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Bobby Evans not ready to give up on Giants’ 2017 season



Twenty-nine games into a 162-game season, we went all Lunatic Fringe on Giants general manager Bobby Evans.

On our show Thursday morning, just hours after the Giants won only their second series of the season and reached the magical 11-win mark, I decided to lay bare the most naked of fears in a Giants fans psyche.

Bobby, I asked, at 11-18 and with bad ball all over the Giants ledger . . .  is this thing over already?

Bobby Evans, understand, is a mild-mannered man. No spread-flipper he. So consider his reaction, as soft-spoken as a librarian, about DEFCON 3 for Evans.

“Wow,” he said, and paused. “Wow. I would be stunned by that. That’s a pretty radical reaction.”

There ya go, Fringers. Bobby Evans does not share your estimation that it’s “Turn Out the Lights/The Party’s Over” Dandy Don Meredith time on the corner of 3rd and King. Of course, it’s in his vested interest to keep you all engaged, interested, believing, hoping and buying $18.50 crab sandwiches at the Happiest Ballpark on Earth, but let’s examine the reasons why he thinks it’s not over, and if they carry water.

— The Giants are dead last in the National League in runs scored, and in home runs. How are you going to win games if you don’t put your foot on home plate?

Evans admitted “concern” that veterans in the lineup (read: Hunter Pence, Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Eduardo Nunez) are not producing power numbers commensurate with past numbers. But he maintained that Posey, Pence, Belt and Brandon Crawford all are capable of hitting 20 home runs in 2017. “It’s not time to doubt their power . . . you see those guys getting their shot, getting their numbers,” Evans said.

— The left field situation, which has included names like Aaron Hill, Chris Marrero, Jarrett Parker and now Gorkys Hernandez, Brandon Belt and Eduardo Nunez, seems a massive hole in the lineup. What in the name of Barry Bonds can they do about it?

There was no easy answer from Evans here. He couched it by saying if the other veterans in the lineup produced, left field would be allowed to “evolve.” Unfortunately, in Darwinian terms of evolution, the left field situation is mired in the amphibian stage. Is playing Belt and Nunez the answer for the short-term, until the Giants “get back to .500”, as Evans kept saying? Looks like maybe so, sports fans.

— Mark Melancon was signed to be the one-man savior for the beleaguered bullpen, but his two blown saves were gut punches that have contributed to the blah season. Could Melancon be feeling pressure that affects the precision of his performances?

Possibly, admitted Evans. Melancon was supposed to be the guy who campaigned under the slogan “Make the 9th Inning Boring Again.” It’s been anything but, including last night when he put a couple of runners on and had Corey Seager up as the tying run before nailing down the save. As Evans noted, Melancon’s been a contact-friendly, strike-throwing machine who frequently induces quick ground balls in 12-pitch saves. Evans admitted a “high expectation organization, front office, fan base, city and clubhouse” can add pressure, and that Melancon is “searching a little bit” for that lock down mentality. It’s emblematic of the Giants’ woes that the big free agent closer has to even be discussed at this point, right?

— Christian Arroyo and Steven Okert have arguably been the best part of the last 10 games, in which the Giants have gone a relatively decent 5-5. So why didn’t the club break camp with these two guys on the 25-man roster?

In the case of Arroyo, Evans stuck by the team’s process. He argued that Arroyo’s scalding start in Triple-A Sacramento gave him the confidence to arrive in The Show ready to hit, and even absorb an 0-for-6, three-strikeout night like Wednesday. In terms of Okert, however, Evans admitted: “You want to talk about regrets, yeah, we could very easily regret him not making the club out of the chute.”

All told, the general manager was impressive in his measured tones, his lack of exasperation. Like the baseball season itself, Evans was heavy on patience, short on overreaction. In other words, Giants fans, he ain’t applying for Lunatic Fringe membership anytime soon. That’s up to us to fill that role.