The Road Was One Area Where Giants Managed to Get Much Better in 2019

ATLANTA -- Bruce Bochy spent nearly half an hour in the visiting dugout at SunTrust Park on Sunday morning, chatting with beat writers as he waited for former Braves manager and old friend Bobby Cox to arrive. 

Bochy talked about how he'll miss the road, all the long conversations with coaches on cross-country flights, the visits to landmarks and new ballparks, the camaraderie that comes with a small group spending 81 days away from home. There are parts he won't miss, of course.

"Getting into the hotel at four in the morning, getting a few hours of sleep and having to make the lineup," he said, smiling. "You go across the country and you're playing the next day."

In recent years that has been hard for Bochy's Giants, but in his final season, they matched all the tribute videos with good baseball. The Giants still have a lot of issues to fix before next opening day, and they'll need to find a lineup that's more comfortable at Oracle Park. But at least this is a group that showed it can go into any ballpark and be competitive. 

With a 4-1 win over the Braves on Sunday, the Giants flew home with a 42-39 road record. They went 31-50 away from home last season. In 2017, it was a horrific 26-55. A lineup that has always had issues at home couldn't take advantage of smaller ballparks the last two years, either. But entering Sunday's games, the Giants ranked fifth in the NL in road runs. They have 104 homers in away games this year compared to just 57 at Oracle Park. The pitching staff entered the day with the fourth-best road ERA. When they've scored five runs on the road this season, the Giants are 25-2. 

"We have really done, I think, a pretty good job on the road," Bochy said. "The guys have been doing a nice job on the road of focusing. The hitters have been overall more consistent on the road. It's the home record that I think has hurt us this year."

The Giants are 33-42 at home this year, and that's why they'll fly home Sunday night and spend a week honoring Bochy, not competing for a postseason spot. It's an odd record, and a look at the standings is a reminder of what could have been. The three NL teams with better road records than the Giants -- The Braves, Dodgers and Nationals -- are all headed for October. 

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