'Rust' factor is a myth


'Rust' factor is a myth

Call this The Myth Of Rust. Or call it, How Justin Verlander Is The Fixit Mans Friend.Or call it one last piece of overthinking before the World Series actually begins. At this point, there are only deeds and words anyway.There is an assumption that the Detroit Tigers are disadvantaged because they beat the New York Yankees in the minimal amount of time allowed by law, while the San Francisco Giants have a leg up in the Series because they squeezed in an extra nine hours and 33 minutes of baseball.Well, okay. Except . . . Verlander evens all odds. Not because he is well rested, although his work load is considerable enough that an extra day here or there is actually useful. No, its because unless he is horrible (and he isnt likely to be), the Giants wont be dropping a nine-spot on the Tigers in Game 1. Theyll have to make do with something closer to three, or even two, perhaps.This allows the Tiger hitters, who may have lost a bit of timing facing batting practice and minor league pitchers, to not have to have score, well, 10. The rust they have can linger a bit. Just not too long. The Giants dont get to set their rotation the way theyd really like. Despite the logic Bruce Bochy and Dave Righetti have applied in starting Matt Cain in Game 4 rather than 3, a perfect world would have Cain in any of the other three games. Even if Cain was getting his pitches up in Game 7 against the Cardinals (who by the way are a good hitting bunch and still did nothing with them), he is still preferable in an extra game to either Madison Bumgarner or Tim Lincecum. Having to go pedal to metal as the Giants have has caught them at sixes and sevens with their rotation, and youll likely see that the second time the Tigers see Bumgarner or Barry Zito.RELATED: San Francisco Giants 2012 World Series page
The difference between Verlander and Zito is pronounced enough that the Tigers have an advantage most Game 1 visitors dont have. This dovetails from Reason 2, in that the difference between Zitos best work and Verlanders best work is that Verlander displays his more often. Even the home plate umpire, Gerry Davis, whose numbers between 2007 and 2010 suggested an extreme hitters umpire, saw his numbers change in 2012; fewer walks, more strikeouts, closer to the mean in runs per game. That helps Zito, but it helps Verlander more. Finally, rust is a one-day stat. After Game 1, nobody is rusty anymore, and baseball reverts to its more normal do-or-be-done state. Rust is not forever, and were talking not about the last seven games anyway, but the 170-some-odd games before it. Weariness and nagging injuries are as important if not more than a few days off. Besides, by the logic of the day, the Giants should have been rusty going into the Cincinnati series, and if they were, they were for only two days.In sum, rust is a myth. If the Tigers lose the World Series, it wont be because they beat the Yankees too quickly. It will be because the Giants were better.And if the Tigers win, they obviously werent rusty at all now, were they?Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com

Walton wins debut as Lakers finish off Rockets


Walton wins debut as Lakers finish off Rockets


LOS ANGELES -- Jordan Clarkson scored 12 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, and the Los Angeles Lakers won coach Luke Walton's debut, holding off the Houston Rockets 120-114 on Wednesday night.

D'Angelo Russell scored 20 points and Julius Randle added 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the young Lakers, who got off to an exciting start in the franchise's first season without Kobe Bryant since 1995.

With a revamped roster coming off the worst season in the 16-time champion team's history, Los Angeles surged in the fourth quarter of an auspicious opener under Walton, the 36-year-old former Lakers forward.

James Harden had 34 points, a career-high 17 assists and eight rebounds for the Rockets, who lost in former Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni's debut on the Houston bench.

The Lakers played an up-tempo, aggressive offensive game under Walton, and nobody seized the moment better than Clarkson, who came off the bench in his first game since signing a $50 million contract. His 3-pointer put the Lakers up 116-112 with 1:48 left, and the Lakers hung on while the Rockets missed a long series of open shots in the final minute.

Brandon Ingram scored nine points in the No. 2 pick's NBA debut for the Lakers. Timofey Mozgov had 12 points and eight rebounds, and Luol Deng had seven points in their Lakers debuts.

