Nolasco, Marlins to test Giants' home dominance


Nolasco, Marlins to test Giants' home dominance

May 23, 2011
FLORIDA (26-19) vs.GIANTS (27-19)Coverage starts at 6:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
(AP) -- San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy knows his lineup has to continue to improve, but right now, he can't complain about how it's performing in the clutch.Looking to match a season high with their sixth straight victory, the NL West-leading Giants will try to extend their longest home winning streak in seven seasons to 10 on Tuesday night when they face the Florida Marlins.San Francisco (27-19) failed to score more than four runs through nine innings for the 16th time in 17 games Sunday, but the defending World Series champions beat Oakland 5-4 in 11 innings to win their fifth in a row."Right now we're starting to swing the bats better, but until we get this offense clicking, it's going to be vital for us to have the pitchers throwing the ball the way they are," Bochy told the team's official website.While their starters have strung together 15 straight games without giving up more than three earned runs, the Giants also have come through at the plate when it matters most. They improved to 11-0 at home in one-run games Sunday when Emmanuel Burriss singled home Darren Ford for the deciding run - the team's seventh walkoff win.San Francisco has won 14 of 18 overall, including a nine-game home winning streak which is its longest since a 9-0 stretch May 25-June 17, 2004.Giving the ball to Matt Cain (3-2, 3.28 ERA) could help San Francisco inch closer to its longest undefeated stretch at its 11-year-old waterfront ballpark, an 11-game run July 7-25, 2003. He's 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA in his last six starts there - three this season and three in last year's playoffs.The right-hander did not earn a decision Wednesday, but he struck out a season-high seven and pitched into the eighth inning for a second consecutive start in an 8-5 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.Cain has allowed more than three runs just once in nine starts this year and has never done so in seven outings versus Florida, going 3-0 with a 2.98 ERA.The Marlins (26-19) begin a nine-game trip with right-hander Ricky Nolasco (3-0, 3.32) looking to continue his dominance in San Francisco. The Southern California native is 2-0 with a 0.59 ERA in two starts at AT&T Park and threw the only shutout of his career there Aug. 19, 2008."I've just been able to go there and make pitches," he told the Marlins' official website. "Obviously, they are a good team built around their pitching. They have been playing good as of late, so I'm just going out and try to do the same thing and make pitches."If Nolasco struggles, manager Edwin Rodriguez can turn to a bullpen which is among the league's best with a 2.64 ERA. Florida's relievers threw six shutout innings and struck out a season-best eight in Sunday's 4-0 loss to Tampa Bay.Marlins pitching has held Buster Posey to three hits in 15 at-bats, all during the teams' last series - a four-game split July 26-29 in San Francisco. The reigning NL rookie of the year, who is 1 for 3 against Nolasco, enters this three-game set on an 11-game hitting streak during which he's batting .390.Florida's Logan Morrison will try to reach base safely for the 25th straight game after drawing a two-out, ninth-inning walk Sunday. In his major league debut, Morrison singled off Cain for his first big-league hit in a 6-4 loss July 27.Cain lasted seven innings in that game, surrendering three runs while not earning a decision.

Chryst to make his first career start for Stanford


Chryst to make his first career start for Stanford

STANFORD  — Stanford junior Keller Chryst will make his first collegiate start at quarterback at Arizona on Saturday, coach David Shaw said Tuesday.

He'll replace senior Ryan Burns, who went 4-3 (2-3 Pac-12) in his seven starts. Burns completed nearly 63 percent of his passes for 1,058 yards and five touchdowns. He's also thrown seven interceptions.

"I hate to get to this point," Shaw said. "But it's the best thing for this offense. We need more production at that position. It's our challenge to support Keller."

Burns led the Cardinal to wins over Kansas State, Southern California and UCLA to open the season but has struggled ever since, averaging 11 points in Stanford's last four games, punctuated by Saturday's 10-5 loss to Colorado.

"It can't just be about the quarterback," Shaw said. "We need to help Keller be more effective. We need to be able to score points with this personnel."

Chryst, the son of former 49ers offensive coordinator Geep Chryst, has appeared in 10 games over the past two years, throwing for 122 yards on 12-of-27 passing. He's thrown for one touchdown and one interception.

"I've been working with both all year and they're both great people," Cardinal receiver Trent Irwin said. "Sometimes you just need a change. We'll see where it goes and have fun with it."

Stanford ranks last in the Pac-12 in scoring (17.0) and total offense (299.1). The offense has scored just 10 touchdowns all year, fewer than Washington's John Ross and Arizona State's Kalen Ballage, the conference co-leaders with 11 touchdowns.

"Both quarterbacks are good," Stanford safety Zach Hoffpauir said. "Maybe it does stimulate the offense a little bit."

