Bruce Bochy hoping for better second half with Giants on pace for 92 losses


Bruce Bochy hoping for better second half with Giants on pace for 92 losses

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants played their 81st game of the season on Friday night, and as Bruce Bochy realized that his final year was halfway done, he smiled and started cracking jokes. 

"I'm halfway there," he said. "I'm on the back end of this ride."

Bochy joked about how much fun he'll have, but the truth is he fully intends to keep it as serious as ever between the lines. He was incensed with the strike zone in the first game of this series, barking at the home plate umpire even as his own lineup managed just three hits. 

The Giants have the second-worst winning percentage in the National League, but Bochy remains hopeful that better baseball is ahead. As is, his team is 35-46 after a 6-3 win over the Diamondbacks on Friday night. 

"We're disappointed," Bochy said before the game. "We looked at a lot of the games and they were games we should have, could have won. There's a mistake here or there or not quite the right execution. Little things caught up with us in the first half, and hopefully we get that turned around."

The Giants are on pace for 92 losses, which would be the second 90-loss season in three years. The franchise has just 12 of them in 136 previous years of existence, so yes, this is a historically bad era of Giants baseball. 

Here are some other stats through 50 percent of the season:

--- The home run leaders at the halfway point: Brandon Belt, Kevin Pillar and Pablo Sandoval at 10 apiece. The Giants still are way behind the rest of the league, but they have three guys on pace for 20. They haven't had a 20-homer season since Brandon Crawford in 2015. 

--- At .224, the Giants have the worst team batting average in the Majors, and it's not all that close. There isn't a player from the Opening Day lineup hitting above .250, and the group is on pace to shatter the previous franchise low average of .233 set in 1985. 

"The offense is not what I thought it would be," Bochy admitted.

The manager said he's hopeful this turns around, in large part because this type of sustained play is unprecedented for most of his regulars. 

"Some guys are where they've never been," he said of the stats. 

--- Through 81 games, the Giants have used 11 different left fielders, although they appear to finally have some stability there with Alex Dickerson swinging a hot bat. The two players with the most time in left for the Giants this season -- Gerardo Parra and Mac Williamson -- are with the Nationals and Mariners, respectively. It'll be hard for the Giants to reach the 14 left fielders the 2017 squad used, but September call-ups might get them there. 

--- Asked what he would like to see over the final 81, Bochy at first mentioned consistency from the starting staff, noting that this roster wasn't built to win with offense. 

Madison Bumgarner has a 4.21 ERA and Jeff Samardzija is up to 4.52 despite a solid start. Derek Holland and Dereck Rodriguez, members of the Opening Day rotation, are long relievers, and Drew Pomeranz nearly lost a rotation spot, too. 

Shaun Anderson and Tyler Beede have gotten a long audition and both have the talent to be part of the solution for years to come. Anderson had another solid start Friday and has a 3.86 ERA through his first nine big league starts. 

--- There have been some bright spots, and two players could share Team MVP rights through 81 games. Pablo Sandoval has a .879 OPS and leads the position players with 1.0 Wins Above Replacement (the team leader is still just 132nd in the Majors in WAR). Will Smith is 21 for 21 in save opportunities and leads the staff with 1.2 WAR. 

They both have been really good from start to finish, and Smith is going to be an All-Star for the first time. 

[RELATED: Posey, Crawford turn back the clock in win over D-Backs]

--- It's been a negative first half, so, sorry, we're ending on a negative. And this one is ... well, you might want to sit down. 

The holdovers from Opening Day -- Posey, Belt, Crawford, Panik, Longoria and Duggar -- have combined for 1.6 WAR. Tom Murphy, who was claimed off waivers and then traded to the Mariners in the hours before the opener, has been worth 1.2 WAR by himself. 

Giants vs. Braves lineups: Johnny Cueto hopes to continue dominance


Giants vs. Braves lineups: Johnny Cueto hopes to continue dominance

After a night to forget, the Giants will once again take the field in Atlanta against the mighty Braves, who clinched the NL East division title in a 6-0 win over San Francisco on Friday night.

Bruce Bochy’s group got a front-row seat to the Ronald Acuna Jr. show, as the superstar 21-year-old reached base all four times he went to the plate, including a towering two-run homer off Tyler Beede.

The Giants will send Jonny Cueto to the mound, who continues to impress in his return from offseason Tommy John surgery. Cueto didn’t factor into the decision but tossed five scoreless innings with just three hits allowed in his last start at Oracle Park against the Marlins.

Opposite Cueto will be 25-year-old Max Fried, who has had a breakout season in 2019. Fried is second in the NL in wins with 16 on the year.

[RELATED: How Padres firing Andy Green could impact Bruce Bochy, Giants future]

Coverage begins at 3:00 PT with Giants Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming in the MyTeams App.

Here are the lineups for Giants-Braves:
San Francisco Giants (74-80)
SS Mauricio Dubon
1B Austin Slater
C Buster Posey
3B Evan Longoria
CF Kevin Pillar
LF Joey Rickard
RF Jaylin Davis
2B Cristhian Adames
RHP Johnny Cueto (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
Atlanta Braves (95-60)
CF Ronald Acuna Jr.
2B Adeiny Hechavarria
3B Josh Donaldson
LF Adam Duvall
C Francisco Cervelli
1B Austin Riley
SS Dansby Swanson
CF Billy Hamilton
LHP Max Fried (16-6, 4.25 ERA)

How Padres firing Andy Green could impact Bruce Bochy, Giants future

How Padres firing Andy Green could impact Bruce Bochy, Giants future

ATLANTA -- Bruce Bochy hasn't even had a chance to open most of the alcohol he was given on his season-long farewell tour, and he already might find himself in the rumor mill regarding another job. 

The San Diego Padres fired manager Andy Green on Friday, and you can bet Bochy's name will come up in some regard, even though he's eight games from retirement. Bochy has said all season that he is happy with his decision, but he also has at times left the door open to managing again down the line. At the very least, Bochy knows he'll be involved in baseball in some capacity next season, and the Giants have had discussions about what kind of title to give him.

Bochy won 951 games in 12 seasons in San Diego and still lives in Poway, a small city not far from Petco Park. Regardless of whether there's interest on either side, Saturday's decision will have some impact on the Giants. 

The Padres trail the Giants in the standings, but have a much better farm system, more young talent at the big league level, and a couple of entrenched superstars in Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. Their opening looks more appealing at the moment than the one that Farhan Zaidi will present to candidates in the coming weeks, and the two modern front offices could be vying for the same candidates. 

[RELATED: Giants' Tyler Beede showing signs of hope despite continued struggles]

The hire will have another type of impact on the Giants' future. The Padres have long been considered a sleeping giant by many in the industry, and with the right manager they could present another significant NL West hurdle for the Giants over the next couple of years. 

Soon, we'll find out which man the Padres consider to be that right fit. And we may find out just how committed Bochy is to drinking that wine and taking all those free fishing trips he has accumulated.