How Giants' Bruce Bochy mixed and matched, got back to .500 vs. Dodgers

How Giants' Bruce Bochy mixed and matched, got back to .500 vs. Dodgers

LOS ANGELES -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy doesn't ever appear all that comfortable when handed a bottle of celebratory wine or a certificate for a free fishing trip. He's equally squirmy when asked if this is really his final month. 

Bochy made up his mind and announced his decision in the spring, but that hasn't kept reporters from prying for the last six months. On Friday, a couple of hours before he would take on the Los Angeles Dodgers, Bochy was once again asked if this is actually it. 

"I know there's lots of things I'll miss," he said. "Right now I'm good with it. I'm not questioning anything I've done as far as stepping down or when I made my decision. I'm comfortable with it."

He's not, however, comfortable with simply riding off into the sunset for a team that won't make the postseason. Bochy intends to go down fighting, and as he watched his players take batting practice, he talked of how difficult it is to lose a game, any game. Dropping three of four in St. Louis in that fashion weighed on him. 

But in Friday's 5-4 win over the Dodgers, Bochy showed he still knows plenty about leading his group to that 27th out. Two sequences stood out: 

--- Buster Posey is having a down year and already had left five on base when he came up with two on in the fifth. Dave Roberts still elected to intentionally walk the catcher, setting right-hander Dylan Floro up to face Joey Rickard. Except Bochy immediately called for Mike Yastrzemski, who hit for Rickard and lined a two-run double into the gap. 

It was just as strange when the Dodgers chose to intentionally walk struggling first baseman Brandon Belt, who pinch-hit for Aramis Garcia. Mauricio Dubon stepped up and poked a two-run single. 

--- With Sam Dyson and Mark Melancon gone and Trevor Gott and Reyes Moronta hurt, the Giants do not have a seventh-inning man. But Bochy sent Tyler Rogers up there with a two-run lead and the submarining rookie got through A.J. Pollock, Will Smith and Chris Taylor. 

Tony Watson was unavailable a couple of days after hurting his wrist, so Bochy mixed and matched in the eighth, with Fernando Abad getting Kiké Hernandez and Corey Seager before Jandel Gustave entered to retire Justin Turner. 

On paper, the Giants should have been thoroughly overmatched in the late innings, but they found a way to get a lead to Will Smith by using three pitchers who spent nearly the entire year in Triple-A. 

"We're beat up in the bullpen," Bochy said. "We're asking guys to pitch in some high-leverage situations and you've got to like the way they've handled themselves."

[RELATED: Will Smith strikes out Will Smith to end Giants' win in LA]

Watching from the clubhouse, Jeff Samardzija liked what he saw from the top step. The night's starter noted that Bochy has had an inconsistent rotation and lost most his bullpen.

"I think this honestly, since I've been here, is one of Bochy's best years," Samardzija said. 

It's ending soon, but there's work to be done, both for the team and the manager. Bochy got to 1,994 wins for his career with 219 coming against the Dodgers. He's now an even 118-118 against them since coming to the Giants with five more matchups to go. 

Giants GM Scott Harris grew up Cubs fan, brother favored San Francisco

Giants GM Scott Harris grew up Cubs fan, brother favored San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO -- As Scott Harris said goodbye to family members on Monday, a Giants employee walked over and dropped off two big bags full of jerseys and orange-and-black gear.

One of his parents needed to load up on the gifts more than the other. 

Harris grew up in Redwood City with a mother who is a Giants fan, but his father, who is from Chicago, is a diehard Chicago Cubs fan. When it came time to pass on their rooting interests, they came up with an easy solution for their children.

"They divided the sons," Scott said, smiling. "I was raised a Cubs fan and my brother was raised a Giants fan, which put my nephew Teddy in an awkward spot because his dad loves the Giants and his uncle was working for the Cubs. Now at least Teddy has a little more clarity."

As Scott finished telling the story, his brother, Chris, laughed and quickly clapped. This worked out well for half of the Harris family. Scott will try and help his mother and brother's favorite team get back to the postseason, and his father has already benefited from the son's talents. Scott was part of the front office that finally brought a championship to Wrigley. 

On his first full day on the job, Scott talked about what made the Giants such a good fit -- aside from the family's rooting interests. He's excited to be back in the Bay Area and noted that as he took profile pictures under the sun at Oracle Park, the temperature was in the mid-20s back in Chicago. Harris has also been through a winter in New York, so he was thrilled to be working back in the Bay Area. The entire Harris family was fired up, too. His parents and brother sat in the fourth row for an introductory press conference and then got a tour of the clubhouse. 

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"I want to thank my family for always supporting me and their relentless pursuit of a way to get me back to the Bay Area. It worked, thank you," Harris said as he looked out as his parents and brother. "It's such a privilege to be here. It's a privilege to come back home. It's a privilege to work for a flagship organization with such a passionate and deserving fan base. 

"I grew up in Redwood City and vividly remember learning what the game looks like at the highest level by watching generations of Giants players come through Candlestick and come through this park."

Giants closing in on new manager after hiring Scott Harris as their GM

Giants closing in on new manager after hiring Scott Harris as their GM

SAN FRANCISCO -- As Giants officials and members of the media filed out of the press conference room at Oracle Park on Monday, a team employee reached over and flicked off one set of lights. Nobody bothered to take down the podium or remove the temporary seating. That all might be needed again in a few hours.

The Giants introduced Scott Harris as general manager on Monday and are poised to hold another press conference for their new manager. Harris is in the process of meeting with the remaining candidates and Farhan Zaidi said he would "have significant input into the final decision."

Zaidi said the manager announcement would come this week, and the Giants were internally preparing to introduce a new manager as soon as Tuesday. There are still three known finalists, and no decision had been made as of Monday morning. There are two who have separated from the pack, though. Former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler and Astros bench coach Joe Espada both have high-level supporters in the organization, per sources, and Kapler met with Giants officials again on Monday. He is said to be the frontrunner at this point. 

The search has lasted more than a month now, in part because it ran as the same time as the search for a new GM.

[RELATED: Why GM Scott Harris didn't root for Giants]

"Having both of these balls in the air at the same time has made scheduling difficult and tricky at times," Zaidi said. "I'm just really happy that we have been able to get (Harris) in place and he does have that chance to connect with those candidates and provide input and really have a say in the final decision that I expect us to make this week."