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COHN: Notorious mental blunders hurt SF's cause

  • San Francisco Giants' Andres Torres in action against the Arizona Diamondbacks during a baseball game on Monday, April 22, 2013 in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

SAN FRANCISCO

It is bad form to criticize the Giants. It's early in the season. They are contending in their division. They are the defending world champs. And they are good.

But they just lost two of three to the rival Arizona Diamondbacks. Arizona won 3-2 on Wednesday and the Giants' bullpen failed, or as Bruce Bochy likes to say, it had a "hiccup."

The bullpen is not the subject of this article. Sloppiness is. The past two games, the Giants did sloppy things in a mental sense. So, don't read this column as criticism. Read it as pointing out a possible pattern. Read it as constructive commentary concerning mental sloppiness.

To present things in chronological order, I will start with Tuesday's game, a 6-4 Diamondbacks' win, and I will get to Wednesday's 3-2 loss in a moment.

In the top of the 11th on Tuesday, Arizona's Didi Gregorius hit a medium-deep fly ball to left center. Andres Torres approached the ball in a standard fashion, but nothing was standard after that. Torres appeared to lose sight of the ball and let it drop. By the time he picked it up and threw to the infield, Gregorius, who runs like a sprinter — long strides, fast knee action — was at second.

Before Wednesday's game, Bochy, only half-joking, said Torres made a mistake by explaining to centerfielder Angel Pagan that he lost the ball in the lights BEFORE he threw it back to the infield. Bochy's contention was Torres first should have thrown the ball, and explained his problems to Pagan later. Bochy is all in favor of explanations at the proper time. But by explaining first, Torres allowed Gregorius to dash into second. That was unfortunate because Gregorius became the winning run.

Call that play Exhibit One of sloppy thinking. And that means there was a precedence for sloppy thinking going into Wednesday's matinee which would decide who won the three-game series.

Two examples of egregious mental sloppiness stood out on Wednesday, although — and this is important — neither one made the Giants lose the game.

The most egregious play once again involved Gregorius. If I were a poet, I would unashamedly rhyme egregious and Gregorius. But I'm not so I won't.


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