Bochy pleased with first half, expects more

Bochy pleased with first half, expects more

Bochy pleased with first half, expects more
PITTSBURGH -- As the Giants prepared for their last game before the All-Star break, manager Bruce Bochy had one eye focused on the second half of the season while the other remained reminiscent of the first.

Speaking before Sunday's series finale at PNC Park, Bochy talked about improvements he'd like to see in the Giants' offense and mentioned a few first-half surprises that have been good for his ballclub.

"I think we have to do a little better job against the right-handers," Bochy said. "We have some guys that have had a lot of success against right-handed pitching. I think that's got to pick up."

The manager added: "I think our at-bats with runners in scoring position, you know, we're going to have to get a little better there, both with less than two outs and the two-out hits. We're near the bottom on those two. We'll need to improve in those areas."

Entering Sunday's rubber match against the Pirates, the Giants have hit .224 with runners in scoring position, 28th in baseball. With runners in scoring position and two outs, San Francisco is hitting .184, second to last in the Majors. Over the last 11 games, the Giants' RISP average is .202 (21-for-104).

"I think we have the talent here," Bochy said. "If you look at what we're hitting, the guys we're getting on base, the opportunities we're creating, we should be able to score four-plus runs a game."

Bochy has been worried about fatigue lately, especially during the club's recent road trip, which saw high temperatures in Washington and Pittsburgh.

"As we get into the second half, we'll have to make sure we keep some guys rested that need it," Bochy said.

All of this notwithstanding, the manager is pleased with the way the first half has gone. His club came into Sunday trailing Los Angeles by just a half-game in the National League West. With a Giants win and a Dodgers loss, San Francisco would enter the All-Star break leading the division.

They've been helped along the way by All-Star Buster Posey, whose effectiveness and stability was a concern coming out of Spring Training, considering the devastating leg injury that ended his 2011 season after just 45 games.

"He's held up well. That's been nice," Bochy said about his catcher, who in 76 games this year has hit .288 with 10 homers and 43 RBIs.

In addition to Posey, Bochy mentioned Gregor Blanco and Melky Cabrera as guys who have exceeded his expectations. Blanco made the club out of Spring Training and has been a steady outfielder with a .255 average. Cabrera, of course, is an NL All-Star starter who entered Sunday ranked second in baseball with a .353 average.

Bochy said the Giants knew Cabrera could hit the baseball, but "seeing him day in and day out, you get a chance to see how good this guy is," the manager said. "He's even better than we thought."

"We'll take where we're at right now," Bochy said. "This is what you play for, to be right in the thick of things at this point, and we are."