Gary Peterson on the manager who might have outmanaged the Hall of Fame manager:
- Even before the first pitch of the postseason, Bruce Bochy was managing like a man who was down to his last out.
Exhibit A: Barry Zito, who was left off the Giants' National League Division Series roster. An organizational decision? Yes. But you can safely assume Bochy was doing plenty of heavy lifting during the round-table discussion.
Exhibit B: Jose Guillen (see Barry Zito, only with considerably less discussion).
This was the first chance we have had to see Bochy manage in the thin air of the postseason, and it has been a bit of a revelation. Turns out the guy who has been criticized for relying too heavily upon fading veterans and sticking too long with underperforming regulars -- at times simultaneously -- possesses the urgency gene.
Bochy rode hot hands, most notably Tim Lincecum in his two-hit, 119-pitch shutout in Game 1. More subtly, he allowed Mike Fontenot to start Game 4 after his triple in Game 3, and he allowed reliever Santiago Casilla to go out for a second inning in Monday night's clincher.
He bailed on third baseman Pablo Sandoval after a miserable first two games. A guy gets some latitude during the regular season. Sandoval never got off the bench in Atlanta, except to join in Monday's postgame group hug.
Bochy swapped big-hitting outfielder Pat Burrell for defensive-minded Nate Schierholtz the first chance he got in all four games against the Braves. He assigned closer Brian Wilson an ambitious six-out save in Game 2. He put three runners in motion in the first couple of innings of Game 3.
Sergio Romo? You could argue him both ways.
"A couple decisions didn't quite work out," Bochy said. "But, you know, you're doing all you can to win every game."
The point is, Bochy kept his foot to the floor. He kept looking for an advantage. When he thought he had found one, he pressed it.
Far too much has been made of Sergio Romo's struggles. No, he doesn't throw hard. But somehow he's been excellent for two-and-a-half seasons, and I don't think we should attribute a great deal of meaning to five batters and three singles.
Similarly, you have to hope that Bochy doesn't go crazy with this anti-Panda thing. No, he hasn't been particularly good this season. What he has been is a lot better than Mike Fontenot. Maybe there's some sort of platoon there, or maybe there isn't. Between Sandoval and Fontenot and Juan Uribe and Edgar Renteria, Bochy should be able to find a combination that provides acceptable hitting and fielding.
Which is sort of the point, right? I admire Bochy's willingness to make moves, and to this point he's made pretty good ones. But to beat the Phillies, he might have take things to yet another level. Especially because no matter what he does, he's not going to have enough left-handed-hitting outfielders to counter Philadelphia's Roys.