Lincecum looks for more dominance vs. D'backs

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Lincecum looks for more dominance vs. D'backs

May 10, 2011

ARIZONA (15-18) vs.
GIANTS (18-16)
GIANTS COMMUNITY FUND RING RAFFLE

Coverage begins at 6:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The first six weeks of the season weren't easy for the San Francisco Giants, but the defending World Series champions are hoping they finally have some momentum after finishing off their first sweep.

Having Tim Lincecum on the mound for the opener of a home series with Arizona could be a great recipe for the start of another.

NEWS: Torres, DeRosa in Giants' Tuesday lineup

Coming off perhaps his sharpest outing of the season, Lincecum faces the Diamondbacks on Tuesday night looking to give the Giants their 16th win in 20 meetings.

San Francisco (18-16) hasn't exactly come roaring out of the gate in defense of the franchise's first championship in 56 years, but it's above .500 despite outscoring only San Diego and Minnesota.

Pitching keyed the Giants' World Series run, and that's again been the team's strength this season. San Francisco starters posted a 1.86 ERA in a three-game weekend series against Colorado, capped by 6 1-3 innings of one-hit ball from Ryan Vogelsong in a 3-0, sweep-completing victory Sunday.

REWIND: Ross powers Giants to sweep of Rockies

San Francisco has won five of six despite totaling 21 runs.

"It's early but it's good to get a sweep," manager Bruce Bochy said. "There's so much baseball left. This is going to be a battle but we certainly helped our cause by coming in here and winning some games."

The Giants have certainly had the Diamondbacks' number in recent years, winning 13 of 18 in both 2009 and 2010. San Francisco took two of three at Chase Field from April 15-17 and has outscored Arizona 93-61 in going 15-4 in the last 19 matchups.

Lincecum (3-3, 2.47 ERA) will try to keep it going after an outstanding effort in New York on Wednesday. After a pair of so-so starts in losses to Atlanta and Washington, the two-time Cy Young Award winner bounced back against the Mets, holding them to five hits over seven innings and striking out 12 in a 2-0 win.

The right-hander surpassed Christy Mathewson for the most double-digit strikeout efforts in team history with 29 - three of which have come in his last six starts.

"Terrific job," Bochy said. "He's one of those special guys, when he's had to turn it up a notch he can do it."

Lincecum has typically turned it up against the Diamondbacks (15-18), though he was just 2-1 with a 4.13 ERA in five meetings last season. He has gone 4-1 with a 1.89 ERA in eight career starts versus Arizona at AT&T Park, with four double-digit strikeout games.

Justin Upton is 9 for 28 (.321) against Lincecum, but Stephen Drew (.200), Chris Young (.158) and Miguel Montero (.156) have had far less success.

With Lincecum on the hill, the Diamondbacks can't afford to fall behind early, something that's consistently plagued them. Arizona gave up four first-inning runs in a 4-3 loss to San Diego on Sunday and has allowed 30 runs in the opening inning this season.

Ian Kennedy (3-1, 3.80) has given up four runs in the first this season, but none of those have come in his last four outings. He's posted a 1.93 ERA during that stretch, and gave up two runs over six innings of a 3-2, 11-inning win over Colorado on Thursday.

NOTES
Kennedy was 1-2 with a 2.67 ERA in five starts versus San Francisco last season. Catcher Buster Posey, in a 2-for-21 slump, is 5 for 11 against Kennedy. ... San Francisco has won 15 of its last 19 games against Arizona, including two of the three matchups between the clubs this season. ... The Diamondbacks have alternated wins and losses over their last six games (WLWLWL). Arizona is 1-6 in its last seven road contests. ... The Giants have won five of their last six games and will be looking to extend their current winning streak to four in a row. ... Ian Kennedy is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his last four starts. Arizona has lost each of Kennedy's last four starts against San Francisco. ... Tim Lincecum has won each of his last two starts against the Diamondbacks and has seven wins in his career against them -- the second-most wins in his career against any opponent (8 vs. Colorado). ... Chris Young is tied with Lance Berkman for the most extra-base hits among NL players this season with 19. Young has failed to record a hit in each of his last three games, going 0-for-14 in those contests.

Report: Shanahan 'almost certain' to accept 49ers' offer

Report: Shanahan 'almost certain' to accept 49ers' offer

Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is reportedly “almost certain” to accept the 49ers’ offer to become head coach.

Shanahan is the lone remaining candidate among the six individuals who interviewed with 49ers executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe. The 49ers plan for a second interview with Shanahan and a job offer, a source told CSNBayArea.com. Shanahan is expected to accept the 49ers’ offer, reports Michael Silver of the NFL Network, citing sources familiar with both parties.

