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.