There is much being written about Bruce Bochy and his handling of the bullpen for the San Francisco Giants, Sunday night in St. Louis, during the second game of the National League Championship Series, and little of it is good. Three of Bochy’s trusted cadre of relievers surrendered solo home runs, leading to a 5-4, come-from-behind, Cardinals victory over the Orange and Black, and folks are up in arms about it.
The nature of baseball fans is to second-guess everything the manager of a losing team does, and use a mall to drive home the shortcomings of his skills, as they apply to the specific situation, about which they are dismayed. In this particular instance, fans are unhappy that three of the weapons in the Giants’ bullpen arsenal, misfired in Sunday’s game, and they are holding Bochy accountable.
The bullpen gave up three solo home runs, and had any one of the three been prevented, the Giants may have taken a two-games-to-none lead in the series, back to San Francisco. Hunter Strickland surrendered his fourth home run of the postseason, and Jean Machi, his second. But it was Sergio Romo who gave up the shot in the ninth, to Kolten Wong, who had already victimized the Dodgers in the National League Division Series.
Hunter Strickland has given up four home runs in the postseason, so far. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
In seventeen and-two-thirds innings so far in the postseason, members of the the Giants’ bullpen not named Hunter Strickland or Jean Machi, had given up only one earned run and five hits. Fans had grown accustomed to leads being held and fine catches being made on balls to the outfield. Even Hunter Pence can’t catch a ball ten rows up.
What do fans think Bochy should have done? Most think since a long reliever was in order, Jake Peavy having been pinch-hit for in the top of the fifth inning, that maybe long reliever Yusmeiro Petit should have been brought in.
Others believe that Tim Lincecum has been the answer to bullpen woes in the past, and that he might have been the ideal replacement for Peavy. He has been languishing on the bench, good attitude and all, maybe he should be required to earn his paycheck.
Ultimately, though, no one has any business seriously criticizing Bruce Bochy.
Seriously, though, no one has any right to criticize Bruce Bochy.
He has guided the Giants to seven consecutive series victories in the postseason, including two world championships, and he is the winningest active manager in the majors, with 1,618 wins, going into the playoffs. His .722 winning postseason percentage with the Giants is extraordinary.
If he makes a decision and it doesn’t work out, you don’t lambaste him, because you can’t win them all, even if you win most of them
Criticize the Wizard? Only if you’re tired of winning world championships.
September 9, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Yusmeiro Petit (52) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports