There’s no denying it. The Giants are struggling.
Giants fans are celebrating the fact that Aubrey Huff is no longer hitting below .200. They can’t say the same for Cody Ross or Miguel Tejada. In fact, the 6-7-8 hitters in Thursday’s lineup were all hitting under .200 (Ross, Tejada and Eli Whiteside).
But not only are the Giants hitters in a slump, so is manager Bruce Bochy.
The skipper has not made solid contact when trying to put on plays to help a lineup struggling to put runs on the board.
On Tuesday, we saw Bochy more animated than we’re used to see him, when he angrily kicked a dugout step when the Giants failed to get a runner home from third with no one out in the ninth inning of a 6-6 ball game.
Or maybe he was upset with himself for not putting on a play.
Here’s how it went down.
Leading off the top of the ninth, the Giants had a rare combination of speed with Emmanuel Burriss and Darren Ford leading off.
The problem with these two speedsters is that they first must get on base. But Burriss and Ford both accomplished that feat — by hitting the ball a combined 75 feet.
First Burriss reached on a swinging bunt. Then he stole second base.
Ford tried to bunt him over to third, which he did. But his bunt was so good, it allowed Ford to reach first.
So now the Giants had runners on first and third and no outs. Bochy let Rowand swing away to get a run home. Not a bad strategy as Rowand was one of the hotter hitters in the Giants lineup during the road trip.
But Rowand popped out in foul territory to Mets first baseman Ike Davis.
Then came Miguel Tejada — he of the sub-.200 batting average. Instead of putting on a play like a suicide squeeze or safety squeeze, utilizing Burriss’ speed and Tejada’s ability to put a good bunt down (we’ve seen it a couple of times this season), Bochy let Tejada swing away.
He popped out. The only surprise there is that he didn’t strike out.
Then after Mike Fontenot (the most feared No. 3 hitter in the majors) walked, Buster Posey popped out to end the inning.
Then came Wednesday. The Giants had Nate Schierholtz on third and Tejada on first with one out and Cody Ross at the plate.
Ross had worked the count full when Giants announcers Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow had this exchange:
Mike Krukow: “Well, do you start Tejada (from first base)?”
Duane Kuiper: “I do not.”
Krukow: “You’re bettting on contact. And Cody Ross already has swung through two fastballs. That’s what you’re looking at if you’re Bruce Bochy.”
Makes sense. Except Bochy must have been in the toilet during those first two whiffs by Ross because he sent Tejada.
Ross swung and missed for strike three, Tejada was hung out to try and Schierholtz tried to make something happen by breaking to the plate. But he was thrown out.
So Bochy has been aggressive when he should have been conservative, and conservative when he should have been aggressive.
Fortunately, those two previous situations came in Giant wins.
Let’s hope that a return home this week helps the Giants break out of their hitting slump. Because Bochy’s batting average is not so hot right now either.