The San Francisco Giants are doing all of the small things wrong so far in 2020.
By small things, I mean playing defense, which it turns out can be a pretty huge thing when we’re talking about games decided by one or two runs. Let’s walk through some of the “small” things the Giants have failed to execute thus far.
The biggest, most glaring small thing has to be the four catchers interference calls the Giants have committed so far this season. Three of them have been committed by catcher Tyler Heineman, and one of them by Chadwick Tromp.
SF Giants catchers struggling to get the small stuff right
In Monday’s game against the Houston Astros, Tromp’s interference took away what would have been the second out of the third inning. Instead, another “small” thing cropped up. Giants announcer Mike Krukow has beaten to death the fact that with runners on base, Tromp continues to field the catcher position with his knee on the ground in order to frame lower pitches.
Pitcher Logan Webb spiked a curveball in the dirt, but instead of doing what all catchers are trained to do since Little League, which is to turn the glove around and use it to block the gap between your legs while positioning yourself to use the chest protector as a glove in order to block the ball from getting away and allowing the runners to advance, Tromp had to attempt to backhand the curveball cleanly. Instead he caught just a piece of it and it shot over his head allowing the runners to advance.
I don’t know if the coaching staff is telling Heineman and Tromp to move a few inches back when setting up behind the plate and the two catchers are just ignoring them, and if that’s the case then they would need to be benched. And if they aren’t telling them to move back at all, then I don’t understand what analytics that are churned out of Farhan Zaidi’s numbers machine could possibly suggest that four catchers interference calls in less than twenty games is beneficial in any way.
And someone needs to teach Tromp to field the catcher position in a squat with both feet on the ground when there are runners on base. It’s fine with no one on base, but you have zero mobility to stop a ball in the dirt when you have your knee on the ground and the other leg extended.
SF Giants’ Donovon Solano can hit but not field
OK, so enough ranting about the catching. What the heck is going on with Donovan Solano‘s glove? He committed two errors Monday and there was another play that he should have made that was scored as a hit.
Fortunately for him, he has the highest batting average in the league as well as a 15-game hitting streak, but his defense is costing the team right now. He has to be the designated hitter for the time being while Gold Glove third baseman Evan Longoria plays third, and if Kapler feels he needs someone else to DH then move Solano to second base where his poor defense can at least be covered up somewhat.
If the Giants were doing all the small things correctly this year like they did under Bruce Bochy during the three championship years, i.e. fielding the ball correctly, then there is a very good chance they would be over .500 right now.
They are hitting far better than any of us could have expected, and it is a shame that they are squandering their offense’s performance with downright awful defense.