Faith in Bruce Bochy, Sanchez’s “Me” Time, and Stewart Getting Freaky

The Giants’ four-game winning streak has been weird, as only TortureBall can be. Capping it off was yesterday’s game, in which the only RBI goes to home plate umpire Bob Davidson for calling a bases-loaded balk. But beyond that, here are some observations from the past week:

First of all, I’d like to point to June 22, when Aaron Rowand started in center field in favor of Andres Torres, even though Twins pitcher Nick Blackburn is right-handed. Many on the Twitterverse and blogosphere (I’m not naming names) started yelling at Bochy, using this as further evidence that he doesn’t understand baseball, etc.

Well, I think we should give Bruce Bochy more credit than that. Bochy obviously knows as much as we do. He knows that Rowand is batting just .177/.242/.262 against righties this year. He knows about Rowand’s deficiencies, and decided to do it anyway. Does that mean he’s a bad coach?

No. It means he knows way more than we do, and we saw that in Andrew Baggarly’s blog on Friday night.

So after Torres’ skid hit 3-for-31, Bruce Bochy met with him and suggested a day off might be a good thing. Torres said he wouldn’t mind having more than one. He confided with Bochy that he had developed a sleep disorder, too.

Herein we have the answer to the riddle. I’m not sure the point I’m trying to make here, except that when Bochy makes a choice, we should consider that maybe he knows a teensy bit more about the players and the situations than we do.

***

Jonathan Sanchez’s injury could be the best thing to happen to him. This year so far he’s been a big bundle of crazy, despite being pretty consistent on the year as a whole. His pitches have been dodging bats as usual (just 6.8 H/9) and he’s striking out batters at close to his career rate (9.2 K/9), but his walks are up with 5.9 BB/9 this year, compared to his career rate of 4.8 BB/9.

Despite his wildness, his ERA is just 3.81, which is just a tad below league average this year, another chapter in the confusing saga of Dirty 57.

A lot of his problem this year seems to be mental, especially looking back anecdotally at his previous starts. Everything from his miscue on the ground ball to first base on April 30, to breaking Shin-Soo Choo’s thumb with a wild throw, means that maybe he’s fighting some internal demons right now. We’ve seen him shape up after a good talkin’ to from Dave Righetti, and we’ve certainly seem him suddenly turn into a Hall of Fame pitcher when the mood strikes him, so hopefully this time off will do him some good. If I were Bruce Bochy, I’d tell Sanchez to spend most of his DL stint sitting at home, drinking a beer, and watching “Rugrats.” Or whatever it takes to relax and unwind.

Two things I’m sure of, though: I’m glad Jonathan Sanchez is on this team, despite everything, and I’m glad that we have the bullpen to back him up.

***

I think that we’re going to see Tim Lincecum and Chris Stewart paired up more often. Given that Lincecum has famously had a little bit of separation anxiety with his catchers, from the Molina-Posey transition and the Posey-Whiteside transition, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Stewart becoming Timmy’s every-start catcher after his gem on Thursday.

We’ve seen this before, when Bochy paired up Sanchez and Whiteside after Whiteside caught Sanchez’s no-hitter in 2009, and that relationship stayed constant till mid-2010, when Posey became the obviously better option than Whiteside.

Considering that the difference in offensive production between the two is negligible, there’s a chance Bochy will do what he thinks is necessary to create stability for Lincecum, and Stewart could be that stability.

What are your thoughts?

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