He’s normally a man of silver linings and orange-and-black optimism. Bruce Bochy has spent a career believing everything’s not as grim as the rest of you would think. But there was a different Bochy after the Giants, his San Francisco’s Giants, were smacked around again Thursday by the Arizona Diamondbacks, a Bochy whose frustration could be sensed, whose disappointment could be heard.
Baseball, we’re told, is a game of ups and downs. There have been no ups for the Giants of late.
You get swept in four games at AT&T, as were the Giants by Arizona, after a dreadful, 6-2 loss Thursday; you get only three hits; you let your streak go to eight losses in nine games; you go 3-for-35 with runners in scoring position the last five games (all defeats), you’re down, down, down. Subterranean depth.
“Give Arizona credit,” said Bochy, the Giants manager. “They did everything right. We didn’t do anything right. … You hate to have a series like this, particularly at home.”
Particularly when in this even year the Giants are supposed to be a winner. Particularly when the Dodgers, Rockies and, of course after recording only the second four-game sweep by any opponent in the 16-year AT&T history, the D’Backs, indeed are all winning. And already ahead of San Francisco in the standings.
“They were trying to give us the game,” said Bochy. Arizona starter Shelby Miller walked the first four men he faced in the third — the only four men he faced in the third. The Giants got a couple of runs, but they got no hits.
“Not doing anything there,” he agreed, “killed us.”
Not one of first five in the Giants’ batting order Thursday was hitting more than .262.
The last three games, the Giants had three runs total. Their pitching is decent enough — Thursday’s starter Johnny Cueto gave up only three runs in seven innings; Wednesday, Madison Bumgarner allowed two; Tuesday, Matt Cain allowed three in his four plus innings.
On the other hand, the hitting has been awful.
“This is a good lineup,” said Bochy. You would think so, Denard Spann, Joe Panik, Hunter Pence, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford and most games Buster Posey. History is on their side, although history at the moment isn’t helping a bit. Is everyone in a slump? Is everyone headed for a bad year?
We’re only 17 games into a season of 162, and yet there’s a pattern, and it’s not a cheering one for the Giants or their supporters.
Matt Duffy had two of the three Giants hits, Crawford the other. “Maybe we’re rushing,” said Duffy of the collective failings at the plate. “Baseball has its highs and lows. We had a couple of hard outs. There were some positives.”
And one unavoidable negative, the four straight defeats at the home park. The Marlins with Barry Bonds as their batting coach arrive today. Maybe Barry could be persuaded to sneak into a Giants uniform and put a couple into McCovey Cove for old time’s sake and for Bochy’s peace of mind.
After his first loss as a Giant, Cueto, through translator Erwin Higueros, said he had “confidence in the offense.” The rest of us, maybe not so much.
There was a minor dustup when in the eighth Giants reliever Josh Osich, for the second straight day, hit David Peralta with a pitch. Comic relief as it were.
Bochy wasn’t laughing. “My job,” he said of the Giants woes, “is to try to get this thing going.”
Hey, Bruce, good luck.