Theory: now that Brian Wilson is out for the season, and the bullpen is in full “closer by committee” mode, Bruce Bochy is really going to lean on the starting pitching to get him deep into games.
Playing arm chair manager is a time tested activity for the unwashed masses on the Internet, but in tonight’s game against the Reds, Bochy decided to send Matt Cain — after throwing 108 pitches through six innings — back out for the 7th inning. Cain ended up throwing eight more pitches, one of which Ryan Ludwick hit for a solo shot four million feet away, before Bochy pulled him. (Daniel Otero would then come into the game to give up five earned runs, pushing the Reds’ lead to 8-0.)
Here’s my deal: it’s pretty obvious that Bochy isn’t ultra-comfortable with the bullpen right now. Leaving Cain in during tonight’s game is a classic example of “chasing pitcher wins” by a manager — Bochy obviously really, really wanted to leave Cain in so that he could be up for the win, but it didn’t work out and it led, in part, to the Reds blowing the game wide open. Cain labored through the early parts of the game. He threw 38 pitches in the first inning. He looked better as the game progressed, but still, it’s April, he’s an important guy in the rotation, and you’re sending him back out to throw more? It’s a hard sell to make.
You don’t have to be the smartest guy in the room to know that Bruce Bochy loves, loves, loves him some bullpen stability. Sergio Romo pitches in the 8th inning because he always pitches in the 8th inning. Javier Lopez pitches to left-handed batters because he always pitches to left-handed batters. Jeremy Affeldt stabs himself in the hand trying to separate frozen hamburger patties because he always stabs himself in the hand trying to separate frozen hamburger patties.
I could be a jabbering idiot, but Bochy’s management of starting pitchers warrants something to keep an eye on.
The other thing that happened in tonight’s game could simply be summed up as “Sam LeCure is history’s greatest monster.”
Brief background: During Otero’s implosion in the 7th inning, he hit Joey Votto to load the bases. At the time, the Reds were up 3-0 and it’s crazy to think that Otero, a fringy velocity plus-control guy, was trying to hit anyone. It just doesn’t make sense, in any context.
In the 9th inning, the Giants were already down 9-0 and Posey stepped to the plate. This happened:
First pitch. 88 miles per hour. Right behind Posey’s reconstructed ankle-legs. Holy crap. I know it’s baseball, and it’s sending a “message”, but unless the message was: “Hi, I’m Sam LeCure and I’m a terrible person that likes to fart and then smell my own farts and I also like to eat that gross dried up ketchup crust on the inside of ketchup bottle lids” it probably shouldn’t have been sent.
A few pitches later, letfreedomring.gif happens
That’s Posey hitting a two-run home run to RF off of LeCure. Damn, that must have felt great.
I’m not sure fans of any other team can really ever understand Giants fans and their love of Posey. Dude was formed by the hands of Zeus and gifted to us, or so the prophecies have foretold. And the amount of pain and anguish that fans — as a collective — went through last year with his injury really can’t be put into words. I’d try, but I couldn’t do it. I’d just get bummed out and probably want to throw things.
The moral of the story: The Giants got stomped. Don’t throw at Posey, you jerks.