Programming note: Giants-Padres coverage starts Friday at 3 p.m. with Giants Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
SAN FRANCISCO – The clubhouse opened to the media and Bruce Bochy wasn’t ready.
The Giants were sending down a player, optioning Adam Duvall back to Triple-A Fresno to clear a roster space for Brandon Belt. But that wasn’t the reason the manager’s office door was shut.
He was meeting with his small council, the players on the team who serve as both his clubhouse barometers and majority whips. And he broadcast a message to backchannel:
It’s time to get cracking.
“The only thing we can do is wash this off, but at the same time, there comes a time when you have to say enough is enough,” Bochy said. “And that’s where we’re at.”
[INSTANT REPLAY: Bumgarner, Giants drop series to Cardinals]
Yes, that is where a team usually finds itself after losing 14 times in 17 home games. The manner of their latest unraveling was disheartening as well. Duvall threw away one easy double-play ball, reliever Yusmeiro Petit made it look worse when he did the same in garbage time, and the Giants missed a chance to win a home series in a 7-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals Thursday afternoon.
They are 0-6 in home series since they swept the New York Mets on June 6-8. They were 21 games over .500 after that heady sweep, and held a 9 ½-game lead in the NL West.
They’ve given all of it back. Now the manager has to make sure his players don’t give in.
“Really, the whole homestand, to come out and struggle the way we did, that was something I don’t think anybody saw coming,” said Bochy, after the Giants went 2-8 against the Padres, Reds and Cardinals and needed 17 shutout innings from Tim Lincecum to claim their two victories.
“That’s part of why it’s not acceptable with the support we have,” Bochy said. “Believe me, it hurts (the players) too, to have a homestand like this. There’s not a good reason to tell you why. It’s up to all of us to do a little more and get out of this thing.”
They’ll have Belt in the lineup Friday at San Diego. Does Bochy envision additional roster changes?
“Right now, no,” he said. “This is our group. They know that. We’ve told them that. This is a good group, a talented group, and every day we think we’re going to come out of it.”
It’s good to think positive. But sometimes that’s not enough. That’s why Bochy marshaled his whips. There’s only so much weight that a manager’s voice can carry before it becomes an eye roll. Now it’s up to the leadership within the clubhouse to get this group to grapple out of a sleeper hold.
“Get mad at what’s happened here and do something about it,” Bochy said. “You’ve got to do that. Do something yourself, including myself, everybody. That’s the best approach.
“Things aren’t going our way at times and other times we’re making mistakes. It hard on the coaches, it’s hard on those guys. We have a lot of baseball left. We have time to get this right. This is a group that has learned from the past. We know how critical every series is now. The margin for error isn’t there anymore, and we’ve got to play good baseball.”
The Giants did well to cover for the loss of Belt for several weeks after he fractured his left thumb May 10. They were less successful after leadoff hitter Angel Pagan scratched himself from the lineup June 15 with back discomfort. There’s still no timetable for Pagan’s return.
At least Belt, who hit nine home runs in 129 at-bats, will be in Friday’s lineup. He’ll hit second behind Hunter Pence, who had an infield single in his first start as the leadoff hitter Thursday. (It was the only hit the top five hitters in the Giants lineup managed against the Cardinals.)
Belt knows a lot of hopes will be pinned to his chest. He said he wouldn’t put additional pressure on himself, but he’s optimistic he can help right out of the chute.
“I feel good now, I feel comfortable with where my swing is at and I saw the ball well in my rehab starts,” Belt said. “So I’m not looking to make any excuses. I’m looking to come out and be productive right away."