Bochy meets with 'pressing' Belt


Bochy meets with 'pressing' Belt

DENVER -- Bruce Bochy has managed major league players for 18 seasons. When does he know a struggling player needs a day to clear his head?

"Well, when a hitter tells me he's pressing, or I get word that it's probably time to give him a day," Bochy said.

Brandon Belt made that admission after a rough season-opening series at Arizona in which he was 1 for 10 with five strikeouts. So Bochy gave Belt a day off Monday at Colorado.

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But Bochy reiterated that he will not yo-yo Belt in and out of the lineup. The talented first baseman will get every opportunity to settle in, the manager said. And he'll be in the lineup Wednesday, after the entire team takes Tuesday off.

"It's natural for young hitters to want to get off to a good start," Bochy said. "They can lose sight that there's a lot of games in a season. The first few games won't determine what kind of year you'll have."

After the third or fourth question about Belt, Bochy waved his hands.

"You know, we're overstating this a little bit," Bochy said. "He's getting a day, and I want to get a little more speed in the outfield, it's fair to say (Aubrey) Huff is swinging a little better than Brandon, and we haven't won a game. So we're putting the best lineup out there. I think we're getting a little caught up here. There's no panic (with Belt)."

Bochy said he sent a message in his meeting with Belt.

"I told him it's too early to press," Bochy said. "We've just played three games. He admitted it, which is, really, too strong a word. He wanted to contribute."

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As for the fear from fans that the Giants might yank Belt in and out of the lineup, Bochy had an immediate response.

"That's not going to happen," he said. "We're not going to let it happen. ... I don't want these guys to think that way three games into the season. I don't want anybody to put too much pressure on themselves."

Speaking in general terms, Bochy said he is always interested to watch the body language of players when they are struggling.

"How they handle it, that's what separates good players from great ones," Bochy said. "It's how they deal with adversity. That's what you've gotta have in this game."

The Giants made one change from the original lineup, trading corner outfield spots with Melky Cabrera and Gregor Blanco. Cabrera is in left field, with Blanco in right. Angel Pagan is still starting in center. Bochy noted that Barry Zito is a fly ball pitcher and so it was a good day to move Huff from left field to first base.

Bochy agreed with the suggestion that Cabrera will be one guy who should expect to be in the lineup every single day. Cabrera had 706 plate appearances in 155 games for Kansas City last season.

"He takes care of himself," Bochy said. "He's got a great work ethic and he's one of those guys who is so durable. He goes out there every day. You can forget about him. He's one of those guys we're talking about, who doesn't need a break mentally."

Giants lineup: After beating Phillies to start series, no changes for Game 2


Giants lineup: After beating Phillies to start series, no changes for Game 2

The Giants scored early and hung on to beat the Phillies on Thursday night. One night later, Bruce Bochy is going with the same eight.

Philadelphia Phillies (43-76)

1. Cesar Hernandez (S) 2B
2. Freddy Galvis (S) SS
3. Nick Williams (L) CF
4. Rhys Hoskins (R) LF
5. Maikel Franco (R) 3B
6. Tommy Joseph (R) 1B
7. Jorge Alfaro (R) C
8. Cameron Perkins (R) RF
9. Zach Eflin (R) P

San Francisco Giants (49-74)

1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Hunter Pence (R) RF
3. Jarrett Parker (L) LF
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B
6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
7. Ryder Jones (L) 1B
8. Kelby Tomlinson (R) 2B
9. Matt Moore (L) P

'We're not the worst' banner at stake in Giants-Phillies series


'We're not the worst' banner at stake in Giants-Phillies series

Nobody is paying much attention to this, and for good reason I grant you, but the Giants could end the suspense over which bad National League team is the worst National League team this weekend.

Plan your snacking regimen accordingly.

San Francisco beat Philadelphia last night, 5-4, to widen its stranglehold on 14th place in the National League to four full games. Further success this weekend could widen that to five or even eight games, and that would almost be enough to create an impromptu parade around the ballpark.

The Giants’ future is too amorphous to consider quite yet – we know this by the absurd suggestions that they could be the next home for Giancarlo Stanton.

And you thought the Warriors-to-chase-Paul-George stories were absurd.

But we digress.

The Giants are still figuring out what a rebuild would look like, and how that rebuild would manifest itself, but until it does, there is still the Ypres-like slog of the 2017 season to endure. And this weekend right here is about all that is left.

There is no spoiling the Dodgers’ march to regular season glory. There are no postseason awards for any individual to chase. Catching the Padres for fourth seems increasingly unlikely.

Now there could be a question about whether Bruce Bochy wants to return but none about whether the Giants would do anything to him, and if you need something to chew on, Bobby Evans’ longterm future as general manager might be sufficiently gristly, though we doubt it will result in anything.

There is only the raising of the “WE’RE NOT THE WORST” banner over the promenade in right field. And this looks like the weekend when it can be best be decided. Like we said, snack accordingly.