Boyle: Time to 'finish these guys off' in Game 6

Boyle: Time to 'finish these guys off' in Game 6

April 25, 2011

SHARKS (3-2) vs.
LOS ANGELES (2-3)
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Coverage starts at 6:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California.

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Home ice hasn't meant much in the all-California series between the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings.

Each team has won twice as the visitor, and now the Sharks, who won the opener at home in overtime, are back at Staples Center with a second chance to close out the series Monday night.

"We had the one opportunity that we missed," Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle said Sunday. "We can't really think about Game 7. We've got to finish these guys off and just play our game."

The Sharks will start Antti Niemi in goal in Game 6, despite him getting pulled Saturday night for the second time in the series. He allowed three goals on the Kings' first four shots of their 3-1 victory in San Jose.

"He's ready to go back in and we have a ton of confidence in him," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "Any time he's had a bad game he's come back. The thing with him is he hasn't had two within a five-game span in a long time. He'll need to polish it up, just like the rest of us do."
RELATED: McLellan going with Niemi in Game 6

McLellan blamed defensive breakdowns for the Kings' first two goals, although he didn't defend their third goal by Dustin Penner, who had been scoreless since March 13, two weeks after he was acquired from Edmonton.

"I've got to stay on top of the crease when they get the puck. That's pretty much all I can take from the game," Niemi said. "Just be a little bit more challenging when they've got a chance to shoot. It takes just careful preparation and getting ready and not thinking about it too much."

Los Angeles is sticking with Jonathan Quick, who made a franchise playoff-record 51 saves to extend his team's season for at least one more game.

"It's not a number I'm concerned about," Kings coach Terry Murray said of the shots. "It's the Grade A, quality chances that are the ones I really focus in on and that number was not too bad."

The Kings staved off San Jose comeback behind Quick's steadiness and their defense, which has been a strength all season and which forced the Sharks to shoot mostly from the perimeter.

"Mentally, it's a little bit easier to stay sharp because you're constantly getting action. On the other hand, it's a little more demanding physically," Quick said. "Yesterday was more of a physical challenge than mental."

Quick bounced back after getting shelled for 12 goals in the Kings' two losses at home.

RATTO: Sharks, Niemi uncomfortable once again

The Sharks will be looking to get off to a fast start, something that has eluded them so far while getting outscored 8-1 in the first period of the series.

"I can tell you it's not a lack of preparation or want or effort. I'm seeing all those things," Boyle said. "It seems across the board teams are scoring in bunches, not just our series but other series, too. So if they do score, it's very important for the next shift and the shift following that, you just got to pick it up a little bit, be a little better."

The same could be said about Penner, whose physical presence and skills kept him in the lineup despite his lack of impact in the series. He played on the Kings' fourth line with Kevin Westgarth and Jarret Stoll.

"I'm giving him an opportunity here to back away from having to shut down a (Joe) Thornton line and the checking part of the game," Murray said. "He's capable, but the game is just not there right now. With a different look, it's an opportunity to kind of get your game together and have some success and certainly not the same threat coming at him as a Thornton line."

Having faced each other 11 times so far, including a split of six regular season games, there are few ways either team can surprise the other.

"Now it does come down to execution, it comes down to attitude," Murray said. "You really have to get into your own head as a player of making sure you're paying the price to compete. That's where we need to be even better."

A victory by the Kings would force a seventh game Wednesday night in San Jose.

"We're a really good road team. Right now that means nothing because we have to win at home," Quick said. "All we're focused on is playing at home in front of our crowd and giving them something to cheer about. We want to give them something to go home happy about."

Bumgarner throws three innings of no-hit ball in first rehab start

Bumgarner throws three innings of no-hit ball in first rehab start

BOX SCORE

Madison Bumgarner was back on the hill Sunday night in a Giants jersey for the first time since being placed on the DL on April 21 due to a dirt bike accident

Bumgarner took the mound for the Arizona Rookie League Giants and did not allow a hit in three innings pitched. The Giants' ace also struck out two and walked one. 

In both the first and third innings, Bumgarner pitched a perfect three up and three down frame. 

Bumgarner was diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain of his left throwing shoulder and sustained bruised ribs from his dirt bike accident on an off day in Colorado. Pitching in a game for the first time in over two months, Bumgarner was throwing between 88-91 miles per hour, according to Tommy Stokke of FanRagSports. 

