Bochy: 'I messed up the double switch'
SAN FRANCISCO – A two-time World Series winning manager can get away with a few ‘brain cramps.’
San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy said after Monday’s 5-3 loss to the San Diego Padres that he mistakenly put late addition Buster Posey in the No. 7 spot in the lineup instead of setting him up to lead off the bottom half of the 13th inning.
“I messed up the double switch,” Bochy admitted. “I got distracted and was upset. I was out there arguing and totally brain cramped on that.”
Bochy had a word with first base umpire Manny Gonzalez regarding Kyle Blanks’ fly ball down the right-field line that a sliding Hunter Pence failed to catch. Bochy believed the ball was foul and Gonzalez disagreed.
The Padres had already gone ahead 4-3 earlier in the inning, but Blanks’ single led to an insurance run and a pitching change. If Bochy had implemented the double switch the way he wanted to, Posey would’ve led off and required help from a teammate for the Giants to tie or take a lead.
“Once I said it wrong, it was done,” Bochy said. “That’s a first and I just probably should’ve stepped back and thought a little bit. I was looking for the right spot to put him in the game. A couple of times he was going to double switch at first base if we had to, but the pitcher got out of it.”
Bochy wanted to give Posey a break after he caught all nine innings of the Giants’ 3-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Sunday night and had to fly cross-country immediately after. The Giants arrived at AT&T Park around 4:30 a.m. Monday morning. Before the game, Bochy wasn’t complaining about the hectic travel schedule.
“It wasn’t bad; these guys have all been through worse,” he said. “But it’s part of the territory when you win the World Series and you get those ESPN games. You have to deal with it.”
Bochy wasn’t making excuses for his players, but perhaps the manager’s ‘brain cramp’ was a product of the quick turnaround.
“We had a tough travel day and I thought they played hard, they played well,” Bochy said in a brief postgame press conference. “[Barry] Zito did a nice job and the bullpen did a great job until the end. That’s baseball. You have to deal with these tough losses.”
The Giants have no choice but to deal with a tough loss, and a demotion to fourth place in the National League West, instead of celebrating their eighth walk-off win. That’s thanks to San Rafael High School product Will Venable, who robbed Juan Perez of what appeared to be a sure game-winning hit in the 12th inning.
“I was trying to hit a line drive up the middle,” said Perez, who made his own defensive highlight when he collected his third outfield assist in six career games by nabbing Logan Forsythe trying to take third base in the ninth. “I put a good swing on the ball and he made an unbelievable catch. You have to tip your cap.”
“That’s one of the best catches I’ve seen,” said Bochy, who was present for a similarly incredible catch, Gregor Blanco’s perfect game-saving snag, just over a year ago. “It saved the game for them. It comes down to that. Perez hit the ball well and it’s a game-saving catch is what it is. It was a hard-fought game. Those plays win games for you and it won the game for them tonight.”
The catch itself didn’t win the game for San Diego. Instead, it was pitcher Andrew Cashner’s safety squeeze bunt in the top of the 13th inning that made Venable’s catch even more memorable. Bochy had gone through Jean Machi, Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo, Sandy Rosario and Javier Lopez in relief of Zito before he turned to Jose Mijares in the fateful frame. Mijares gave up back-to-back singles ahead of Cashner’s bunt single and has now given up twice as many runs already in June as he did in all of May, when he allowed two in ten innings.
“He just wasn’t on,” Bochy said of Mijares. “We’re out of pitching at that point. He’s pretty much our long guy so we’re hoping to get some work out of him, but he was off.”
It was hard for Bochy to find positive points to make Monday at midnight, but he did say that Marco Scutaro would’ve pinch hit if the pitcher’s spot came around in the 13th inning. The second baseman, batting .332 this season before being sidelined by a “mallet” pinkie, is sorely needed on a struggling San Francisco squad that is looking for consistent offensive production to protect an inconsistent rotation.
“Early in the season when the starter didn’t have a great start, we would score quite a few runs,” Zito said. “And when we gave up one or two, we’d score two or three. I think we just have to get everything clicking. Considering we’re pretty banged up right now, we’ve just got to keep battling.”