Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Why I Love Bochy: Bumgarner Gets Opening Day Assignment

I have written before about why I love Bochy and Bumgarner getting named, so early, even before the first game of spring training, as the opening day starter, just reminded me all over again.


ogc thoughts

For most managers, the naming of the opening day starter is pretty simple:  you name your stud vet starter, with the vet presence.  I'm sure if Dusty Baker were still the manager, he would have done that.  He would have named either Matt Cain or Tim Lincecum the opening day starter, maybe even Tim Hudson, who is still a good pitcher, and longevity, to back up his creds for being named the opening day starter for the Giants this season.   That's why he had Lofton playing CF when an arguably better defensive CF in Shinjo was made the DH in the World Series.

Instead, Bochy named the guy who deserved it, based on what he did in 2013, Bumgarner.  Sure blows another gaping hole in the meme that Bochy favors vets over youth.  And I'm sure he probably ran this by Cain before making the announcement, not really for approval, but to let him know so he's not surprised.  I'm sure he did the same thing with Lincecum last season before naming Cain the opening day starter.  And he rewarded Bumgarner, noting that he earned that, and could check that off among his achievements for his career.

Bochy is a real good players manager, much like Baker was a good players manager for us, only Bochy knows when it is time to be best buds and when you have to be have the winning instinct.   Where Baker couldn't tell the aging Lofton that the acrobatic and younger Shinjo would be playing CF so he's the DH in the World Series, Bochy not only told Zito once, not only twice, but three times, that he wasn't on the playoff roster in 2010, culminating in letting him know that he's not going to be in the World Series, which would have been his first, and somehow kept the respect and authority relationship with Zito so that he was able to not only be useful but saved the day for us multiple times in the 2012 playoffs, where he told Lincecum, who had won the Cy Young award not that long ago, that he's only going to be a reliever, and he pitched great for us in 2012 playoffs, also helping save the day for us multiple times too.  And Sandoval, who he sat down in the 2010 World Series to play Uribe, joined the immortals in the history book by blasting three homers in the first game in the 2012 World Series.

It takes tremendous guts to sit down players who could give you arguments as to why they should be playing, and it was that killer instinct that he displayed as we caught up with the Padres late in the 2010 season that finally got me off the fence about Bochy, that was what made me think that he could be the manager who could lead us to our first World Championship (little did I know it would not be that much longer).

It takes tremendous people skills to be able to sit down players who could give you arguments as to why they should be playing, and then be able to get those players to not only play for you but also want to stay there, play their best, and save the day for the team later.  That's why Bochy prefers vets over young players, in a general sense, those vets were proven in that they had done it before, but those youngsters didn't.  But what the Naysayers then miss is that when the young players prove to be good to him (and it didn't take long for Lincecum, Sandoval, Posey, Bumgarner to do that), Bochy has no problem at all starting them.

So once again, I am thankful that Bochy is our manager.  I'm feeling good about the 2014 season, could be another feather in his cap, as I expect much better pitching, as well as hitting, in 2014.  Bumgarner and Cain are 1/2 in the announcement Bochy made.  He said that right now it's Hudson and Lincecum, 3/4, but could change during the spring.  That makes Vogelsong #5.

Go Giants!

4 comments:

  1. Last year the giants played decent ball against the West, despite the Affeldt allowed late inning dinger to Goldschmidt which cost the giants a game to the West, but the giants played terribly vs. the east and central. Whatever the reason, Bochy has to keep these guys winning in the West, and competing much better vs. the East and Central. Part of that has been the flyball pitching on the road. I am hoping that the pitching can rebound on the road this year. Last year it was terrible.

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    Replies
    1. I've seen this angle before and here are my thoughts.

      Basically, from my view, there was two main segments of the season: healthy team playing and multiple injuries/poor performance.

      The team was basically healthy April, May, then September. And when healthy, the team was 45-36, .555 winning percentage, 90 win rate. Who did they play during that period, mostly? The NL West.

      The team in June, July, August played mostly NL Central, NL East, and interleague AL games. That's when they were injured and poorly performing.

      So it's not a matter, in my eyes, of playing the other divisions better, it's a matter of staying healthy and performing well most of the season.

      I think that's very possible this season. All the talk I saw last season was about how the long, glorious post-season in 2012 cut the off-season prep was tied in with some extended partying that left some players unfit and unprepared to compete in 2013 and topped with players having to get up to game speed early for the WBC, which seemed to be a factor in injuries as well. Seemed to be a perfect storm for injuries and poor performances.

      This season, everyone is heavy with regret for their poor showing in 2013, and worked hard over the off-season to ensure that doesn't happen again in 2014, particularly injuries and poor performances due to poor conditioning, Posey in particular talked about coming in with more muscle so that his second half in 2014 isn't as bad as it was in 2013, when he had little power. And it was noted that Posey (among others) spoke to Sandoval about his weight and commitment to the team, so I have no doubt that he, as one of the team's leaders, made everyone aware of the team's new religion about fitness and health. Of course, injuries just happen sometimes (2011-Posey, 2013-Crawford, Pagan) and really, any team that goes all the way usually have pretty good health that season, no matter who wins, but I have to think that the odds of injuries this season is much lower than it was last season, just due to all these factors, bad and good.

      Delete
  2. Great post. I have come to really, really appreciate Bochy. He keeps things loose in the clubhouse, he rewards merit, and he can handle the pitching staff.

    Here's some food for thought, just saw it: http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/02/28/latest-research-shows-managers-inefficient-when-taking-pitchers-out-of-the-game/

    Fans forget how much of a grind the season is. We've touched on this a few time in discussions - the regular season and then the stretch and then the playoffs are 3 different things. Bochy will try things, to see how players handled situations. but when it comes time to scratch, he has had a very good ability to put the right guy in the spot.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for the link. Very interrresting as Arte Johnson used to say on Laugh In. I wish they provided info on each managers percentage right.

    Good specific points on Bochy, I totally agree. Especially about how Bochy manages to the time of the season and where the team is in the standings. I like that he uses everyone and gives them chances to prove that they have changed or not. That is what players want, a chance. Then when it is time to concentrate on winning, he is very focused on that and goes with the guys he feels give him the best chance to win. And as his won loss in one run games show, he is really good at doing the right thing to bring in the wins.

    ReplyDelete

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