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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bochy Pushing All the Right Buttons

The Giants bullpen has turned it around. The laughing stock of the team and of the division is actually starting to perform. They have been pretty stingy since that Colorado game where they blew a brilliant start by Matt Cain and allowed 5 runs in 2 innings of work. A huge amount of the credit has to go to Bruce Bochy. This dude knows how to use his pen. After the first series of the season, every Giants fan on the face of the earth was looking for Jack Taschner's (among others) demotion after he gave up a game winning home run on opening night. Instead of panicking, Bochy knew, that whether he liked it or not, this is the bullpen he'd be stuck with for the season, so he had to make it work. Instead of getting down on the them, he has given all his relievers a vote of confidence, both through the media and to them individually. They are all responding terrifically. Jack Taschner has even mentioned how much it helped him to hear the vote of confidence coming from the manager. It's no coincidence that Taschner has been untouched since giving up that home run. The difference in the way Felipe Alou used his bullpen and the way Bochy is using it, is night and day. One thing Bochy has done that Alou never did, is let his relievers work out of jams. Another thing that Bochy doesn't do all the time is make a change based on the lefty/righty match ups. I still have my questions about the Giants pen, but things have gone a lot smoother than I had envisioned. Bochy also seems to know when and when not to play certain players. After a sluggish offensive start in which the team scored only 20 runs through their first 9 games, Bochy made it clear to the players struggling that he isn't afraid to sit them down. The offense has responded big time as they have score 43 runs over their last 9 contests.

The Giants' starting pitching has not been a fluke. I think it's really this good. While I don't think they'll keep the 2.67 era that they've had through the first month, all season, they are going to be a force. It's obvious Matt Morris was hurt last year because he's a different pitcher this season. I'd keep him this year, especially since he's on pace for an 18-20 win season. If he can win 15-17 games, he could be worth a ton this winter, and that's very possible. It will be tough for the team to keep Tim Lincecum in the Minors with him throwing the way he is, but I think this team is better off right now with the rotation as is and Lincecum keeps dominating in Fresno. Morris is another guy who has a lot to prove after he struggled through his first season with the Giants. So far the big question marks as far as the pitching staff is concerned, (Morris, Russ Ortiz and Armando Benitez) it's been so far so good.
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  • At 5:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Morris isn't as bad as he was last year, but I think he's gotten a little lucky this year.

  • At 11:12 PM, Blogger allfrank said…

    Well, he was much more than a little unlucky last year. And he has pitched well. He's put a lot of runners on, but he is not getting hit hard.

  • At 11:21 PM, Blogger TC said…

    Yeah, I agree Frank, he has limited the damage. His fastball and curveball both look way better than they were last year. Plus he's only given up 1 jack in his 4 starts. If he cuts down his walks, he should keep up his success.

  • At 6:11 AM, Anonymous bigshowbaseball said…

    I agree with you, I'm so happy with the way Bochy is managing the Giants this year. It's a huge improvement over last year...

  • At 4:16 PM, Blogger JLee said…

    Lincecum has been so lights out in AAA that it's going to be hard to NOT get him up to the big leagues -- in any other situation, it would be easy. But the whole rotation has been solid -- even Ortiz has been ok. Too bad Lincecum isn't a power hitting third baseman with good strike zone judgement. Not that I really know what that would look like (cough... Feliz... cough).

  • At 4:41 PM, Blogger TC said…

    The Giants haven't produced a player with a serviceable bat, through their system, since Bill Mueller. Doesn't look like that will change anytime soon. But they do make up for it somewhat with the great starting pitching that they have drafted.

  • At 5:08 PM, Anonymous Bball3345 said…

    If Bonds keeps up what he is doing and Lincecum gets called up and plays well, the sky is the limit for this team. It doesn't take a whole lot of talent to win when you've got someone like Bonds.

  • At 10:47 PM, Blogger TC said…

    I agree Bball, but the only problem is what do you do with Lincecum. Use him in relief and stunt his growth as a starter, which is what he will be in the bigs, or do you ship out a starter that you have now (Morris, Lowry) to make room for him. I just assume he stays in Fresno until one of the starters falter or get heart. Too much starting pitching is always a good problem to have though.


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