Mauricio Dubon hits 'surreal' homer off Clayton Kershaw in Giants' win

Mauricio Dubon hits 'surreal' homer off Clayton Kershaw in Giants' win

LOS ANGELES -- For years, Giants manager Bruce Bochy would smile, give a quick nod to his lineup and dub the starting nine the "Bomb Squad." That seemed to be his best chance against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. Load up on the righties and hope a Brett Pill or Brandon Hicks or Kelby Tomlinson would hit a surprise homer. Perhaps Joaquin Arias would pick up a big hit. 

Friday's version wasn't quite a Bomb Squad, but Bochy still tried something different. For the first time he could remember, he started nine right-handed batters against Kershaw.

"September baseball at its finest," Bochy joked.

Early on, the latest plan against Kershaw just led to more frustration. The Giants stranded six baserunners in the first three innings. And then their brash rookie shortstop stepped up for the second time. 

Mauricio Dubon fouled off three pitches before doubling in his first big league at-bat against Kershaw. He jumped on a 1-0 slider in the fourth, yanking a solo shot to left. As Dubon watched the ball fly and Kershaw twisted his body in an effort to will it foul, the ball smacked off the netting of the left field pole. It was the memorable blow in a 5-4 win over the Dodgers

Dubon pointed to the dugout and then started to round the bases. When he touched the plate, he pointed into the stands, where a family full of Giants fans was soaking up the boos just as he was. 

"That was awesome. That was incredible," Dubon said. "Listening to boos at Dodger Stadium, Giants-Dodgers -- it was fun."

Dubon joined Hunter Pence and Evan Longoria as the only Giants to pick up two extra-base in one game against Kershaw. He's one of just three current Giants with a homer off him, along with Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner. 

Dubon later added a two-run single as part of a four-run rally. He came up a triple shy of the cycle, and admitted he was fully going for it in his fourth at-bat. 

“It’s a big stage and you wouldn’t know it the way he handled himself,” Bochy said. “He crushed that homer and the double and got another huge hit. He’s got a great way about him. He’s got a lot of confidence. I love the way he carries himself.”

Dubon showed off much more than confidence, though. He's a smart and tough hitter, and he took plenty away from an early season matchup with Kershaw, who rehabbed against Dubon's Triple-A team when he was still with the Brewers. Kershaw pounded him inside that day and had plenty of success. Dubon vowed that if he faced him again he would look inside and not swing at anything on the outer half.

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That led to his first career homer against a pitcher he called "one of the greatest ever." Dubon said he knew it was gone off the bat, but the magnitude of the moment didn't hit him until he was done floating around the bases at Dodger Stadium. 

"It felt surreal," he said. "When I got into the dugout I realized what had just happened."

Source: Giants interested in Cubs' Will Venable for managerial opening


Source: Giants interested in Cubs' Will Venable for managerial opening

SAN FRANCISCO -- Bruce Bochy spent 25 consecutive years as a big league manager, but it appears the Giants are looking to go the opposite route as they search for Bochy's replacement.

Two weeks in, there's a consistent theme with the known names in the managerial search. They mostly are younger and without much, if any, managerial experience, although they are well thought of within the industry.

The Giants started the process by interviewing current coaches Hensley Meulens and Ron Wotus, and a source told NBC Sports Bay Area that A's quality control coach Mark Kotsay interviewed last Monday. Royals quality control coach Pedro Grifol interviewed Thursday, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, and former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler will sit down with Farhan Zaidi, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

Per league sources, the Giants also have interest in Will Venable, who currently is the first base coach for the Chicago Cubs. Venable, 36, spent eight years as a Padres outfielder and finished his career with the Dodgers in 2016, when Zaidi was the general manager there.

A product of Princeton, Venable joined the Cubs as a special assistant in 2017 and was elevated to Joe Maddon's staff a year later. He also is in consideration for the Cubs' managerial opening.

Zaidi has said he expects to interview six to eight external candidates, but it's possible that some of the names connected to the Giants won't necessarily be in a position to be the new manager. This is an opportunity for Zaidi to spend time with some of the brightest young minds on other big league staffs, and some of the candidates may end up in consideration to join the Giants in other roles.

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The coaching staff is expected to undergo significant changes under new leadership, and all of Bochy's coaches had contracts that expired at the end of the 2019 season. Zaidi also needs to hire a new general manager and has said that department heads are still deciding what to do with some longtime front office employees.

MLB rumors: Giants grant Phillies permission to interview Dusty Baker


MLB rumors: Giants grant Phillies permission to interview Dusty Baker

Dusty Baker could reunite with Bryce Harper, and it's all thanks to the ... Giants? 

The Chicago Tribune's Mark Gonzales reported Sunday that the Giants gave the Phillies permission to interview Baker to be their next manager. The 70-year-old currently is a special adviser to CEO Larry Baer in San Francisco. 

Baker last managed in the major leagues when he led Harper and the Nationals to 97 wins in 2017. But Washington lost to the Cubs in the first round of the playoffs that season, despite winning the NL East. 

The Nationals won the NL East both years that Baker managed in Washington DC -- 2016 and 2017 -- and averaged 96 wins in his two seasons. They also failed to advance past the first round of the playoffs both times. 

Baker began his managerial career in 1993 when he won 103 games with the Giants. He served as San Francisco's manager from 1993 to 2002 and compiled an 840-715 regular-season record, though his teams went just 11-13 in the playoffs, including losing the 2002 World Series to the Angels in seven games.

Over his 22-year managerial career, Baker has 1,863 wins to 1,636 losses, but is 23-32 in the playoffs. 

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The Phillies seem to be looking for veteran leadership from their new manager. Along with Baker, MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported Sunday that Philadelphia also will consider Buck Showalter, Joe Girardi and Mike Scioscia as candidates.

Gabe Kapler was fired by the Phillies after the regular season as the team disappointed in Harper's first year on his new team. Heyman reported Saturday that the Giants will interview Kapler for their vacant manager position.