Stumbling A's move on to Baltimore

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Stumbling A's move on to Baltimore

June 6, 2011

A's (27-33) vs.
BALTIMORE (26-31)

Coverage begins at 4 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

BALTIMORE (AP) -- After getting swept in consecutive series by AL East heavyweights, the Oakland Athletics are no doubt happy to face an opponent from that division that they know they can beat.

The Athletics will try to avoid a season-high seventh straight loss Monday night when they begin a three-game road series against the Baltimore Orioles - the last team Oakland has defeated.

Oakland (27-33) swept three games from Baltimore (26-31) from May 27-29, but was outscored 19-5 in a three-game sweep by the New York Yankees in its next series. The Athletics then began this 10-game trip by being swept by Boston over the weekend.

REWIND: A's swept out of Boston as losing streak reaches six

The series in Fenway Park was more competitive, with Oakland blowing leads in the first two games and totaling 17 runs.

"We swung the bats better this series," second baseman Mark Ellis said. "We ran into a couple of good teams and they beat us up pretty good."

That's been the case for Orioles when they have faced the Athletics, who have won 20 of the last 24 meetings. Oakland's pitching made the difference in the recent sweep of Baltimore, which scored eight runs and managed one extra-base hit.

The A's have won all three games Gio Gonzalez (5-3, 2.49 ERA) has started against the Orioles. Gonzalez, 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in those contests, didn't get a decision in a 6-2 victory May 27 after allowing two runs over five innings.

The left-hander suffered his first loss since April 25 when he gave up four runs over 6 1-3 innings of a 4-2 defeat to the Yankees on Wednesday.

Gonzalez will be opposed by Brian Matusz (0-0, 1.59), making his second start of the season since being activated off the disabled list. He pitched 5 2-3 innings and yielded one run in a 2-1 victory at Seattle on Wednesday.

"As the game went on I was able to kind of feel myself, and get a good feel, to get myself back on track," Matusz said. "Not trying to think about mechanics at all, just feeling my groove and slow it down a bit and not be so jumpy."

The left-hander has gone 1-2 with a 6.11 ERA in three career starts against the A's, and 0-2 with a 7.15 ERA in two at home.

Matusz will be facing an Oakland team that has hit a major league-low 33 homers. Josh Willingham, however, had two of those in last month's series against the Orioles.

First baseman Daric Barton went 6 for 12 in the series in Boston. He has a .387 average during a nine-game hitting streak against Baltimore.

A's manager Bob Geren rested slumping designated hitter Hideki Matsui on Sunday. Matsui snapped a career-worst 0-for-19 slump with an 11th-inning single Saturday.

The series in Oakland started a stretch in which Baltimore has dropped seven of nine. The Orioles, who have scored an AL-low 28 runs since May 27, lost 7-4 to Toronto on Sunday.

"I think we hit three line drives at them that we didn't get much to show for," manager Buck Showalter told the team's official website. "That was frustrating."

49ers Mailbag: Shanahan is overwhelming favorite, if he wants it

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49ers Mailbag: Shanahan is overwhelming favorite, if he wants it

The 49ers have interviewed six head coach candidates and nine prospects for the general manager position.

During the search, 49ers executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe admitted to candidates that mistakes were made and the roster is in shambles. They have also promised all the resources necessary and plenty of patience in fixing the problem, according to multiple sources.

Three of the 49ers’ six original coach possibilities – Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams), Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills) and Anthony Lynn (Los Angeles Chargers) -- have already taken jobs elsewhere. Perhaps the top candidate, New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, decided against uprooting his four children from the East Coast and remain in the no-lose situation of working with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady for at least another season.

That leaves Kyle Shanahan and Tom Cable as the last known candidates for the job. And this is where we go to our 49ers Mailbag to answer questions submitted on our Facebook page:

Do you think Kyle Shanahan will be our next coach?‬ (Praize Rodriguez)
I’m not able to predict how strongly Shanahan, 37, wants to become a head coach at this stage in his career. But it appears to be his job if he wants it.

The 49ers decided to wait on McDaniels and Shanahan. McDaniels announced on Monday that he has removed himself from consideration. That leaves Shanahan as the overwhelming favorite for the job. Really, he is the only legitimate candidate for the job.

Cable is regarded around the league as a good coach. In the right circumstances, maybe he will again get the opportunity to be a head coach in the NFL. But the 49ers might be the worst fit, considering what occurred when he was in the Bay Area as the Raiders coach. Cable's time with the Raiders ended with allegations he punched an assistant coach, breaking his jaw, and had a history of domestic violence.

The 49ers will be able to speak again with Shanahan after the NFC Championship. If the Atlanta Falcons lose, they can get the deal done immediately. If the Falcons advance to the Super Bowl, they must wait until after the game to make things official.