After matching the franchise record with 14 first-half assists, Harden tied his career high with his 16th early in the third quarter. The Los Angeles native managed only six points in the fourth quarter, going 1 for 5, and his teammates were a combined 5 for 16.


Hall of Famer Bill Walton proudly wore a purple Lakers T-shirt to his son's official coaching debut. Walton's mother and three brothers also attended the game. "The Walton force will be strong tonight," Luke said with a grin. "There's definitely nerves and excitement right now, but mostly there's no time to think about how incredible this is, and the opportunity. It's more focused on watching film and getting the prep work in for tonight's game."


The Lakers fired D'Antoni after he went 27-55 in 2013-14, the first of a franchise-record three straight non-playoff seasons. When D'Antoni was asked before the game about reflecting on his time in LA, the coach quickly quipped: "I try not to. ... No, I loved it. I actually did. Manhattan Beach is probably the greatest place to stay. Great friends. They treated me nice, (Lakers owner) Jim (Buss) and (general manager) Mitch (Kupchak). It just didn't fit. It just didn't work."


Rockets: Clint Capela, the 6-foot-9 Swiss forward, replaced Dwight Howard in the middle of the lineup.

Lakers: Metta World Peace began his 17th NBA season, picking up three fouls in his first two minutes while guarding Harden. ... Before the game, they solidified their young core by picking up their 2017-18 contract options on Russell, Randle and Larry Nance Jr. ... Jack Nicholson, Denzel Washington, director Peter Berg, YG, Kendall Jenner, Karlie Kloss, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver attended the game.


Rockets: At Dallas on Friday in the opener of a home-and-home series.

Lakers: Open a four-game road trip at Utah on Friday.

Instant Replay: Cousins, Kings cruise in opener vs Suns

Instant Replay: Cousins, Kings cruise in opener vs Suns


The Sacramento Kings rolled into Phoenix’s Talking Stick Resort Arena and blew away the Suns on Wednesday night by a final of 113-94. The young upstart Suns tried to make a game out of it in the early fourth quarter, but Sacramento turned to their veterans who delivered down the stretch.

DeMarcus Cousins got into foul trouble early, but still found a way to drop in 24 points and grab six rebounds in 24 minutes manning the middle. Once he was in the flow of the defense, Cousins came to the aid of his teammates, stepping in and cutting off the baseline on multiple possessions.

Like Cousins, Rudy Gay didn’t look great early, but he still managed to score 22 points in the win. There was a sequence in the third quarter when Gay came alive on the defensive end, blocking back-to-back shots on the same defensive possession..

Starting for Darren Collison, Ty Lawson ran the offense better than expected, posting nine points, six rebounds and seven assists in 35 minutes of action.

Garrett Temple filled in as the reserve point guard spot and added 12 points on 6-for-8 shooting.

Matt Barnes provided a spark off the bench, tossing in 14 points and grabbing seven rebounds.

Eleven of 12 players that stepped on the floor for Sacramento scored and nine players players dropped in six points or more in the win.  

Eric Bledsoe had a nice night for the Suns, scoring 16 points on 5-for-11 shooting with five assists. T.J. Warren chipped in 14 points and five rebounds while playing solid defense on Gay early. Devin Booker added 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting, but he missed all three of his long range shots.  

STANDOUT PERFORMER -- Cousins couldn’t set the tempo early, but when he got it rolling in the third quarter, it was lights out for the Suns. There are plenty of nights that Cousins will be asked to do more, but with a big lead, the Kings didn’t need a typical showing from their All-Star center.

TURNING POINT -- Sacramento finished the first half on a 16-1 run and took a 57-38 lead into the intermission. The Suns kept it within 20 for most of the night and even made a run at the end of third, but the game was decided in the few minutes leading to the intermission.

INJURY UPDATE -- Sacramento enters the season with a full roster of healthy bodies. Matt Barnes struggled with a rib injury during camp, but played a big 27 minutes for the Kings  in the opener.

WHAT'S NEXT -- The Kings return home from Phoenix following the game where the the San Antonio Spurs are waiting for them. Thursday night’s home opener marks the first official game in the new Golden 1 Center as the Kings look to improve to 2-0 on the season.