According to Duane Kuiper, Bruce Bochy is not handling the team’s current major slump well. Not in the sense that he is lashing out or blaming players or doing anything destructive. No, he seems to have internalized the problem and although we all may be frustrated, it’s hard not to empathize with him.
Per KNBR, Kuiper had this to say:
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen our manager as down as he is right now. Not down to the point where we’re worried about him, but he just doesn’t know what to do. Any time you’re the boss and you know you’re the guy filling out the lineup card, when you reach a point where you’re just not sure how to get this thing turned around, it’s really frustrating, for him and for the coaches. So you’ve got 17 games left and you’ve got to grind them out. You’ve got to play as hard as you can for a lot of reasons.”
He’s doing the best he can with what he has to work with. He had a roster that should have performed better than it has for the last two seasons, he’s had to contend with injury after injury, and now the team is in a horrible and historic stretch of losing that has to be absolutely demoralizing for everyone involved.
Bochy has been holding team meetings throughout the second half to try to motivate his sluggish offense, but I think we all know how un-motivating meetings can be in our own jobs. The team went out after his latest one and lost their 10th straight game.
But it’s not exactly like the players can just walk out of the meeting and flip a switch. None of them are actively trying to be bad, and they can’t be handling this stretch any better than Bochy is, considering they are the ones that have to take the field every night and take loss after loss after loss.
The skipper tempted fate on Tuesday by saying that it couldn’t get any worse at this point, finally admitting publicly that the team is out of the race. He said that at this point, the players should be playing for each other and for the fans. It’s a low bar in terms of motivation but it’s what they’ve got right now. There are still games to play and MLB has yet to institute a forfeit rule, unfortunately.
Bochy’s contract runs through next season, and it’s hard to see him back after that. Either because he will be ready to be done or because the organization will be ready to move on. For a manager that has had such soaring success in his time in San Francisco, it’s hard to watch what are likely to be his final seasons with the organization go this horribly wrong.