Kruk & Kuip: 'They're in a slump with the gloves'
Brett Pill went 2-for-5 with two doubles and two runs on Friday in his only start for the Giants this year. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
DENVER – Giants manager Bruce Bochy doesn’t call many team meetings. But when you’ve seen nine errors in four games, it’s time to get the group together.
“Sometimes you check in with your club,” said Bochy, after emerging from the session at Coors Field Saturday afternoon. “That’s all that was. Just talked about a few things.”
No players spoke during the meeting, Bochy said. Before the manager addressed the entire group, he called in Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro and held a private chat with the two of them in his office.
Pagan and Scutaro have combined to commit five of those nine errors as the Giants have dropped three of four in Toronto and Colorado. But Scutaro said they talked about other things.
As for what Bochy said? Well, it was probably some variation of this: “Look alive out there!”
“You have to have the same focus you have when you go up to hit,” Bochy said. “You’ve got to have it on defense. The physical errors, they’ll happen. … But it gets to a point, 13 in 10 games, or whatever it is, that’s too many.”
Yep. That’s what it is.
During his session with reporters, Bochy also mentioned that it’s incumbent upon the pitchers to pick up their teammates and control the damage. So it’s fair to surmise that topic came up in the meeting, too.
It’s the mental mistakes that bothered Bochy the most. Specifically, he mentioned Pablo Sandoval making an unnecessary throw to first base when he had no chance to throw out a runner. Pitcher Madison Bumgarner rushed one throw, turning a potential double play into a no-out, second-and-third situation. Bumgarner also failed to back up third base when Angel Pagan aired his throw over the bag and it bounced into the stands.
Bochy said he didn’t have a problem with Pagan’s wild throw because it was a physical error and “in his mind, he’s got a shot and that’s his read.”
It was mentioned that although Bochy’s meetings are a rarity, they do seem to happen often here at Coors Field.
“Well, it’s a nice clubhouse,” he said, smiling.
That’s true. It’s at least three times the size of the dinky little room at Wrigley Field.
If you missed it earlier, the Giants made a roster move. They optioned first baseman Brett Pill and recalled right-hander Jean Machi from Triple-A Fresno, giving them a four-man bench and a 13-man pitching staff.
The reason is simple: The rotation has been too soft for too long. This isn’t even a Coors Field thing. It’s a reaction to too many starters failing to go deep in the game.
“We’ll see how it goes for awhile with 13 pitchers,” Bochy said. “I can’t tell you how long. Until we get more consistency, we’ll be like this for awhile.”
Pill had two doubles in his lone start Saturday and he drove in a run in Toronto, too. But Bochy said he understood when given the news.
The Giants sent down Pill instead of Nick Noonan because Bochy plans to start the left-handed hitter at second base Sunday afternoon in place of Scutaro. It’s become clear that the Giants will need to get the 37-year-old off his feet whenever possible, no matter how hot he is at the plate. (Current temperature: A 16-game hitting streak, including multiple hits in nine of his last 10 games.)
Looking ahead, here are the probables for the next series against the Washington Nationals at AT&T Park. As you might remember, the Nats pretty well dismantled the Giants in last year’s season series.
Monday: LHP Zach Duke vs. RHP Ryan Vogelsong
Tuesday: RHP Stephen Strasburg vs. RHP Matt Cain
Wednesday: LHP Gio Gonzalez vs. LHP Madison Bumgarner
Ross Detwiler was scheduled to start Monday for Washington against Vogelsong, his World Baseball Classic teammate, but he’s been scratched with a bad back.
Bochy mentioned that he’d like to get Joaquin Arias a little more playing time. With two lefties in the Nats’ probables. here’s guessing Arias will start once at shortstop for Brandon Crawford and once at first base for Brandon Belt.
Bochy also said he foresees more playing time for Arias and Noonan as the Giants get into the meat of their schedule, the weather heats up in the Midwest and East, and the off days become less frequent.
Congrats to Jose Mijares. He had the right horse in the Preakness pool.
The Giants were allowed to stretch indoors so they could watch the race on TV.