After finishing his three innings of work, Bumgarner went down to the bullpen to increase his pitch count, reports Sande Charles of FanRagSports

Before sustaining the injury, Bumgarner was 0-3 with a 3.00 ERA in four starts this season. 

The Giants have gone 21-41 since Bumgarner's injury. They are 27-51 on the year and sit 24.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West. 

After another Giants clunker, Bochy tells players 'enough is enough'

After another Giants clunker, Bochy tells players 'enough is enough'

SAN FRANCISCO — A few minutes after yet another missed opportunity at the plate Sunday, a voice came over a speaker in the press box at AT&T Park and announced a 524th consecutive sellout. It nicely summed up this current stretch of Giants baseball. 

The seats are emptier than they used to be at first pitch, and they were just about abandoned in the ninth inning of an 8-2 loss, but for the most part the fans are still showing up in droves. One woman brought a toaster by the dugout Sunday morning and asked players and coaches to sign it, hoping to recapture the magic from across the bridge. Another, Bryan Stow, made his first appearance of the season at AT&T Park, met with Bruce Bochy, and said he hoped to see a win. As Matt Moore started warming up, a band set up on top of the visiting dugout to play hits that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. 

For a while, AT&T Park was rocking. And then, as has happened so often this summer, the game started. 

The Giants turned in another epic clunker in a season full of them. They have lost 12 of their last 13 games and 21 of 26, but it’s worse than the raw numbers. On most nights, some in the organization have noted privately, they are simply boring. It’s one thing to lose, it’s quite another to do it in this way. 

“There’s no getting around it,” Bochy said after the sweep. “I’ve been through some tough stretches here and this is as tough as any stretch I’ve seen. For some reason the baseball gods are really testing us here and (testing) this group. It’s not that they’re not coming out ready or trying, but enough is enough.

“At some point, we’ve got to find a way to get this thing turned around.”

Even a slight pivot would be welcomed by the faithful. There were scattered boos Sunday, the latest in a growing trend. This is a fan base that has seen the highest highs, but rarely in franchise history have the lows been this low. 

The crowd no longer turns to the rally lights that were used so often in an awful April, but the noise still grows with each new rally. And then, every single time Sunday, the Giants killed off any hope. 

In the second inning, a Brandon Belt bunt single and Brandon Crawford bloop put two on, but a pair of rookies flied out. 

In the third, the bases were loaded ahead of Buster Posey. He flied out to bring one run across, and there were still runners on the corners for Belt, who leads the team in homers. On a 2-2 count, Hunter Pence inexplicably took off for second. He was caught, the inning was over, and the two-run Mets lead was intact. Bochy said he did not send Pence. 

In the sixth, there were two on with no outs for Posey. Both runners bolted to stay out of a double play. Posey popped up to first -- for a double play.

“He’s not a guy that strikes out, so I’m pretty confident sending runners with Buster,” Bochy said. “We can’t keep laying back. We’re trying to force the issue a bit and stay out of double plays.”

In the eighth, the Giants loaded the bases for Posey and Belt. Posey grounded out. Belt struck out for the third time. 

“We’re getting guys out there,” Bochy said. “We’re not doing enough damage.”

Matt Moore’s damage was self-inflicted. He twice gave up homers to the guy — Rene Rivera — hitting in front of the pitcher. Moore said he has stopped throwing his cutter the past three starts and tried to get his four-seamer going, but the Mets were teeing off. Moore gave up five runs on seven hits. He was pulled in the fifth, left to think about mechanics that still aren’t right. 

“The cutter is a little bit different of a pitch and at times it can take away from the four-seam fastball location-wise, and command of the four-seam was starting to go down the more I threw (the cutter),” Moore said. “I’m anxious to get back to it, but the foundation has got to be throwing the four-seam fastball. I need to execute where they’re carrying through the zone, not running or cutting.”

Moore said his confidence is fine and his problems are not physical. Others can no longer say that. Austin Slater, a rare bright spot in this five-win month, was pulled with a tight hip flexor. He was headed for an MRI. 

Slater is too young to be one of the players Bochy approached after the game. He said he talked to a few, though, passing along that “enough is enough” message. Moore, last in the National League in ERA (6.04), was not one who needed a reminder. 

“I’m sitting on a six right now with not a lot of wins and not enough team wins when I’m throwing,” he said. “It’s been 'enough' for me for the last couple of months.”