NOTES: CB Elijah Holder will miss the rest of the season due to an unspecified injury. ... OL David Bright and Johnny Caspers are questionable. ... FB Daniel Marx is out

Quakes look to regroup after disappointing 2016 season


Quakes look to regroup after disappointing 2016 season

This time last year, there was a totally different kind of disappointment over at San Jose Earthquakes headquarters. Yes, they had missed the playoffs for the third consecutive season, but they battled to the very end and came within a couple of points of earning an invitation to the dance.

That sort of late-season run filled the franchise and fans with optimism heading into 2016.

But after an 8-12-14 mark, a ninth place finish in the Western Conference that tied for the worst since their return to MLS and the firing of a general manager midseason, the Quakes are a team faced with the idea of having to stop backwards momentum and restore faith with a fan base that is antsy for a winner on the field.

MVP: Chris Wondolowski fits the truest definition of valuable for the Earthquakes. Off the field, the forward continued and expanded his role of face and ambassador for the franchise. You’d be hard pressed to find another MLS player who exemplifies their club more than Wondolowski.

On the field, it’s almost cringe-worthy to think of where the Quakes would be without Wondolowski. As expected, for yet another season, he led the team in goals with 12 and was fourth in assists -- but his numbers are amplified by a San Jose offense that finished last in MLS with just 32 goals scored this season.

And most importantly, an offense that already struggled to find the back of the net would take an even greater (and incredibly visible) hit when Wondolowski was not in the lineup playing for the U.S. Men’s National Team, or just flat out struggling – consider that in the months when Wondolowski did not score, whether on international duty or not, the Quakes only managed 12 of the possible 36 points and scored two or more goals in a single match just three times.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: A few names come to mind, but with a back line that was ravaged by injuries peppered throughout the season, Marvell Wynne demonstrated the versatility and consistency the Quakes desperately needed. Wynne played all along Dominic Kinnear’s back line, logging the fourth-most minutes on the team behind two other DPOY candidates in David Bingham and Victor Bernardez, plus the aforementioned Wondolowski.

San Jose will have a tough choice to make with Wynne in the offseason with his contract up and a well-deserved raise in the cards -- but his age and its value proposition comes into question. Yet in 2016, Wynne was a lifeline for the Quakes.

BEST OF TIMES: With just eight wins this season, there weren’t a ton of bright spots for the Quakes. But they earned a huge moral victory for northern California soccer when they hosted the MLS All-Star Game.

For a week, San Jose, Silicon Valley and Avaya Stadium was the center of the MLS universe as the stars convened on Coleman Avenue to celebrate the sport.

WORST OF TIMES: It seems pretty crazy to remember that the Quakes actually got off to the best start in franchise history when they won back-to-back games for their first 2-0-0 start ever and a strong 3-1-2 record through their first six matches.

But injuries to the back line and up front (see: Quincy Amarikwa), made thing very difficult for Kinnear to put his best 11 on the field consistency.

Those injuries, coupled with San Jose’s inability to find any sort of traction or winning consistency away from Avaya Stadium really put the season on the down slope. The Quakes only won one road match in 2016.

THE GREAT UNKNOWN: Currently, the Quakes are a team without a general manager. And for a team that obviously needs a couple of pieces, the sooner they hand the reins to someone, the better.

The Earthquakes hired Nolan Partners, the world's largest sports executive search firm, to help identify the club's next GM while technical director Chris Leitch currently fills that void.

According to the Quakes, Nolan Partners will conduct the search both domestically and internationally, using a strict set of criteria to find the best candidates in line with the organization's long-term aspirations.

The clock is ticking though.


Not to sound overly dramatic with the one-word paragraphs, but with just 32 goals this season, and a formula dependent so much on just one player, the Quakes have to hit the drawing board hard and look to add a couple of pieces to make them more competitive up front.

A full offseason with Simon Dawkins could be beneficial – so should the resigning of Alberto Quintero.

But finding a true No. 9 to play in front of Wondolowski and allow the master to roam free underneath where he can do major damage would go a long way in making a much-needed ascent up the offensive categories.

THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS: For those who have resigned themselves to the idea of San Jose being a big-market, high-budget team, the focus has naturally shifted to the youth movement that should follow. The Quakes have taken steps towards that with affiliation deals in the Premier Development League (Burlingame Dragons FC) and the United Soccer League (Sacramento Republic and Reno 1868) to look and develop the next wave of Earthquakes.

The big picture revolves around when the Quakes decide to flip the switch and fully commit to young talent coming through that pipeline. In 2016, San Jose was one of the oldest teams in MLS – could 2017 be the start of the long-awaited Quakes youth movement?