Two-faced Giants play different games home and away


Two-faced Giants play different games home and away


SAN FRANCISCO -- Bruce Bochy walked up to the Gatorade bucket after his morning lies-and-whispers media session, filled his cup with some blue concoction and said in a stage whisper, I told Theriot we need 20 bombs from him or were going to be in trouble.

Then he looked up to see who was listening, found a couple, and smiled. Yeah, hes gotta start poppin the ball out of here.

Well, mission failed. Ryan Theriot did not hit 20 home runs Saturday, or even one. He was, however, part of a lineup that got a hit from every slot in the order and treated the Colorado Rockies as they are accustomed to being treated in a 9-3 San Francisco win.

RECAP: Giants 6, Rockies 3

But Bochys undermessage was also received, because he kept going back to it as the day went on. He knows the offense has been a monument to indifference at home, he knows the Giants dont hit home runs in park that has become increasingly cruel to home run hitters, and he knows that his is a team that will go exactly as far as the pitching rather than the hitting will take it.

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Still, nine is nine, especially when it comes after a night of zero, and Bochy subtly reminded the audience that talking about the offense at home is belaboring the obvious, as well as repeating the immutable.

Well, maybe this will get people to stop talking about it for a day, at least, he said after the Giants hit in all but the first and fourth innings, and scored in five of the nine off Colorados Drew Pomeranz, Josh Roneicke and Rex Brothers.

But he knows better. He has to finds his teams offensive efficiencies in other ways, because it is not a team of power hitters, or particularly gifted at scrounging its way on base. It has to take solace in the knowledge that being in the bottom fifth of the league in most of the basic metrics and only above average when one takes into account the ballpark factors.

In other words, the raw numbers at home are going to be mediocre, but the central truth is that they still have the seventh-best record in the majors at home, and whether its pitching, fielding, cheating or stuffed animals that does it, that is the real number.

The Giants, in short, are different teams at home and on the road, and the biggest factor is the place they play. If they were bad hitters in general, they wouldnt be averaging 5.1 runs per game on the road, and on a pace to score a fairly absurd 414.

But the telling part is that they are on a pace to give up 243 at home, which makes their pace of 250 scored a bit more tolerable for the fan base. Not a lot more tolerable, trust us, but a bit more.

They are essentially who they are now -- they pitch at home and hit on the road. They were closer to an even split in 2010, but they won that World Series in September and October on the strength of their pitching staff. Thats how it is, and how it will be for the foreseeable future, and wanting the Giants to be something other than that is time wasted that one could spend wanting to hit the lottery.

Except of course for Ryan Theriot, who at zero is still 20 homers from his target number. Clearly, as Bochy said with tongue jammed deep into Gatorade-filled cheek, he is hurting the ballclub.

Jones finally gets the call, will be Giants' everyday third baseman for now

Jones finally gets the call, will be Giants' everyday third baseman for now

SAN FRANCISCO — Ryder Jones is 23 years old and Christian Arroyo just turned 22, so when Jones got the call to the big leagues, the first step in the preparation process was about what you would expect. Jones and Arroyo fired up the PlayStation and Arroyo started pumping pitches as Jacob deGrom, the starter Jones will face in his debut Saturday. 

“I faced him last night and got a hit and a pop-up,” Jones said, smiling. 

The real thing will be considerably tougher, but Jones said he’s looking forward to the challenge, noting that deGrom will help make his debut that much more memorable. The Giants are looking forward to the debut, too. Jones is a player Bruce Bochy has been eyeing for a while, and he has finally been deemed ready. 

While Eduardo Nuñez is on the disabled list, Jones will be the everyday third baseman. He’s hitting seventh Saturday, one spot ahead of 24-year-old Austin Slater. Arroyo is sidelined by a bone bruise but he should join the other two at some point later this season. 

“Unfortunately we’ve put ourselves in a position here (with our record) where we’re going to look at younger players, but the good thing is that these guys are going to get a chance to show what they can do,” Bochy said. “They’re going to get some playing time. I look forward to watching him play.”

Jones took Aaron Hill’s roster spot after the veteran was designated for assignment. Bochy said Hill was one of his favorite players to manage, noting his professionalism and solid at-bats, despite the .132 average. He hopes Hill gets a shot on a contender, but that won’t be the case in San Francisco this year, and the Jones promotion was the latest indication that a rebuild/reload is underway. 

Drafted in the second round in 2013 — one round after Arroyo — Jones can play third, first and left field. He has more power than most in the farm system, and he’s athletic enough to handle three spots. The Giants will live with the mistakes at third for now, hopeful that the big arm can stick there. 

Jones was batting .299 with 10 homers and 16 doubles in 53 games for the River Cats. The knock on him has always been a lack of patience at the plate, but he has upped his on-base percentage to .390, a jump of 99 points from his 2016 season in Double-A. In June, Jones had put together a .343/.450/.701 slash line. 

“Patience at the plate is the biggest thing for me,” he said. “If you look at all my years in the minors, I was a little aggressive and antsy. You learn as you get older that you have to pick a pitch you can drive.”

The new approach has Jones in a big league lineup -- the real thing, not the video game version. He went millennial with his preparation, but his promotion was as old-school as it gets. The River Cats have a doubleheader Saturday and when Jones reached third base in Friday night’s game, manager Dave Brundage told him he would get one of the two games off. 

“I told him I could play two,” Jones said. “I know we have some older guys there.”

Brundage called him in later and told him he would only be playing the night game on Saturday. 

“But you’ll be in San Francisco,” the manager added. 

Jones called his parents, who will be in attendance, along with his brother and girlfriend. Then he fired up the PlayStation, packed, and prepared for a short flight to San Francisco. He was still so fired up Saturday morning that he couldn’t handle more than a 30-minute nap. 

“I didn’t know what time I could come to the park,” he said. “I couldn’t sleep.”

Giants lineup: Ryder Jones hitting seventh in MLB debut vs Mets

Giants lineup: Ryder Jones hitting seventh in MLB debut vs Mets

Called up on Saturday morning, Ryder Jones will man the hot corner and bat seventh in his MLB debut against the Mets.

New York Mets:
1. Curtis Granderson (L) CF
2. Asdrubal Cabrera (S) 2B
3. Yoenis Cespedes (R) LF
4. Jay Bruce (L) RF
5. Lucas Duda (L) 1B
6. Wilmer Flores (R) 3B
7. Travis d'Arnaud (R) C
8. Jose Reyes (S) SS
9. Jacob deGrom (L) P

San Francisco Giants:
1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Hunter Pence (R) RF
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
7. Ryder Jones (L) 3B
8. Austin Slater (R) LF
9. Johnny Cueto (R) P