The Giants on Thursday will pay their every-other-year visit to the White House for winning the World Series, and manager Bruce Bochy was asked what subject he’d like to bring up if the president gave him a minute to discuss any world issue.
“I’d have to think about that,” Bochy told the press.
With his team embedded in the makings of an early-June swoon, a couple of discussion points have emerged for a summit between Bochy and his fellow executive, Barack Obama, should they ever sit in one of those high-back chairs in the Oval Office.
First on the list is the matter of Andrew McCutchen and whether there is anything Washington can do to cool this man off by the next time the Giants play him and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Sacramento Bee
Right now, “Cutch” is on the scald, and it’s San Francisco he’s burning down. He had seven hits in a three-game sweep of the Giants completed Wednesday afternoon at AT&T Park with a 5-2 Pirates victory.
If McCutchen stays this hot, by the time the Giants hit Pittsburgh in late August his batting average will have zoomed by several hundred points. You arrive at this configuration by extrapolating beyond the better-than-.400 he has hit for the past 26 games that was highlighted by a 4-for-5 Tuesday night.
Obama has nearly three months to disarm McCutchen and help out his pals by the bay. The president must be on a first-name basis by now with Bruce and the boys; they come to visit so often – this being their third championship trip to the nation’s capital in half a decade.
It’s almost like Winston Churchill during World War II, when the British prime minister slept in the Lincoln bedroom so often the Roosevelts could have charged him rent.
There will not be a visit for San Francisco next year, though, if they don’t fix the second pressing problem that’s bothering the head of state of Giants Nation. The issue, of course, is the lack of the timely hit. Oh, how Bochy could have used a couple of those in the first two games of the Pirates series.
Who can forget Monday night’s sixth-inning affair? Bochy couldn’t. As late as Tuesday night, he was still talking about the bases-loaded, nobody-out, nobody-scored situation, although it was the pesky press that goaded him into it.
“That’s what wins ballgames for you, is getting those timely hits, especially those two-out hits,” Bochy said.
Some of the Giants’ best left the money on the table.
On Monday, Buster Posey grounded into a double play with two on and one out in the third, and it was the Brandons who misfired in the rotten sixth, with Belt striking out and Crawford hitting into a double play with the club down two runs.
On Tuesday night, Posey flied out to right with two on and two out in the fourth, and Joe Panik rolled one to short with the bases loaded, two outs and the audience on its feet in the eighth.
Pittsburgh’s best added to San Francisco’s early-week ruin.
McCutchen went wild in the Pirates’ 7-4 win on Tuesday. His hits included a 400-foot single off the wall in right-center that would have given him the cycle in just about any other park in America other than Grand Teton National. In Yosemite, the blast would have bounced off the face of Half Dome and Hunter Pence would have fielded it one handed and kept McCutchen to no worse than a double.
Diving, skidding catches by Giants outfielders Angel Pagan and Pence in AT&T’s power alleys that are as wide as Death Valley deprived McCutchen of two hits on Monday night. But neither Pagan nor Pence could get off the mat and fire 375 feet to home in time to stop Pittsburgh pitcher and scorer, Gerrit Cole, from making it home from third – a decisive run in the Pirates’ 4-3 win.
McCutchen, a former National League MVP, finished the month of April batting .194. By May 7, the number dropped to .188, and Andrew expressed his unhappiness on the matter to the Pittsburgh press.
“I’m sick and tired of going 0-for-freaking-4,” he said.
In the 25 games after the exclamation, McCutchen clobbered the ball to the tune of .40-freaking-4.
“I was fed up,” he told reporters Tuesday night about his May 7 mini-outburst. “That’s still how I feel.”
His numbers would be even more monstrous had Pagan and Pence not hustled into the gaps on him. But McCutchen was happy enough he got the two runs home.
“It’s just getting the job done – putting the barrel on the ball, getting the sac fly, doing my job, what I’m supposed to do,” McCutchen said. “They did their job, too, making the catches, getting the outs.”
Bochy’s job on Thursday will be to shake the president’s hand and accept the glory that comes from being a champion. It’s nice, he said, to be recognized by The Leader of the Free World.
“It’s going to be really cool to be back at the White House and be there for a third visit,” the manager said. “It’s a special time and a special memory, to be at the White House and celebrate what happened last year and have the president honor you. The players have a great time with it. In ’12 and ’10 we were treated so well. The players talked about it for days after that. These are memories that you keep. We’re pretty fortunate to have this happen, and we know it.”