SAN FRANCISCO – Giants manager Bruce Bochy is downplaying the early struggles of his starting pitchers, but he acknowledged Friday that ace Matt Cain is a bit off-kilter mechanically.
He added that Cain can remedy his problems during his normal throwing sessions between starts.
“You look at the video, and he’s at times been a little bit off with his delivery,” Bochy said before Friday’s series opener against the San Diego Padres. “That’s going to affect your command. He left some balls over the middle of the plate (Thursday against Milwaukee). His breaking ball has backed up on him a little bit at times. It is something you iron out in the bullpen.”
Through four starts, Cain is 0-2 with a 7.15 ERA, and Thursday’s loss marked just the sixth start of his career in which he’s allowed three homers in a game.
“I’m not really repeating the delivery,” Cain told reporters after Thursday’s game. “I’ve got to find a way to do a better job of that and go from there. Just keep taking small steps and do the right things.”
Cain has company in his struggles, as the Giants’ rotation as a unit carried a 5.07 ERA into Friday’s game. Bochy points out that the season is less than three weeks old and says he’s confident his starters will right themselves.
“They’ve been through it, every one of them,” the manager said. “I don’t care which one you pick out, they’ve had to deal with adversity and their moments. All of them know you’re going to have to deal with these ups and downs. These guys can handle it.”
--The slow start of reigning National League MVP Buster Posey also is raising eyebrows. He’s hitting .213 with just four extra-base hits and five RBIs in 14 games.
Though Bochy has tweaked his batting order slightly, moving Brandon Crawford up to the sixth spot and dropping Brandon Belt to seventh – he quickly shot down any speculation about moving Posey from the No. 4 spot.
“He’s our cleanup hitter.”
Posey said he’s trying not to cloud his mind with too many thoughts, instead concentrating on one or two hitting points as he tries to shake his slump.
“I’m not squaring it up at rate that I would like,” he said. “ But I have been feeling better at the plate the last couple of games. That’s the name of the game is waiting to get that mistake pitch, and fight the tough ones off. The tough thing about hitting is even if get yourself into a good count, you gotta make sure you get the barrel on it.”
--Posey will catch Tim Lincecum for the first time this season Saturday night, and Bochy maintained his stance that it’s more coincidence than anything that Posey hasn’t caught Lincecum to this point.
“The only reason he didn’t catch him this last start … (was) we felt he needed a day off,” Bochy said of Posey. “He’s catching tonight and he’s gonna catch tomorrow night. Now, after that game, I‘ll check on him, and we’ll see how the first two games go and see whether he’ll catch the day game Sunday or not.”
Lincecum is 1-0 but carrying a 5.63 ERA after three starts with Hector Sanchez behind the plate, so he hasn’t exactly thrived without Posey.