DENVER Giants manager Bruce Bochy shut the doors for a20-minute team meeting Friday afternoon, and it wasnt to remind the boys thatJonathan Sanchez often has a wee bit of trouble throwing strikes.
Bochy challenged the team after a 3-7 homestand in which theplayers mentality sometimes looked as soft as their bats.
And he did it in no uncertain terms.
Youve got to man up and be a little tougher, Bochy said,summarizing his main talking point.
Bochy didnt say if he used any audiovisual tactics orplayed scenes from a certain Mel Gibson flick, as hes done in the past. If hedonned a Scottish highlander costume, he changed back into his uniform inrecord time.
But Bochy made it clear he wasnt just telling players toloosen up and have fun.
Perhaps most damning, Bochy intimated that some playersmight be obsessing over personal stats instead of focusing on ways to help theteam win games.
Sometimes we need to compete a little bit better at theplate, Bochy said. Thats being a little tougher mentally. In this game,sometimes you get caught up in personal stats. You forget its about competing.Thats what you love to do.
Thats an issue the Giants figured to face this season, withso many impending free agents including center fielder Angel Pagan, whoseseason took a nosedive in July.
Pagan is starting in the leadoff spot for the first timesince May 23 as Bochy tries to get him going again. At least the switch-hittersbruised hand is improved after he injured it in a fit of frustration.
Bochy addressed the frustration issue, too.
When youre not getting results, you get frustrated andcompound it by taking it into the next at-bat, Bochy said. Sometimes wevegot to do a better job washing those off.
Its a tough homestand. Its never easy when you lose, whatwas it? Seven of eight? It was time, I think, to talk to them and remind them wherewere at here. You go through times when its handed to you, but youve got toshow some resolve here.
The offense clearly misses Pablo Sandoval, even though hereally wasnt hitting the cover off the ball before he went down with ahamstring injury. (Sandoval is jogging and making progress, but Bochy said theGiants wont know if hell return when eligible on Thursday until he begins totest it more aggressively.)
The Giants would do well to recapture some of their spiritfrom 2010, when they responded from some absolutely gut-wrenching losses bywinning the next day. They havent always bounced back as well this season.
Bochy said the hitters met as a group a week ago.
When you dont hit, you look flat, Bochy said. We hadtrouble getting the crowd into it. Youve got to create some excitement scoringruns, too. It looks like youre not having fun. At the same time, wevegot to be a little tougher, too. This game is tough at times and youve got toman up and be a little tougher.
As the manager, you say what needs to be said.
Bochy said he is aware that Brandon Belt has much betternumbers against left-handed pitching, but he wanted to involve Brett Pillagainst Sanchez. The Rockies will throw three left-handed starters in thisseries, but Bochy said he isnt planning to sit Belt and shortstop BrandonCrawford all weekend.