoff situations well.

    He should have been thinking out of the box, about what to do if they go deep into extra innings. He did at least keep Romo, Wilson, and Medders out there long, at least, but I think he had to go to Sanchez and get him throwing in the 14th, no way you depend on Miller and Valdez after the way they blew up Saturday's game, which we could have won had they not given up so many runs.

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  14. Especially not after we came back and scored 3 runs in the top of the inning.

    Miller and Valdez would just have to suck it up, we should have been going for the jugular there.

    There were a lot of options should Sanchez be brought in to pitch. They could push him back a day and pitch Martinez with one less day of rest. Pitchers used to do that all the time, and Martinez should still be fresh, having not played much of the season.

    They could have brought up Pucetas briefly after putting Freddy Sanchez on the DL, to start in Sanchez's place, then basically skip Sanchez until his next regular start. Then send Pucetas back down and bring up a reliever.

    If they want a reliever now, you bring up Matos for a couple of days, send him down and bring up Pucetas, then send Pucetas down and bring up someone else, Hinshaw, Espinelli, even Oteri from AA.

    Lots of options.

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  15. I too was greatly disappointed with the loss on Monday. Without Pablo, the offense is AA quality at best. But, on the brighter side, this season is just a bonus. The Giants were not thought to be able to contend until 2010, so I'll enjoy this quasi playoff race for what it is, an unexpected treat.

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  16. Martin,
    Good, non-reactionary tenor to this discussion. For your managerial consideration...

    Ron Roenicke, Angels Bench Coach.

    Vitals:
    -Ex-player, including with the Giants in '85.

    -Managed very successfully through all levels of the minor leagues, including a better-than-expected season leading Fresno in 1999.

    -Third Base Coach for the Angels under Scioscia and Maddon, two of the best in the game, for 6-7 years. Angels are widely regarded as one of the best running teams in the league, something he would provide and which we direly need.

    -Now as bench coach since Maddon left, has done well managing when Scioscia's been out, including the bullpen, admirably. When was the last time the Angels' staff underperformed? I mean, really, considering what cards they're dealt each year.

    -Has been continually promoted throughout his career. The Angels organization, despite a truly evil & lamentable performance in 2002, remains perhaps the finest in the game. Roenicke looks like a winner.

    What do you think? Getting him at the right time may ensure the option of having him around for longer. Decker needs time as a bench coach to adapt his excellent professional motivation and accountability skills to the current ML game and players, and morever that may dovetail into Roenicke's strengths nicely.

    However, for a choice with ML-experience, mercurial Tony La Russa may be making himself free of St. Louis this offseason...

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  17. Thanks for the comment Angry Kato.

    Good points, excellent comments, much appreciated.

    JLHC, thanks for pointing out Roenicke. He does sound pretty good, and with major league coaching experience to boot. Both he and Ron Wotus are very similar in background. It might be good to stir things up by going outside again, brings in Angel experience, plus Scioscia's D-ger knowledge that he might have passed on.

    I've heard about La Russa being available, thanks for bringing him up. He also loves the Bay Area and has led two different teams to the World Series.

    And I wouldn't mind seeing our pitchers bat 8th. :^)

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