Lincecum, Godfrey kick off Bay Bridge series


Lincecum, Godfrey kick off Bay Bridge series

June 17, 2011

GIANTS (39-30) vs.
A's (30-40)

Coverage begins at 7 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet

OAKLAND (AP) -- Tim Lincecum hasn't pitched like a two-time NL Cy Young Award winner this month. Facing the Oakland Athletics again could help him get back on track.

Lincecum and the San Francisco Giants visit their geographic rivals Friday night when they meet the Athletics in the opener of the latest chapter of the Bay Bridge Series.

The Giants swept a three-game set from the A's last month in San Francisco, highlighted by a dominant outing from Lincecum (5-5, 3.41 ERA), who tossed a three-hitter and fanned six en route to the 3-0 win May 21.

"I'd say it's got to be right up there with his best performance," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said after Lincecum's 133-pitch outing.

KILLION: Melvin brings new twist to Bay Bridge Series

Nicknamed "The Freak," Lincecum won his next game but has been quite hittable after that, posting a 9.39 ERA while going 0-1 in three starts.

The right-hander couldn't pinpoint a reason for his poor results.

"I don't feel like it's fatigue, I don't feel like I'm getting tired. I don't feel like anything is broken. I just feel like it's a matter of just getting back to being me," Lincecum said after lasting a season-low four innings at home, where he was reached for career high-tying seven runs, seven hits and four walks in a 10-2 loss to Cincinnati on Saturday.

Lincecum could quickly shake off his struggles given that he's 5-0 with a 1.17 ERA in six starts against the A's, and 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA at the Coliseum.

However, he didn't pitch last season in Oakland, where San Francisco (39-30) was held to one run while losing all three games in May.

RATTO: Bay Area rooting interest? A's sweep Giants

Rookie Graham Godfrey (0-0, 10.38) will make his second start for the Athletics. The right-hander, who was recalled last Friday to replace the injured Brett Anderson, surrendered five runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings of Oakland's 7-5 win over the Chicago White Sox.

"In the middle of my outing, I was attacking hitters and getting ahead. That's what made me more successful," Godfrey said.

The victory was the first for interim manager Bob Melvin, who replaced the fired Bob Geren on June 9. Melvin is a Bay Area native, played collegiately at California and with the Giants from 1986-88.

San Francisco failed to complete a three-game sweep of Arizona after a 3-2 loss in 10 innings Thursday. Pat Burrell's sacrifice fly in the ninth tied the score 2-all, but Santiago Casilla served up a walkoff homer to Justin Upton.

The loss reduced the Giants' lead in the NL West to 1 12 games over the Diamondbacks.

"It is good to come in and get the series," Bochy said. "We were real close to getting this last one."

Last-place Oakland (30-40) comes in having won two straight and is 3-4 under Melvin following an 8-4 victory over Kansas City on Thursday. Rookie second baseman Jemile Weeks - brother of Milwaukee's Rickie Weeks - had two hits, drove in three and is batting .344 (11 for 32) since being recalled June 7.

The A's batted .183 against the Giants last month, and .238 under Geren. The team is hitting .245 since Melvin took over.

Cubs' Epstein: 'History doesn't really weigh on this club'


Cubs' Epstein: 'History doesn't really weigh on this club'

The Cubs are going to the World Series.

Yes, you read that right.

The Cubs are going to the World Series.

The Curse of the Billy Goat is broken. 

The 71-year drought is over. 

The truly once-in-a-lifetime moment has finally come to Chicago.

Holy cow.

The Cubs punched their ticket to the promised land with a 5-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Best Pitcher on the Planet in front of 42,386 fans in the most euphoric moment in Wrigley Field's history.

Theo Epstein's vision is one step closer to coming to fruition.

"History doesn't really weigh on this club," Epstein said before Saturday's Game 6. "Just trying to win tonight's game. 

"These guys - a lot of them are in their early 20s and they're not burdened by that stuff. The organization isn't. It's just about trying to win and keeping it simple."


