Urban Blog: Arizona vs. Giants In-Game


Urban Blog: Arizona vs. Giants In-Game


UPDATED: 3:09 P.M.
Casilla, Romo Have Come a Long WaySAN FRANCISCO -- Santiago Casilla made a handful of appearances with the As in 2004, 2005 and 2006, then became a regular member of the Oakland bullpen for the next three years.The As gave up on him after last year, though, because he was a bit of a circus. You could trust him only so much, and if you trusted him to pitch in high-pressure situations, you likely would end up wondering how a guy with stuff that good could be that vulnerable.Ditto Sergio Romo, earlier this season. He has a slider that often defies physics, but in the first couple of months of the season his generally good work out of the Giants bullpen was obscured by a handful of high-profile failures.Sorry for bringing Manny Ramirez into this, but it serves to prove a point. The point is, Casilla and Romo are now two of the most trusted members of the pitching staff.Giants manager Bruce Bochy turned to Casilla today in the sixth inning, and he responded with two hitless, scoreless innings. Thereafter came Romo, who worked his way through the eighth in perfect style, striking out two of the three plugs he faced.Casilla walked off the mound after his second inning with the stoicism of Ben Stein. Romo punctuated his outing by bouncing off the mound and slapping his glove, getting the fired-up crowd further enflamed. Different ways to skin a cat, but the same paths into the hearts of Giants fans.UPDATED: 2:39 P.M.
Love Buster, Hate the Song
Its impossible not to dig Buster Posey. Hes just a good kid, and it pains me to no end to call him a kid because it reminds me that Im no longer even close to being a kid, and therefore totally irrelevant and old and the guy that hot young chicks mock after I innocently say hello to them in a grocery store.Whoa. Where were we? Oh yeah. Buster Posey.He just hit a bomb. A comic-book bomb. A how-can-you-not-vote-for-me-as-your-rookie-of-the-year bomb.Amazing player. Amazing kid. Level-headed, humble, gifted to the point of wondering why whatever forces dictate such things dont share the wealth a little more evenly.But can we please lose the song?You know the song. Who you gonna call? Ghost Busters!Were San Francisco, people. We have class. We have style. We dont rip off Harold Ramis in the name of honoring our stud ballplayers. Buster Posey? Love him. Love that he knocks balls out of the yard. Ghost Busters? Knock it off.
UPDATED: 2:17 P.M.
Torres Story Just Keeps Getting Better
Hey, forget about the ADD or ADHD or whatever it is that afflicts Andres Torrres medically. Even without that, hes a ridiculously good story, and it just got better when he homered to snap a 1-1 tie.I can dismiss the ADDADHD angle because I have ADHD, too. Its difficult, its a challenge, its not fun, its embarrassing at times. But its not something that stops you from living a normal life. I dont even take medication anymore; I make lists that help me keep my life on track.But this isnt about me. Its not about learning disabilities or chemical imbalances. Its about Torres. Its about a 30-something journeyman emerging as a key figure on a playoff team -- and yeah, I said it. The Giants are a playoff team. If they arent, I promise to eat six night-crawlers on the Public House patio, on camera, on Oct. 4. Theyre a playoff team in part because of Torres, who just electrified the crowd here with his 16th homer of the year. Think about it. Hes hit 16 homers. Thats three more than Pandoval!And whos more popular? Torres. Deservedly so.
UPDATED: 1:52 P.M.
Slip Slidin' Through Danger
MadisonBumgarner is trying to secure the first home victory of his career today, andit goes without saying that today would be a fine day to get er done.(Then why, if itgoes without saying, did I just say it? I didnt. I wrote it. Big difference.)Anyway, he justgave up the tying run, but if recent form holds, were but a Pat Burrell orJuan Uribe or Buster Posey home run away from the Giants reclaiming the leadand getting young Madison his long-lost first W at AT&T.If that happens,itll be because Bumgarner is throwing one of the dirtiest sliders Ive ever seen.There is aslurve slider, and there is a hard slider. The slurve is a little slower andloopier. The hard slider bites hard. What Bumgarner is featuring today is alittle bit of both.It loops hard,if that makes sense. Even if it doesnt to you, the important thing is that isdoesnt to the Diamondbacks, either. They look like one-legged pelicans withvision issues trying to catch flying fish right now. UPDATED: 1:38 P.M.
I wrote thismorning about Arizona starter Barry Enrights reluctance to pitch inside.Pablo Sandovaljust showed everyone why Mr. Enright doesnt like to go there.Enright tried tosneak a high fastball past the Panda, and the Panda pounced.A good 400-plusfeet later, the ball landed in McCovey Cove, and the standing-room-only crowd atAT&T Park went absolutely nuts. Fans have beenwaiting for six months for such a moment from the Round Mound of Very LittleSound, and they took the opportunity to get extremely loud. By the way,doesnt the name Barry Enright sound like the name of someone who grew upprivileged, in a silver-spoon type of way? Perhaps somewhere in the Hamptons,where he attended a super-exclusive private school that requires sweater vestsand extra-curricular activities such as rare-coin collecting?
And after that hewent to Brown, despite having crappy grades, because his Mummy used to date theheadmaster or something, and then he landed a role on General Hospital?Barry EnrightIII, Esq. Yeah, that sounds about right.
UPDATED: 1:22 P.M.
Huff's Dig Emblematic of Unexpected Giants "D"
Remember whenAubrey Huff dropped the very first ball thrown to him this spring? Remember howthat served as the jumping-off point to a lengthy discussion about how porousthe defense would be?Now look atHuff. He just dug a throw out of the dirt (low toss from Pablo Sandoval) to end the top of the second inning,and it should serve as the jumping-off point to a lengthy discussion about howgood the Giants defense has been this year.Im not sayingtheyre going to win multiple Gold Gloves. Fact is, they arent going to winany. But between Huff at first base, Freddy Sanchez at second, Andres Torres incenter field and Buster Posey behind the plate, theyve got four above-averagedefenders.Thats four morethan anyone expected.
UPDATED: 1:11 P.M.
Latest Rotation Change Fuels Pressbox Buzz
As Madison Bumgarner rolled through the first inning here, the pressboxremained abuzz over the Giants latest rotation change.Matt Cains beenmoved up to Friday, with Barry Zito bumped back to Saturday.If the Giantswin today, Fridays game is a potential clincher, so its understandable thatCain would be tabbed for that start. But part of the buzz is that the Giantsare putting all their eggs in the Friday basket.Bruce Bochy sayshes making the move to keep Cain on regular rest -- four days. But Cain hasbeen pitching on five days of rest lately because of all the Mondays off. The unspoken, ofcourse, is that Bochy doesnt trust Zito with Fridays game. But lets sayCain carves. He does that a lot. He has his whole career, and particularly thismonth. But hes also lost a ton of games in which hes carved, for one reasonor another.So lets sayCain carves and still loses. Now Saturday is by far the biggest game of theyear. Is anyone entirely comfortable with Zito making that start?And as good asJonathan Sanchez has been, lets say Zito loses Saturday. Sanchez, as we allknow, can be a bit of a mixed bag emotionally. Why not keepZito on the five days of rest on which hes been working recently and let himtake the rock Friday? If he loses, Cain is pitching the biggest game of theyear. Is that not more attractive?Maybe not.Obviously not to the Giants.Good thing theyhave Lincecum, on regular rest, ready for Monday. This could get dicey. --MychaelUrban

Couture fights through illness to push Sharks over Lightning

Couture fights through illness to push Sharks over Lightning

SAN JOSE – Logan Couture didn’t skate against the Kings on Wednesday night in Los Angeles, but that sure didn’t mean he was feeling all that energetic to play against the Lightning on Thursday.

The 27-year-old center had a pretty rough start to his week. He was unable to finish Monday’s game against Winnipeg, and then couldn’t go on the quick road trip to Southern California on Tuesday, either.

We’ll let him explain.

"I wasn't feeling too well during the [Winnipeg] game, had an IV during that game, and came off. Didn't have enough energy to finish that game. Went home. Started throwing up a bunch and actually went to the hospital, got a couple more IVs. Slept that night, didn't make it through the night, threw up a couple more times. Didn't really get any sleep, so I talked to [Sharks trainer Ray Tufts] and he told me to stay home, and not come on the trip.
"Didn't get any food in my throat for about 48 hours. It was a tough little stretch, and finally yesterday I was able to get back to normal. I think it was just a stomach bug, but it hit pretty hard. I think I lost six pounds. So, it was a tough couple days.”

Despite all that, Couture managed to have an impact in the Sharks’ 2-1 win over the Lightning. And not just a minor impact, either, as he scored the game-winning goal early in the third period in a game in which the Sharks as a team were understandably sluggish at times but still found a way.

"I thought he was excellent. Gutsy effort by him coming back in,” said coach Pete DeBoer, who slightly limited Couture’s minutes.

The winning goal came when Couture’s linemates, Kevin Labanc and Joonas Donskoi, fought for a loose puck behind the Tampa Bay net. Labanc managed to poke it to Couture, who had pushed away from Tyler Johnson and found just enough space inside the far post with his shot to break a 1-1 tie on the opening shift of the third period.

Goalie Aaron Dell made it hold up, making some clutch third period saves on Ondrej Palat and Valtteri Filppula, in particular.

After allowing a bad goal in Calgary last week that cost the Sharks at least one point in the standings, Dell was outstanding on a night that his teammates needed him.

"I've given up a lot of goals in my life. I think it's pretty easy to let it go now, but I really wanted to come back and make a good impression after that,” he said.

Ryan Carpenter, familiar with Dell from their days on the Barracuda together last season, said: “He made some big saves tonight. That’s just what he does. Whenever he plays, he always does well somehow. It’s nice to be a part of it, and see him get that one tonight.”

Carpenter played a role, too, getting the Sharks a 1-0 lead with his second career NHL goal five minutes into the middle frame. He was the beneficiary of a long shift by the Sharks in the Tampa Bay end, firing in a Paul Martin feed off of Nikita Nesterov’s leg.

"That was just off a line change,” DeBoer said. “He got out there a little bit early and made a great play. Big goal for us."

The Sharks were in survival mode earlier in the game, one day after recording one of their more satisfying, complete wins of the season over the rival Kings. Tampa Bay recorded eight of the first nine shots on goal, and San Jose was having particular trouble moving the puck out of their own end and through the neutral zone. 

After Carpenter’s goal, and a remarkable power play score by Jonathan Drouin tied it, the message in the dressing room in the second intermission was to go out and win the third period.

"Guys did a good job in the locker room going out in the third and just understanding what’s at stake," Joe Pavelski said. "There’s two big points, it doesn’t matter your opponent that you’re playing, you’ve got to go find it."

They did, courtesy of Couture, even if his pads were a little looser than normal from his sudden and unexpected diet.

Humphrey scores 21 to help Stanford beat Oregon State 62-46


Humphrey scores 21 to help Stanford beat Oregon State 62-46

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Michael Humphrey had 21 points and Marcus Allen added a career-high 12 to lead Stanford to a 62-46 victory Thursday night over Oregon State, keeping the Beavers winless in Pac-12 conference play.

It was the third straight win for the Cardinal (11-8, 3-4 Pac-12), coming off a pair of victories at home last week against the league's Washington schools.

Stephen Thompson Jr. led the Beavers (4-15, 0-6) with 15 points. Oregon State, which trailed by as many as 17 points late after jumping out to an early nine-point lead, has lost six straight games.

The Cardinal were without Reid Travis, the team's top scorer and rebounder with averages of 16.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. Reid injured his right shoulder in Stanford's 76-69 victory over Washington last Saturday. He had missed the previous two games with a similar injury.

The Beavers have struggled without top scorer Tres Tinkle, who was averaging 20.2 points a game before he broke his right wrist on Nov. 25 against Fresno State. Tinkle has missed 13 games.

But Oregon State did have forward Drew Eubanks, who was a game-time decision because of a thigh injury. Eubanks was averaging 14.6 points going in. He finished with eight points against Stanford.

Beavers coach Wayne Tinkle tweaked his starting lineup, giving sophomore Gligorije Ravocevic his first career start. Ravocevic replaced Matt Dahlen, who had started the last 10 games.

At least at the start, the Beavers had spark, going up 16-7 on three consecutive 3-pointers — two by Thompson and a third by JaQuori McLaughlin. Thompson hit another 3 to give Oregon State a 19-11 lead.

But Stanford closed the gap, pulling within 20-17 on Marcus Sheffield's jumper with a little more than five minutes left before the break.

Humphrey's dunk got Stanford within 25-23, and Allen's layup tied it. Humphrey made two free throws to give the Cardinal a 27-25 halftime lead.

Sheffield's 3-pointer made it 37-32 with 12:35 left as the Cardinal began to pull away. Humphrey's layup stretched the lead to 45-36 with 8:20 left.


Stanford: The Cardinal won six of the previous eight meetings with Oregon State. ... Allen was making his first start of the season.

Oregon State: The Beavers have been hurt by injuries this season. Players have missed more than 40 games, including center Cheikh N'diaye, who has missed 10 games and is out indefinitely with an injured left shoulder.


Stanford: The Cardinal visit No. 11 Oregon on Saturday. The Ducks defeated California 86-63 on Thursday, but preseason All-America forward Dillon Brooks injured his lower left leg late in the first half and did not return.

Oregon State: The Beavers host the Golden Bears on Saturday night.