The last team to wait for a Super Bowl coach was the Atlanta Falcons, who ended up with Dan Quinn, who signed a contract in the early morning after the Seattle Seahawks’ loss to New England in Super Bowl XLIX in February 2015.

That worked out pretty well.

Who would be the best GM fit if the 49ers hire Kyle Shanahan?‬ (Brad Peltier) ‬
The 49ers were the only team with a general manager opening this offseason after firing Trent Baalke. With no competition, the 49ers compiled a strong list of interviews for the job.

Assuming Shanahan wants the coach job, he will be able to meet with the finalists for the general manager position and see which of the remaining candidates he believes is the best fit for his philosophy on building a roster.

York and Marathe set out two weeks ago to find the best pairing of coach/general manager, so their input and direction during the final phase will be pivotal, too.

Arizona’s vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough looks like a strong fit. McDonough is believed to have Shanahan ranked at the top of his list of coaches even though the men have never worked together. McDonough has experience on the pro and college scouting sides, and he has helped build one of the top defenses in the NFL with the Cardinals.

Green Bay director of football operations Brian Gutekunst also has extensive history as a college scout, and he impressed the 49ers with a strong interview on Jan. 5. There is also some buzz about Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton and Seattle co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner.

Who do you think will be the defensive coordinator if Shanahan takes the job?‬ (Ryan Cruz)
The 49ers last year received permission from the Houston Texans to interview linebackers coach Mike Vrabel for the position. Vrabel’s stock has only risen after the Texans ranked first in the NFL in total defense under coordinator Romeo Crennel. Vrabel turned down Chip Kelly's job offer.

Vrabel’s name surfaced for the first time this offseason as a head-coaching candidate, though he did not receive a formal interview. This would be a good opportunity to Vrabel to, in essence, be the head coach of the defense while Shanahan’s focus is solely on the offense. This could be a tempting situation for Vrabel because Shanahan's offense does not present the same issues and concerns that defensive coaches had working on the other side of Kelly.

Another strong candidate to join Shanahan’s staff as defensive coordinator is Falcons’ secondary/senior defensive assistant Marquand Manuel. Manuel played eight NFL seasons as a defensive back and worked with Falcons coach Dan Quinn at the University of Florida, then Seattle before moving onto Atlanta.

If Shananahan is coach, is Kap pretty much done in SF?‬ (Juan Ito Heredia)
Of course, that decision on what happens with Colin Kaepernick and the remainder of the roster will be up to the new head coach and general manager.

But one of the 49ers’ main selling points is a fresh start and a clean break from how things have happened in the past. That means the head coach will be free to choose his own staff. That means the general manager can structure the scouting department as he chooses.

That also means, of course, that the coach and general manager will have all the power to assemble the roster.

It is difficult to believe any new coach and new general manager will not want to hit the reset button and start over at the quarterback position.

Curry bounces back in blowout, wins point guard battle with Irving

Curry bounces back in blowout, wins point guard battle with Irving

OAKLAND -- No one among the Warriors had a deeper desire to beat the Cavaliers than Stephen Curry, and his performance Monday gave every indication that he wanted it as badly as he needed it.

And after losing the point-guard battle to Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving in four successive games, all Warriors losses, it was past time for Curry as the back-to-back MVP to stand up and make a statement.

His response was impressive: 20 points (7-of-20 shooting), 11 assists, four steals and a 126-91 rout by the Warriors. He was plus-23 over 31 minutes.

“He was making shots, it’s as simple as that,” Irving said. “In transition, off pick-and-rolls, doing what he does and that makes him a great player.”

Irving’s response: 17 points (6-of-19 shooting), two assists and a game-high-tying (with teammate LeBron James) six turnovers. Irving was minus-12 over 29 minutes.

“Steph was great,” coach Steve Kerr said. “A phenomenal first half, I think he had 10 assists. His energy was great and he set the tone. He put a lot of pressure on the defense.”

Curry has been playing with renewed vigor lately, his mentality changing shortly after the Warriors on Christmas Day in Cleveland blew a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter, taking a 109-108 loss. Curry took only 11 shots, scoring 15 points.

He was particularly good in the first half, scoring 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting, with 10 assists and three steals. Curry clearly came to destroy.

“It was a great way to start, just a foot on the gas pedal,” Curry said.

Curry’s game, along with the victory, may silence some of the narrative suggesting the Cavaliers have his number. Though he was displeased with one aspect of his game, Curry happily accepted the outcome. Or that Irving hadn't caught up to him.

“I obviously wanted to play well; I didn’t want to walk off the floor with anything more than what I think is a solid, aggressive game,” he said. “I didn’t shoot the ball as well as I wanted to. Some shots I normally make didn’t go down.

But I can live with that knowing I took care of the other stuff I was supposed to do on the floor. Really, what was all in my head was that I definitely wanted to leave this arena tonight with a solid performance and obviously get the win.”