Big test for Lincecum, Giants in Colorado

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Big test for Lincecum, Giants in Colorado

April 18, 2011

GIANTS (8-7) vs.
COLORADO (12-3)

Coverage begins at 5 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

DENVER (AP) -- The San Francisco Giants won the NL West last season en route to their first World Series title, but it already looks like the Colorado Rockies are a serious threat to a second straight division crown.

The red-hot Rockies will test their major league-best record against the Giants when the teams begin a three-game series at Coors Field on Monday night.

RELATED: Series notes -- Giants vs. Rockies

While San Francisco (8-7) appears to be back on track after a slow start with four wins in five games, the Giants still trail Colorado (12-3) by four games.

The Rockies rebounded from a rare loss with a 9-5 victory over the Cubs on Sunday, their eighth win in nine contests. Dexter Fowler ignited a four-run eighth inning with a two-out, two-run double and Carlos Gonzalez, who was given Saturday off while mired in a 3-for-24 slump, had four hits and two RBIs.

"We have a bunch of different weapons and we can hurt you a bunch of different ways," Fowler said. "I'm just happy it was my turn. And it was important to come off (Saturday's loss) like we did. It shows the character of the team. We had lost a couple of close games but that was our first real blowout. We bounced back nicely."

Sunday marked another big offensive performance for the Rockies, who have scored 56 runs during their 8-1 surge and have 51 hits in their past five games.

Sustaining that level of offense, however, figures to be difficult against two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum (1-1, 1.86 ERA).

After giving up one earned run over 14 innings in his first two outings, Lincecum labored against the Dodgers on Tuesday. He allowed three runs and six hits while throwing 115 pitches in 5 1-3 innings before leaving without a decision in a 5-4 win.

The right-hander is 7-5 with a 3.35 ERA in 15 starts against Colorado, splitting four decisions last season. Lincecum was dominant in the final two meetings of 2010, posting a 1.13 ERA while pitching eight innings in each.

Todd Helton is 10 for 28 with a home run and two doubles against Lincecum while Chris Iannetta is 6 for 12 with two doubles and a homer.

The Giants hope to bounce back behind their ace after they had a four-game winning streak snapped with a 6-5, 12-inning loss at Arizona on Sunday.

REWIND: Giants can't finish sweep, Diamondbacks win in 12th

"It was one of those tough beats but we won three series in a row and that's all you can ask for," said Aubrey Huff, who hit his first home run of the season.

Monday was expected to be the season debut of Colorado ace Ubaldo Jimenez, but his return to the mound has been pushed back a day and instead Esmil Rogers (2-0, 2.77) will take the mound.

Though he won for the second time in as many starts, Rogers wasn't nearly as sharp Wednesday against the Mets as he was in an outstanding season debut. He gave up three runs, seven hits and four walks in 5 2-3 innings of a 5-4 win at Citi Field.

The right-hander made two starts and two relief appearances against San Francisco last season, going 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in the starts.

The Rockies and Giants split 18 games last season, with San Francisco winning four of the last five.

Azubuike: Paul George 'definitely put in a call to Klay Thompson'

Azubuike: Paul George 'definitely put in a call to Klay Thompson'

Paul George can become a free agent in 2018.

Klay Thompson is scheduled to hit free agency a year later.

Might they be future teammates with the Lakers?

"He's (George) definitely put in a call to Klay Thompson, and obviously he feels like Klay Thompson is a guy that he would love to play with in the Lakers," NBC Sports Bay Area Warriors analyst Kelenna Azubuike said on 95.7 The Game on Tuesday morning. "Now, for all we know, Klay could have said, 'Buzz off, I'm staying with the Warriors.' It doesn't really mean much that he put in a call. They probably had a nice conversation.

"Maybe they even talked about something other than basketball, and didn't talk about basketball at all. Who knows. It doesn't really mean much, but he's definitely put in calls to Klay Thompson; he's talked to LeBron James and he's trying to see if he can figure out who can come with him to the Lakers."

George reportedly told the Pacers he isn't going to stay with the franchise long-term and Indiana is currently looking to trade him before he has the opportunity to walk.

George -- who grew up in Los Angeles -- wants to suit up for the Lakers.

Klay is entering Year 3 of a 4-year, $69 million deal.

If he continues to play at his current level, he will absolutely be in line for a max deal when his contract is up.

A lot can change between now and then, but one thing is clear at this point: Klay doesn't want to go anywhere.

“At the end of the day, I’ve tasted winning,” Klay told Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group at the championship parade. “No stats can ever overcome that. I’d rather win these championships and score no points than have 60-point games and 37-point quarters. These championships are everything to me...

"It’s so much more to being part of a team and being part of something special. You can build a legacy ... the thing with basketball these days, there’s a lot of individuality with stats, numbers, Who’s the greatest, he’s a better player than him, he put up this many points.

"But Steve (Kerr) helped me a lot with that. He said nobody is going to remember how many points you put up. They are going to remember how many championships you win."

Klay was born in Los Angeles, grew up rooting for Kobe Bryant and went to high school in Southern California.

His father, Mychal, won two titles with the Lakers.

"But I doubt, I highly doubt that Klay Thompson will end up leaving the Warriors," Azubuike added.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Dorell Wright knew Steph and Klay would be this good because...

Dorell Wright knew Steph and Klay would be this good because...

Dorell Wright played for the Warriors in 2010-11 and 2011-12.

He spent a lot of time with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. 

Did he think they would end up being this good?

"Yeah. I seen it because they put the time in, they put the work in," Wright told Alex Kennedy on the HoopsHype Podcast. "Sometimes we'd have to go talk to Steph like, 'Yo, you know we got a game tonight? You're going pretty hard.'

"He's a little different, man. He takes coaching and advice from everybody. If you're telling him something that's gonna better him and help him, he's gonna sit there and listen to you. He's not gonna be one of those guys that thinks he knows everything.

"I'm happy for his success ... I'm just happy he's back and being healthy."

And what about Klay?

"A guy that I had to shoot with every day in different 3-point drills that Mark Jackson used to have us doing," Wright explained. "And I'm always going first because I'm the starter, and then it would be Klay and B-Rush. I'm making 20 shots in a drill and Klay would come right behind and hit like 26, and it's like, 'Dang, this dude really is a dead-eye knockdown shooter.'

"So that was a great experience being around another good shooter and a guy that puts the time in to get better each and every day."

During the 2010-11 season, Wright set the Warriors' single-season franchise record with 194 3-pointers (Curry made 151).

The following year, he made 105 in 61 games.

Wright, who will turn 32 in December, has not played in a regular-season NBA game since April 1, 2015.

He spent the 2015-16 season in China, before returning to the Heat for the playoffs.

He was in training camp with the Clippers last October, but was waived during the preseason.

Wright enjoys watching the Warriors play and wants to make an NBA comeback.

Perhaps with his former squad...

"They play well with each other, they move the ball and they take good shots ... that's pretty hard to guard," Wright said. "I didn't get a chance this year to play them so I can't really, really tell you how hard it is (laughing), but they make it look real easy out there.

"Hopefully I can get back out there next year so I can be either on their side or on the side of trying to dethrone them."

Wright also made sure to give some love to Warriors fans.

"Some of the most loyal fans that you will ever encounter -- rowdy, loud and just love their Bay Area teams ... I'm still a resident of the Bay Area and they still show me love like I'm a current Warriors player everywhere I go...

"The fan love is crazy."

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller