Giants

What Bruce Bochy took away from final first half as Giants manager

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AP

What Bruce Bochy took away from final first half as Giants manager

SAN FRANCISCO -- When the Giants visited Petco Park last week, four fans sat behind the visiting dugout in custom T-shirts displaying a clear message: "THANK YOU, BOCHY."

The Padres, Bochy's team before he joined the Giants, have not yet done anything significant to honor their former player and manager, but they do have time. The Giants visit San Diego again later this month. 

Some other teams have, though, and as Bochy makes one final lap of the National League, he has been greeted with a constant stream of former players, coaches, media members, scouts and others who just want to stop by the manager's office and wish him well. 

Bochy already is on the back nine of his final season, and last week, he said the first half gave him appreciation for all aspects of the game. 

"You know, I have a deeper appreciation for just coming to the ballpark, hanging around the players, the staff, the game itself," Bochy said. "You see things winding down, you do savor and appreciate it more."

The Giants are 41-48 in the final first half for Bochy, and they need 33 wins to get him to 2,000 for his career. That would be a nice way to go out, but regardless, Bochy is going out with plenty of love. At several stops, he has been given gifts (it certainly has stood out when teams don't even mention it's his final series in a city), and he has joked about all the alcohol that has been delivered to his office this season.

"Yeah, I think they've been watching how things have been going [for the team]," Bochy cracked last month. "I certainly will enjoy it. It looks like I have a problem, but I don't, trust me."

Here's the known haul so far:

--- Cincinnati Reds: They hosted the Giants in early May and were the first team to acknowledge Bochy with a pre-game tribute. Reds manager David Bell, a former Giants player and front-office employee, gave Bochy custom wine glasses, a wine carafe and a custom-made bourbon ice chest from a local company. 

"That was pretty special," Bochy told the Mercury News. "When I was a young kid, my dad was a Reds fan, which made me a Reds fan, so that was pretty cool."

--- Miami Marlins: Longtime Giants reliever Sergio Romo visited the clubhouse when the team was in Miami and gave Bochy a bottle of Don Julio 1942 tequila.

"I gave him a token of appreciation for the faith and trust that he had in me for all those years," Romo told MLB.com. "I feel I can count the amount of people that have taken a chance on me in my life on two hands, and he's on that. He's one of those fingers."

Derek Jeter, now the Marlins' CEO, also visited Bochy privately and gave him a going-away gift.

[RELATED: Bochy hoping for better second half]

--- Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles gave Bochy engraved Sagamore Spirit Rye bottles and glasses. Their manager, Brandon Hyde, is from Santa Rosa and met with Bochy for a pre-game ceremony on the field.

Hyde told Orioles beat writers that the moment was awesome for him.

"He's somebody I truly admire," Hyde said. "He's a Hall of Fame-level manager that has done a lot of great things in this game. Really cool to be on the same field as him, and I think he appreciated it. It's the least we could do."
 

What's behind Giants' four catcher's interference calls in 18 games?

What's behind Giants' four catcher's interference calls in 18 games?

The Giants knew they would miss Buster Posey's approach at the plate, his arm behind it, his framing and his leadership on and off the field. 

When Posey opted out of the 2020 season after a week of Summer Camp, he left huge spikes to fill, and the front office and new coaching staff knew it couldn't be done. 

But they never really could have anticipated having such issues with one aspect of the position that normally isn't a huge problem at the big league level. When Chadwick Tromp clipped Josh Reddick's bat with his outstretched glove in the third inning of a 6-4 loss, it was the fourth catcher's interference call on the Giants in 18 games. 

To put that into perspective, Posey has three ... in his entire career.

Posey has been called for catcher's interference just one time over the past six seasons, including none last year, when the Giants had just one. The first three this year were called on Tyler Heineman, but the one on Tromp was especially costly. It wiped the second out -- Reddick grounded out softly -- off the board for Logan Webb with the Giants trailing just 1-0. The Astros would end up scoring four runs in the inning.

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]
 

After Heineman's second one over the course of the first week, Kapler said the staff had asked the rookie to get closer to the plate for guys with big 12-6 breaking balls. But Kevin Gausman -- who had the third one called during his start in Denver -- doesn't fit that description, and neither does Webb. The issue on Monday was something else, Kapler said. 

"It's a little different with the runner in motion there. One of the adjustments (Tromp) has made has been to get his momentum going through the baseball and I think, witnessing the whole field, he probably got a little bit anxious and went out to get that ball a little bit too soon," Kapler said. "Reddcik has a tendency to lay the bat into the zone pretty early and extend so those two things lined up and he just clipped the glove."

Tromp explained it similarly. 

"My momentum took me to the ball and I think that combined with Reddick, I think he has like a long swing, and I think those two played a factor," he said. "Bad timing. I felt horrible, but that's just kind of what happened. My momentum took me into the throw, and it's just unfortunate."

If this feels like a bizarre mistake for a team to keep making, it's because it is. The Diamondbacks and Cubs led the majors last year with six catcher's interference calls in 162 games. The Giants have four in 18 games, while the other 29 teams entered play Monday with five combined. 

Asked a second question about the trend, Kapler shifted the focus. 

"I just really want to keep this as a team thing. We win as a team, we lose as a team, we stick together as a team. We make a comeback tonight against a rough reliever as a team," he said. "As a team, I think the fewer mistakes we make, the quicker we can clean up those mistakes, the more likely it is those comebacks turn into wins and not just valiant efforts."

[RELATED: Krukow believes Astros getting "free pass" this season]

As a team, the Giants have 21 errors, four more than any other team in the big leagues. They had three on Monday and should have had a fourth. Donovan Solano's whiff of the leadoff grounder in that third inning was ruled a single and got the whole thing started. 

It's surprising that the Giants , who had two encouraging camps, have kicked the ball around so often. It's also costing them wins in a season where every game is the equivalent of 2.7. The lineup scored three runs in the ninth, but too much damage had been done with the early sloppiness. 

Giants takeaways: What you might have missed in 6-4 loss to Astros

Giants takeaways: What you might have missed in 6-4 loss to Astros

BOX SCORE

The Giants have gone all-in on advanced stats, and for good reason. But sometimes you can describe a performance in the most old-school way possible and say everything you need to do. 

Through eight innings Monday night in Houston, the Giants had three errors and just two hits. There's all you need to know. 

A rally in the ninth put the tying run on first, but the hole was too deep and the Giants lost 6-4 to the Astros. This was yet another ugly performance for a team that leads the majors with 21 errors, and the lineup flirted with a no-hitter for a couple hours.

Here are three things to know from the night the Giants fell to 2-6 on the road trip ... 

Deserved Far Better

The frustration showed on Logan Webb's face throughout the third inning, and you can't blame him. Webb needed 36 pitches to get out of the frame and gave up four runs, through little fault of his own. The young right-hander got six outs, but one grounder was booted, another was wiped away by a catcher's interference (the fourth of the year by the Giants, incredibly) and a third was thrown away. 

Only two of the five runs Webb gave up were earned, meaning he has allowed just five earned in four starts this year. He's off to a good start. It would be much better if he had a functional defense behind him.

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

No Backup Plan

Donovan Solano made a couple of errors at third base, and he also whiffed on Jose Altuve's grounder that was ruled a single but had a hit probability of just four percent. Solano was starting because manager Gabe Kapler wanted to give Evan Longoria a day off, but as good as he has been at the plate this year, he is miscast at the hot corner. 

The problem for the Giants is that Wilmer Flores doesn't look like he can really play there, either, and Pablo Sandoval doesn't seem like an option. Longoria is close to an everyday player, but the Giants don't really have a good alternative when they want to give him a breather. It might be worth a shot to move Mauricio Dubon over there and let Solano and Flores stay at second base.

[RELATED: Krukow believes Astros getting "free pass" this season]

Slater Tater 

Austin Slater hit a solo shot in the eighth to get the Giants on the board. It was his third homer in three days and came on a 96 mph fastball from right-handed reliever Josh James. 

The Giants didn't have a hit against McCullers until Solano pulled a double past Alex Bregman's glove with one out in the seventh. The hit gave Solano a 15-game hitting streak, the longest by a Giant since Angel Pagan went 19 games in 2016. He later added a second double.