The 49ers continued to work Tuesday evening on the process of narrowing down the general manager choices, a source said. Shanahan is expected to play a role in the select the team’s next GM, sources said.

On Tuesday, Seattle offensive line coach Tom Cable and Seahawks co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner removed their names from consideration for the vacant coach and general manager positions. The 49ers fired Chip Kelly and Trent Baalke after the 49ers' 2-14 season.

One source said Cable and Kirchner believed the 49ers were using them as leverage to hire Shanahan. Cable interviewed with 49ers co-chair Denise DeBartolo York over the phone on Tuesday, NFL Network reported.

The 49ers are allowed to interview Shanahan for a second time after the Falcons’ NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. The 49ers are prohibited from hiring or making a formal contract offer to Shanahan until the Falcons' season has concluded.

The top remaining candidates for the general manager job are believed to be Green Bay executives Brian Gutekunst and Eliot Wolf, Arizona's Terry McDonough and Minnesota's George Paton.

Wilcox embracing challenge, will change the way Cal looks on field

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AP

Wilcox embracing challenge, will change the way Cal looks on field

BERKELEY — With more than a half-century without a Rose Bowl berth, tougher academic standards than most Pac-12 schools and lackluster fan support in a pro-sports focused market, there are plenty of hurdles for a football coach at California.

Coach Justin Wilcox took the job for the Golden Bears because he embraces those obstacles and he wants players who feel the same way as he seeks to rebuild a program that has one winning record in the past five years and no conference championships since 1958.

"When you come here, there are challenges," Wilcox said at his introductory news conference Tuesday. "You don't come here and go through school and just go through the motions. You'll be challenged in the classroom, challenged on the football field and learn to interact in a dynamic society. I believe in that and that helps guys grow."

Wilcox faces many hurdles in his new job replacing the recently fired Sonny Dykes less than three weeks before national signing day. He has to put together a coaching staff, evaluate the players already on campus and try to keep together, and even add to, a recruiting class that committed to a different staff.

Athletic director Mike Williams fired Dykes after four seasons on Jan. 8 because he wanted a coach committed to Cal instead of flirting with other jobs and needed someone who could excite a fan base that often stayed away from Memorial Stadium in recent years as the Bears teamed porous defenses with sometimes exciting offenses while posting a 19-30 record.

Williams had five finalists for the job but chose a former Cal assistant with a defensive background and familiarity with the Pac-12 as an assistant for seven years at three schools in the conference.

"He truly gets this place, he truly gets coaching in the West," Williams said. "He came in and was very organized and thoughtful. He knew what he wanted to do and who he wanted to hire. ... It's a special place and I think he'll treat it as a special place."

While Dykes flirted with job openings at Houston and Baylor this past offseason in part because of his concern about increased academic standards for recruits, the Bears hope Wilcox is someone who wants to stick around after more than a decade of being on a self-described "windy" path as a top defensive coach.

The former Oregon defensive back began his coaching career in 2001 as a graduate assistant at Boise State. He spent three years as linebackers coach under Jeff Tedford at Cal from 2003-05 when the Bears nearly ended their Rose Bowl drought during a 10-win season with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback in 2004.

Wilcox has spent the past 11 years as a defensive coordinator with stops at Boise State, Tennessee, Washington, Southern California and finally Wisconsin, where he helped the Badgers field a top 10 defense and win the Cotton Bowl.

Wilcox has worked and played for many successful coaches, including Tedford, Chris Petersen, Dan Hawkins, Mike Bellotti, and Paul Chryst.

"I've been extremely fortunate to work for and with people I learned so much from," he said. "Each step along the way, I've seen it done a lot of different ways. I'm not trying to be any of those people. I always try to take pieces and make it my own."

Wilcox has begun putting together his staff, having hired former Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin as offensive coordinator and longtime Oregon offensive line coach Steve Greatwood to fill that role on the Bears.

The Bears will look very different under Wilcox than Dykes. Wilcox said he will recruit tight ends as Cal moves from the spread "Bear Raid" offense that relied on four receivers almost exclusively to a more balanced offense with tight ends and more power concepts.

While he will delegate most of the offensive responsibilities to Baldwin, Wilcox said he will be more involved on defense where he wants to find players who can fit into his base 3-4 system.

Cal ranked 125th in total defense, 127th in scoring defense and 122nd in yards per play out of 128 FBS teams last season on the way to a 5-7 record.

"Every second is critical right now," Wilcox said. "I will not sacrifice the long-term good of the program for what everyone wants which is certainty. Things will happen quickly. I understand the recruits have some anxiety about the situation and there's emotions involved. That's totally understandable. I'd feel the same way."