Unassuming Bochy deserves credit 

At some point this Giants season, somebody’s got to notice.

So far, the story of the 2011 Giants is not pretty.

Ace Tim Lincecum, owner of two NL Cy Young Awards and a World Series ring, is struggling to post a .500 record.
Buster Posey is lost for the season after playing just 45 games.

Pablo Sandoval has been out of the lineup as often as he’s been in it.

Andres Torres is coming up as invisible in 2011 as he was inspiring in 2010.

The Giants’ best pitcher proves to be a veteran of Japanese baseball last seen in the major leagues five years ago — Ryan Vogelsong.

Freddy Sanchez is bound to miss most of the year. 

Aubrey Huff is hitting 40 points below his 2010 average.

Madison Bumgarner is manufacturing not a drop of his 2010 postseason poise.

The Miguel Tejada experiment is proving to be a dreadful failure.

Phenom-to-be Brandon Belt has shown next-to-nothing on the field, just potential.

Jonathan Sanchez is frustrating to a fault. 

With a nightly lineup boasting a rookie shortstop, a backup catcher, a shouldn’t-be-in-the-majors second baseman and a center fielder everybody wanted out of here, the Giants rank near the bottom of the National League in just about every offensive category.

All that on the books, and somebody deserves some credit for this team being in first place for most of June and July, and the vote here goes to manager Bruce Bochy.

He’s managed this 2011 season like a poker player with nothing but bad hands, bluffing his way through one series after another.

He was as good as a manager could be in the 2010 postseason, benching Barry Zito and Pablo Sandoval, while resurrecting Edgar Renteria from the dead.

It could be said that Bochy has been better this year. As George Kennedy said in “Cool Hand Luke,” Bochy’s got “a whole lot of nothing” in 2011. And he’s winning with it.

For the most part, Bochy deserves a tip of the cap for all that he’s not done. He hasn’t panicked. He hasn’t overmanaged.

He’s unassuming in his day-to-day player decisions, keeping Aaron Rowand a part of things, Barry Zito ready to contribute. For Bochy to bench Sandoval during last year’s championship run, and possess the deft touch to resurrect him without a single whimper is managing genius.

And I love the fact that he calls for not a single spark of the spotlight. The overbearing, overmanaging, genius-declared Tony La Russa could use a few lessons in Bochy’s humility.

Few may rank him among the best, but Bochy will walk away from baseball with a championship ring and a résumé that will be applauded throughout the game.

The National League will be in good hands Tuesday night in Phoenix for the All-Star Game, and I won’t be expecting anybody to notice.

Tim Liotta is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to The Examiner. Email him at tliotta@sfexaminer.com.

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