Bochy bent on All-Star victory

Bochy bent on All-Star victory
July 11, 2013, 10:00 am
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Bruce Bochy will manage his third All-Star Game with a career record of 1-1. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Make no mistake about it, Bruce Bochy is out to win the 2013 All-Star Game.

"We have been rewarded from the National League winning by getting home-field advantage," Bochy said Wednesday. "We got two rings partly because of that. So I'll feel a little pressure to win the game."

Bochy acknowledged that it's a departure from All-Star Games of old. While "it's always been about winning," past managers who haven't had World Series home field advantage on the line might have placed more importance on getting players into the game than they did on winning it. That won't be Bochy, who indicated he has no problem keeping All-Stars out in an effort to win.

Bochy will communicate with everyone on his roster once he arrives in New York to inform them if they can expect to play.

"That's what's changed a little bit, the priority is to win the game," Bochy said. "For the National League, we'll do all we can to win the game."

Everything changed in 2002, following Commissioner Bud Selig's ruling to settle the 2001 exhibition with a tie when teams ran out of arms in the 11th inning. Previously, home field advantage in the World Series alternated between the leagues.

Bochy has plenty of experience managing All-Stars. He has a 1-1 career record in MLB All-Star Games (4-1 loss to AL, MVP Pedro Martinez in 1999; 5-1 win over AL behind MVP Prince Fielder in 2011). He's also managed the Major League Baseball Japan All-Star Series twice, compiling a 10-3 record against the Japanese teams in 2004 and '06.

A second career All-Star Game victory for Bochy next Tuesday night would be a welcome escape from all the losing the Giants have been doing lately. They are losers of 14 of their last 16 contests and 10 games under .500 with one series remaining before the All-Stars head to New York. The four days off couldn't come at a better time for San Francisco.

"I think the boys could use a break," manager Bruce Bochy acknowledged Wednesday. "Are they pressing? I think there's a few guys, sure."

It's fair for Bochy to admit. Gregor Blanco is 6-for-41 (.146) over his last 11 games. Pablo Sandoval is 6-for-his-last-54 (.111). And All-Star hopeful Hunter Pence is 3-for-his-last-36 (.083).

For baseball players, such an extended funk impacts all facets of life; five-star meals don't even taste as good.

"That's not exaggerated," Bochy said. "This has been a long one, and it wears on you -- mentally as much as physically. Not just the staff, myself, but the players. They take it hard. There's a lot of pride involved."

Bochy, who has guided the Giants to two World Series victories in three years, isn't losing faith.

"It's not from the lack of the will to win," Bochy went on. "I couldn't be -- really -- prouder of how the guys have handled what we're going through -- not that anyone is accepting it."

Bochy, noting that the cages were full during the team's optional batting practice Wednesday morning, is convinced the team will put its rough stretch in the past, "but sometimes it takes a little longer than expected."

After being swept at home by the Mets, the Giants have just four games in San Diego before they reset for the second half of the season and the 72-game playoff push. You can bet that Bochy will be out to win.

 

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