SAN FRANCISCO – Two Giants pitchers made their major league debuts on Saturday. So did manager Bruce Bochy give the souvenir lineup card to his son, Brett, or right-hander Chris Heston?
“Oh, I threw it away,” Bochy said. “It had so many cross-outs, they could’ve batted out of order and gotten away with it.”
Even when it’s your son’s first big league game, and the first time in major league history that a manager has summoned his offspring from the bullpen, the lineup card in a 17-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers is never suitable for framing.
Bochy said he also got a lecture of sorts from his wife, Kim, for bringing in Brett with the bases loaded in the sixth inning.
It was a move that the elder Bochy had to make after Dodgers manager Don Mattingly challenged an out call at first base to extend the inning – a curious decision in a 13-0 game, but one that Bochy acknowledged he likely would have made as well, if roles had been reversed.
The unwritten rules most often come into play during blowout games. So what’s the decorum for replay challenges?
Bochy said that topic actually came up in the spring training summit at Salt River Fields, when a half-dozen teams watched a presentation put on by Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and umpire supervisors.
“You’re in a tough spot,” Bochy said. “There’s certain unwritten rules. But your runner runs hard and it can be the difference between a hit and making an out. (The player) is going to want you to go out there. If you don’t, he’ll probably be upset. I don’t think you ever stop backing up your player.”
What if Carl Crawford, who was called safe after replays clearly overturned the call on the field, were to end with a .299 average and Mattingly had not come out to challenge? In this job, you manage people and personalities as much as you manage matchups or game scenarios.
“You don’t want to let your player down and you don’t want to go out there, either,” Bochy said. “It’s not a fun place to be.”
The Dodgers might have fudged a few other unwritten rules. Dee Gordon stole second base with an eight-run lead, although it was just the third inning and there’s a division at stake.
The more egregious one belonged to Yasiel Puig for sliding hard and late and wide of the bag while trying to break up a double play, even reaching out his hand to try to clip the leg of shortstop Brandon Crawford.
When you could potentially hurt someone with an eight-run lead, it doesn’t matter if it’s the first inning or the ninth. You’re going to draw the ire of your opponent, and we’ll have to see if the Giants send a love note back to Puig before the season ends.
In other pregame news, the Giants didn’t take batting practice on the field but Brandon Belt did and it’s looking more and more like he’ll be activated before the end of the three-game series that starts Monday at Arizona’s Chase Field.