Rewind: Sharks slow, sloppy and undisciplined in loss to Wings

Rewind: Sharks slow, sloppy and undisciplined in loss to Wings

DETROIT – The Sharks had just one scheduled practice on their 10-day road trip, set to take place on Friday in Detroit prior to the fifth and final game against the Red Wings. It was canceled, though, as the coaching staff opted for rest rather than work.

The result was a 3-0 loss to the Red Wings in which the Sharks were sloppy in their own zone, were smoked in the faceoff circle, surrendered a plethora of odd-man rushes, and took eight minor penalties. They just couldn’t keep pace with a Detroit team that was playing its second game in as many nights. 

San Jose looked like a club that has held just a single solitary practice since the season began on Oct. 12.

“Some breakdowns, guys not being above [the puck], some giveaways in our own end, we’re kind of leaving [the defensive zone] early,” Logan Couture said. “We just don’t seem like we’re dedicated to defense like we were at the end [of] last year.”

[KURZ: Instant Replay: Sharks blanked by Wings, end road trip with thud]

“It wasn’t very good tonight,” added Martin Jones, who lost his third in a row in goal. “Too many penalties, too many turnovers. Just wasn’t very good tonight.”

The start was actually a decent one, as the Sharks were attempting to put Thursday’s third period collapse in Pittsburgh behind them, but Detroit eventually took over. Gustav Nyquist broke the scoreless tie four minutes into the second period, and added to the Red Wings’ lead with a second marker about 11 minutes later.

On the first, Paul Martin was caught flat-footed in the offensive zone, leading to a two-on-one rush by Detroit. Nyquist abruptly stopped on the faceoff dot in front of Justin Braun, and rifled a shot though. On the second, Matt Nieto had control of the puck and was headed up the ice before he stumbled and turned it over to Ryan Sproul, who found Nyquist in the slot. 

A bad line change resulted in Andreas Athanasiou powering a slap shot to Jones’ far side six minutes into the third period, giving Detroit a commanding three-goal lead. 

“We were late everywhere tonight,” Pete DeBoer said. “When you’re a step behind a good team they expose you, and I think that was the story. We’ll have to go back and figure out why, and get our game back in a better place.”

“We played into their hands. They’re a transition team, a speed team, and if you’re going to play east-west and turn the puck over they’re going to make you pay for it. We talked about it, but we still fell into that trap. Obviously the penalties didn’t help, and we’re playing catch up all night.”

Among those penalties was a double minor to Joe Pavelski for spearing Steve Ott, just a few seconds after Athanasiou’s goal. The captain seemed agitated for much of the night.

Pavelski said he didn’t think he got a whole lot of Ott with his stick, but “it’s a play you don’t want to make.”

DeBoer didn’t take issue with the play which nullified what would have been a Sharks power play after a Drew Miller interference.

“Pav is a competitor. He was probably our best player tonight. He’s competing right until the final buzzer,” DeBoer said. “I don’t have a problem with that. It doesn’t bother me.”

The power play, though, is one area that the coach may need to focus on when the Sharks finally get a practice in on Monday at home. Despite being together for so many years, the top unit seems tentative with the puck and is misfiring on passes that are typically routine.

On one power play in the second period when the game was still scoreless, Pavelski was open in front of the net, but Patrick Marleau missed him on what would have been a tap-in goal. The Sharks finished 0-for-4 with a man advantage and have just one goal in a manned net this season during five-on-four play.

What has to change?

“Quite a few things,” Couture said. “We’re breaking in fine, [but] we’re too stationary, I think. I don’t know if we’re moving the puck well enough. Not attacking holes, not shooting the puck and getting it back.”

The Sharks will open up a three-game homestand on Tuesday with the Ducks. There is work to do before that.

“We’re 3-3. That’s the good news,” DeBoer said. “I think we’ve played some good hockey, but we have a lot of things we’ve got to clean up, too.”

Jones said: “Obviously it wasn’t the way we wanted to end the road trip. We’ll bounce back, and we’ve got a lot of games left.”