Is Bruce Bochy perfect? No.He was damn close to it last fall, though, wasn't he? Every button he pushed, every lever he pulled, every hunch he played, every move he made -- they all worked out as though he'd somehow banked a lifetime of good karma and cashed it all in over the course of one magical month.Cashing out means the account is empty, however, and while the Giants got off to a great start this season thanks to many memorable close, late and thrilling wins at perpetually sold-out AT&T, Bochy's star, which was as high and bright as its ever been in the wake of the World Series win, slowly and inexorably dimmed as the season wore on.He couldn't control the injuries -- 25 disabled-list trips among 21 players, many of them easily classified as "key" -- or the underachievement of 2010 stars such as Cody Ross, Andres Torres, Aubrey Huff and Jonathan Sanchez, but the one consistent criticism of Bochy since he's been at the helm on the shores of McCovey Cove again came to the fore as the Giants slipped from the fore of the National League West.You know the knock. Bochy gives the veterans too much rope, and the veterans often hang themselves with it.It seemed a concept of the past last season, when highly paid but ineffective Aaron Rowand was planted on the bench in favor of Torres, and higher-paid Barry Zito was left off the playoff roster for all three rounds. But it reared its ugly head again this season in the form of Bochy's borderline obsessive compulsion with assuming Huff would wake from his season-long slumber with the lumber.So Bochy, particularly of late, has come under fire from the same fans who sang his praises to high heaven less than a year ago, and that should strike any right-minded fan as somewhat unfair.As stated above, Bochy isn't perfect. No manager is. They all have tendencies that will occasionally or eventually bite them in the butt. They also, because their baseball acumen has led to their hiring as a big-league manager, make a ton of brilliant decisions on a daily basis, many of which most observers are unaware.It might be a quick chat at a struggling young player's locker. It might be a pitching change in the sixth inning of a mid-May afternoon game. It might be dropping someone from second to seventh in the batting order, just because. Heck, It might be something as subtle as a look .Whatever they are, Bochy makes them work more often than not, which is why any criticism leveled at him as the season winds down is unfounded and unfair.Yeah, he probably stuck with Huff a little too long, but if you're going to focus on that as the reason for the Giants' failure to make the playoffs, you're ignoring about a thousand other reasons.In some ways, Bochy has had as good a year in 2011 as he did in 2010. The results have been dissimilar, but not as dissimilar as the circumstances. The man's had to come up with nearly as many lineups as the number of games his oft-fractured team has played, and consistency is a cornerstone of success in the bigs. Yet the lineups with which Bochy came up, came through more often than not, and as such a team that was flawed in many ways still managed to play meaningful baseball into the last week of the season.Perfect? No. Bochy is, though, damn near perfect for the Giants, and to a man they'll tell you that.And isn't that good enough?
Bochy not perfect, but perfect for Giants
September 27, 2011, 5:54 am