Spander: Bochy pushes all the right buttons for Giants

He’s so very San Francisco, Bruce Bochy — unpretentious, unaffected and competent to the max. Maybe not a genius, but as far as managing the Giants, he’ll do until someone better comes along.

“He does a great job of getting the right guys in at the right time,” was Matt Cain’s cogent observation of Bochy’s cogent maneuvers. “That’s the reason he has the job.”

And arguably the reason the Giants, after Cain’s shutout Tuesday, have a 2-1 lead over the Phillies in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series.

Remember how ineffective the Giants looked Sunday night, getting whipped at Philly 6-1? That’s how effective they looked Tuesday when baseball emerged from the morning fog at AT&T Park and San Francisco won 3-0 before a screaming sellout crowd of 43,320.

You’re not sure Bochy could turn flax into gold, but he certainly turned things around for his ball club, benching Andres Torres, replacing him in center with Aaron Rowand and replacing him at the top of the order with Edgar Renteria.

Leading off the fourth, Renteria got the Giants’ first hit of the game, and first run, off Cole Hamels. Driving in Renteria was, of course, the Miracle Man, Cody Ross, who Bochy had batting fifth, instead of sixth as in Game 2 or eighth as Game 1.

The next inning, the fifth, Rowand doubled and scored.

You almost wanted Bochy to pick a few numbers in the lottery. What he prefers to do is pick the right people for the lineup.

“You feel good for them,” said Bochy of men who had been watching, not playing, and then delivered as required. Good for them, you’ll note, not for himself. “They’ve done a great job setting aside their ego, because we have tried to get our matchups.

“We have guys that are used to being out there every day.”

But guys who in other games weren’t out there at all.

A manager makes his choices. A player makes those choices look brilliant — as did Renteria and Rowand — or incorrect. Yet the man in charge must know the strengths and weaknesses, the obvious and the less-than-obvious.

“It was pretty close after the [Monday] workout,” Bochy said of changes which needed to be implemented. “But Monday night I sat on it, thought about it, and once I came in [Tuesday] I knew which way to go. … Once I came to the park, I had my mind made up which way we were going to go.”

When Felipe Alou left after the 2006 season, the Giants went with Bochy. He’s not as famous as Tony La Russa or as flashy as Tommy Lasorda was. He’s merely one of those individuals who studies every possible bit of information and then, because of experience, goes about his work.

Bochy’s a businessman who wears double-knit uniforms instead of double-breasted suits, the sort who gives credit to others, even  when he put together Tuesday’s lineup.

“We have a lot of baseball left,” Bochy said, “but if we come out and play our best, we’re going to win.”

Under Bruce Bochy, the Giants almost always play their best.

Art Spander has been covering Bay Area sports since 1965 and also writes on www.artspander.com and www.realclearsports.com. E-mail him at typoes@aol.com.

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