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. 

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