Ratto: No wine for Bochy as Giant bats stay silent

Ratto: No wine for Bochy as Giant bats stay silent
August 7, 2011, 12:58 am
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Aug. 6, 2011

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Bruce Bochy swears on a stack of Tractor Shed red that the Giants will snap out of their current offensive narcolepsy.At least he would if he could.I dont drink wine when we lose, he said, with the resigned air of a man who has not had his customary glass with dinner in a good long time. Doesnt taste the same.Well, everything tastes like bile with a frothy head these days for the Giants, and deservedly so. After Cole Hamels stood on their collective thorax for nine innings in Philadelphias 2-1 win Saturday, the ants found themselves in an even deeper level of the mine. The loss was their eighth in nine games and 11th in 16, and over those 16 games, they have scored a ridiculous 35 runs.Which is why Bochy believes the worst is behind him -- because 140 years of baseball history says it has to be.

Were better than weve shown, I know we are, he said after Saturdays loss. Weve got guys scuffling out there, sure, but weve made changes, and weve brought in new players, and we know its going to get better. Maybe being a little consistent about the lineups will help.RECAP: Cain takes hard-luck loss; Giants fall 2-1 to Phils
That is Bochys latest idea to spark this inert lineup -- leaving the players with fewer wonders about if and where they bat in the lineup. His frantic attempts to find and hold a working combination have clearly failed, as the Giants remain a stern 29th in runs scored, and 27th or lower in the other standard production metrics.And over those 16 games? Theyre hitting .214. Batting average may not be a great predictor of anything, but .214 with 2.19 runs per game not only predicts but screams.Granted, some of this is the opponent, as they have faced a steady stream of good pitchers at the upper right quartile of their game. But the Giants arent exactly throwing them a 32-sided Rubiks cube to solve, either. They have one consistent hitting outfielder (Carlos Beltran), first baseman Aubrey Huff is the new target du jour, shortstop Orlando Cabrera has not yet hit the stride expected of him, and catcher is an ongoing out.And yes, it is the stated opinion of this squalid little corner of the Internet that these are the truest form of the Giants -- a team of underhitting, overpitching adults who should be barely ahead of Florida in the overall standings, and not even contemplating October.But World Series champions arent afforded that luxury, or of pouting, or of excusifying (forgive us, but we just wanted to play with a word for a minute). This is the either-you-do-or-you-dont portion of the show, and they have stopped hitting just in time to lose five games off a 4-game lead.And Bochy is not hiding his greater contempt beneath a veneer of hopeful anticipation. He knows they wont become the Boston Red Sox. But he believes they cant be the Seattle Mariners. Talent, clear-headed, intelligent-approach-enriched talent, cannot average 2.2 runs per game. The National League average is 4.13; normal for the Giants ought to be, say, 3.75, even allowing for the horror implied in that number.But 2.2 is ridiculous, and .214 is impossible. Which is why Bochy believes that gravity cannot be defied, it can be delayed just long enough for the bullpen to save the day.Much has been made of the Phillies rivalry, exacerbated as it was by the Friday Night Luau. But the Giants have shown in this series, and moreover since June 30, that their real rivalries are with Arizona (the team that can keep them out of the postseason by holding its own until the schedule favors them in September) and themselves (they are 16-16 since June ended).RELATED: Giants Insider gallery: Anatomy of a Brawl
The Phillies? Make that Jim Mora high-pitched squeaking noise and say it again. The enemy is not leaving town tomorrow, it is in the Pacific Time Zone, and often in the 415 area code.But Bruce Bochy says it will improve because it has to, and he is right. There is so little room left for deterioration that the law of big numbers says it must be so.