Did you know that last year in Fresno, Eli Whiteside struck out 40 times in 116 at-bats? In the majors, he struck out 30 times against four walks in 127 at-bats. Yeah, he’s not much of a contact guy. Or a bat control guy. Or an anything to do with hitting guy. He’s a backup catcher. He catches no-hitters and calls a good game. At no point should he be in a position to get the tying run home if you can help it.
So the only reason you leave Whiteside in for a runner-on-third, no-out situation in the eighth inning is if you’re playing for the 13th inning, Dusty-style. You want to make sure that in case the ground opens up and swallows Whiteside in the 12th, you still have a catcher to put in the game. That’s a silly way to play the game, of course, but you can almost see the logic if you squint.
That’s not what Bochy wanted to do, though. He wanted Whiteside to hit. Then Bochy wanted to burn Molina in the very next at-bat. Perfect. It’s conjoined fail, attached at the fiasco. Bruce Bochy did everything possible to ensure that the worst hitter on the team -- on a team filled with bad hitters, there’s still a no-doubt, bottom of the heap, worst on the team, mind you -- got the crucial at-bat. I don’t blame Whiteside. I blame Bruce Bochy. And maybe Whiteside a little bit, but mostly Bochy.
And that’s how you lose a game in which you allow one single. That, and the Giants couldn’t get a single fly ball when they needed to. If you want to know why the Manny Ramirez game wasn’t worth your rage, it’s because you were saving it for this game. Worst game of the year, and it had better hold that title for a long, long time if there is to be no arson.