Oh Bruce. It’s hard to fault him too much for the way things went on the field this year. There was a significant underperformance from the guys who he should’ve been counting on. Bruce is still one of the greatest managers in Giants, and MLB history. However, this season will still take a knock on his resume. We gave him a C- mainly because even despite this not being mostly his fault, we didn’t think Bruce really helped the situation. Did he hurt it? That’s subjective. But there are a few ways I don’t think he helped it much.
One of the main ways was his bullpen management. It’s become clear that he doesn’t trust virtually anyone in the bullpen. Granted, he shouldn’t have. The bullpen was miserable. Their 4.34 ERA was in the bottom half of the league, and if you went by xFIP, they were the sixth worst bullpen in baseball. So I get that it’s incredibly difficult to trust a bullpen. But time and time again they were dealt a pretty tough hand.
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The Giants bullpen had three players in the top 50 pitchers of most inherited runners in the National League, four if you want to count George Kontos (Gearrin 7th, Kontos 11th, Strickland 44th, Okert 49th).
There were way too many times where Bochy went to his bullpen just too late. It’s not like their starters had done much to earn that this year. The Giants’ starting staff threw the second most innings, but were in the middle of the pack in terms of ERA. Why?
A 4.58 doesn’t constitute that many innings. There were good enough pieces in the bullpen for them to use. They had the worst K/9 rate of starting units within the top 18 in innings. You’d have to go nearly to the bottom third of the league in innings pitched by a starting unit to find someone with a worse K/9.
Countless times this season, Bochy didn’t really measure where his starters were at. Because of their inability to strike people out in 2017, there was no way they should’ve gone as deep into games as they should. That resulted in a ton of “unclean” innings for their bullpen to walk into. Not the greatest situation. That’s a significant reason, among a lot of small things as to why Bochy gets a C-. Also, if you are the manager of a 64-98 team, you really shouldn’t get anything higher than a D.