SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — An out-of-town cameraman picked a bad time to ask Giants manager Bruce Bochy for his thoughts on the pace-of-play rules.
“I’m all for turning it up a notch,” Bochy said after a painfully slow 10-0 loss.
Bochy would like his team to turn it up a notch, too. The Giants fell to 4-12-1 after getting blown out in front of a big crowd at Scottsdale Stadium. They’ve given up double-digit runs in back-to-back games and have allowed nine or more in seven of 16 spring games. Oh, they’re not hitting either, and the fielding has been sloppy at best.
Yes, this is the exhibition season and these are the defending champs. But Bochy has seen enough.
“I know it’s spring training but this is as tough a stretch as I’ve seen in all facets,” he said. “We’re not doing anything well. Hopefully this day off (Wednesday) will let them wash it off.”
The Giants’ 6.06 spring ERA is the worst in the majors and the rotation has allowed 24 runs in 24 1/3 innings. Bochy is more concerned about a sluggish lineup that’s hitting .235 as a group.
“We’re just not swinging at all,” he said. “We’re not swinging with authority. We’re not putting it on the barrel. This has been a tough stretch … We’re not concerned with results as much as swings and contact. That has not been there this spring. That’s what’s got to pick up.”
Bochy said “time of possession” has killed the Giants. He thinks the long innings are draining his position players, who then look worn out at the plate. The Giants have their first off day on Wednesday, and Bochy said the one silver lining is that there is plenty of time for everything to click into place when they return.
“We’re not even close to being ready,” he said.
ROSTER MOVES: The Giants acquired catcher Jackson Williams from the Angels in exchange for cash considerations. Williams will report to minor league camp on Wednesday. Drafted 43rd overall in 2007, Williams is known as a good catch-and-throw guy. He reached Triple-A with the Giants in 2013 and got into seven games with the Colorado Rockies last season.
There’s probably nothing to read into this move. The Giants have a better trio of MLB-ready catchers than any team in baseball, but there’s not much depth behind Buster Posey, Andrew Susac and Hector Sanchez. Guillermo Quiroz is the fourth catcher still in big league camp, but the other two that were here are far away from the bigs. Ty Ross hasn’t gotten past Augusta yet and Aramis Garcia hasn’t played a full minor league season. Jeff Arnold was probably the next Williams, but he just missed a whole season because of ACL surgery.
Minor league camp will all of a sudden be pretty full after all the cuts this morning. After the game, Bochy was asked which guys stood out. He mentioned Mac Williamson, Kyle Crick and Chris Stratton.
HEALTH UPDATES: We’ve got an Angel Pagan injury. That update can be found here. On a more positive note, Tim Lincecum (stiff neck) was feeling much better today and should make his scheduled start on March 21, and Susac felt good after having a cortisone shot in his inflamed right wrist. Susac said he’ll try to swing a bat tomorrow and he could return to the Cactus League this weekend.
NOTEWORTHY: Gregor Blanco went over to talk to Nori Aoki before the top of the fourth inning, and bullpen coach Taira Uematsu ran out of the right-field ‘pen to translate. Aoki has a full-time translator with him, but obviously that won’t be much help if adjustments are needed in the middle of an inning.
I also found it interesting that Brandon Belt tried to lay down a bunt to beat a shift; you’ll see a lot more of that from him this season. Belt was only thrown out because catcher Tuffy Gosewisch made a hell of a spinning scoop-and-throw. I mention that mostly so I can type Tuffy Gosewisch.
Finally, for the first time, it was clear that the Giants are doing things to protect Madison Bumgarner’s arm. The Opening Day starter (who threw 270 innings last season) pitched just two innings against the Diamondbacks before throwing another couple simulated innings in the bullpen beyond right field. Bumgarner got up to the 60-pitch range and said everything felt good. The Giants wanted to be able to monitor Bumgarner’s workload, and it helped that the plan mostly kept him away from the Diamondbacks, the Opening Day opponent.
QUOTABLE: “I have huge plans. I’m getting a haircut. With my head, that’s three hours.” — Bochy, when asked what he’s doing with his day off.