To say San Francisco Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy is a creature of habit would be, well, quite the understatement. The skipper has long held his beliefs as truth, all but refusing to budge from his traditions, so it shouldn’t come as much of a shock that Bochy continues to handle his young talent with, well, oddity.
A night after Brandon Belt put together a game winning hit this past Saturday, the baby giraffe found himself once again nailed to the bench in favor of “matchups” per Bochy:
“Day game after a night game, facing a left-hander, we have our right-handed bats out there. This guy (Richard) has been tough on us. He’s given up all of his home runs against right-handers. We’re going to go with the hitters who give us our best chance to win.”
It seems like I’ve heard this explanation before – a few thousand times, actually.
Being a good manager is being able to adapt and getting out of your comfort zone. For Bruce, there’s no place like home and home is his comfort zone consisting of matchups and veteran players. But San Francisco isn’t the first place that Boch has laid down his tactics, it happened plenty in San Diego as he loyally catered to matchups and veterans, even going as far as to all but exile a young Shane Victorino.
In the club’s front office, however, Bochy was perceived as being overly indulgent of veterans such as Ryan Klesko and Phil Nevin in 2003-05 and Vinny Castilla and Eric Young. Bochy was deemed not supportive enough of young players such as Xavier Nady in 2005 and Ben Johnson this year (the same Ben Johnson whom Bochy started in Game 2 of the ’05 playoffs, with disastrous results).
And doesn’t this strike you as ironic?
This year, Bochy seldom rested right fielder Brian Giles, even as Giles’ bat slowed, even as veteran players wondered why Giles was playing so often and batting third instead of second.
While Brandon Belt might be the most polarizing of the young players currently going through the Bochy managerial styles, he’s certainly not alone nor will he be the last as it appears Brandon Crawford may start feeling the wrath of the matchups.
It took a trade to force Bochy’s hand at playing somebody as talented as Buster Posey, so to think that the current youthful Giants talent will ever get an extended shot at playing time seems questionable right now.
Is it a case of Bochy harboring an irritation of younger players, stemming from a youthful Benito Santiago taking his starting spot on the Padres? Is it a case of Bochy believing that veteran experience is more beneficial then youthful talent? Is it Bochy believing his tactics are beneficial to the ballclub? Only he knows – we’re just along for the incredibly bumpy and turbulent ride.
Buckle up, scooter – it’s going to be a lawwhngg season.