Cain takes the ball in search of sweep of Rockies


Cain takes the ball in search of sweep of Rockies

April 20, 2011

GIANTS (10-7) vs.

Coverage begins at 11:30 A.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

DENVER (AP) -- Colorado hitters have had little success against San Francisco's talented pitching staff this week. Facing Matt Cain in the series finale won't make things any easier.

The NL West-leading Rockies will likely need some rare success against Cain on Wednesday to avoid being swept at home by the surging Giants for the first time in nine years.

Colorado (12-5) has been outscored 14-4 by San Francisco while losing two straight for the first time in 2011. After Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong held the Rockies to four hits in Monday's 8-1 loss, Colorado managed three hits off Jonathan Sanchez and three relievers in a 6-3 defeat Tuesday.

REWIND: Sandoval powers Giants to win over Rockies

Winners in six of seven, the reigning World Series champion Giants (10-7) have scored a combined nine runs in the first inning of the last two games. That's a trend the Rockies must end if they want to avoid being swept by San Francisco at Coors Field for the first time since Aug. 26-29, 2002.

"It would be nice to not spot them four runs," said Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who is 0 for 7 in the series. "It's a tough uphill battle for us, especially with the pitchers that they have.

"(Wednesday is) an important game. You don't want anyone coming in here and sweeping you. At the same time, it is April still."

Colorado faces a daunting task against Cain (2-0, 1.42 ERA), who has carried his 2010 postseason success over to 2011.

After pitching 21 1-3 scoreless innings to go 2-0 in three playoff starts, Cain has allowed three runs and 14 hits over 19 innings in his first three outings this year.

"I definitely go back to the postseason where I mentally was and try to use that to my advantage," Cain said.

The right-hander allowed one run and four hits in six innings of a 5-2 win at Arizona on Friday.

"He's really, I think, grown so much over the past year and a half," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's got good poise out there."

Cain enjoyed a great deal of success last season against the Rockies, going 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA in four starts. The last two came at Coors Field, where he is 3-0 with a 1.86 ERA in his last four starts dating to 2009.

Though Tulowitzki has struggled the last two nights, he is batting .323 on the season and .304 with three homers, two doubles and a triple versus Cain.

Jorge De La Rosa (2-0, 3.18) will oppose Cain, trying to continue his recent success both this season and against the Giants.

The left-hander gave up season highs of four runs, four walks and five hits Thursday in the nightcap of a doubleheader at New York, but his 6 2-3 innings were also a season high and he got credit for the Rockies' 9-4 victory.

De La Rosa is 6-1 with a 2.26 ERA in nine starts versus San Francisco. However, the loss came in his most recent outing against the Giants on Sept. 26, when he allowed three runs and five walks in six innings of a 4-2 defeat at Coors Field.

San Francisco first baseman Aubrey Huff, 3 for 7 with two doubles versus De La Rosa, homered for the second time in three games Tuesday. He has five RBIs during that span.

The Giants could be without center fielder Aaron Rowand, who left Tuesday's game with a bruised left forearm after he was hit by a pitch from Ubaldo Jimenez. Rowand is batting .320.

Why are Warriors willing to pay for picks? Lacob: 'If you just do the math...'

Why are Warriors willing to pay for picks? Lacob: 'If you just do the math...'

On Thursday night, the Warriors saw an opportunity and they struck.

Golden State paid the Bulls $3.5 million (the max amount allowed) for the rights to Jordan Bell.

After making the selection, Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group asked Lacob: "This is the fourth time you’ve bought a pick, the first two didn’t work out so great. How easy is it for you to just keep doing this?"

"Easy," Lacob answered. "We want to always be incredibly aggressive and get better. We only have a few players under contract, as Bob (Myers) pointed out.

"We tried really hard. It was really hard this year. Harder than it sounds."

Last year, the Warriors entered the draft without a pick but paid the Bucks $2.4 million for the rights to Pat McCaw -- the 38th pick.

This year, the Warriors entered the draft without a pick but acquired Bell -- the 38th pick.

"It’s amazing that we were able to do it, second year in a row," Lacob said. "Thirty-eight’s a lucky number, I guess."

After the Warriors took a 2-0 lead in the Finals, ESPN's Darren Rovell reported that sweeping the Cavs (and not at least getting a third home game in the series) would cost the Warriors over $12 million.

Golden State did not sweep Cleveland, and did get a Game 5 at Oracle Arena.

In fact, a fan reportedly paid $133,000 for two floor seats.

Making the extra money did not impact the Warriors' decision to buy a draft pick.

"We would do it regardless," Lacob told Kawakami. "We just think that it’s money well spent if you just do the math.

"If you are good at picking players, it’s just a lot cheaper way to get a player than otherwise. How else are you going to do it?"

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

The Warriors have rest of NBA scrambling, shuffling, trading, posturing

The Warriors have rest of NBA scrambling, shuffling, trading, posturing

OAKLAND -- For the Warriors, the NBA Draft was about two things: Waiting for the right time to buy the rights to a player they love and being entertained, for the fourth consecutive day, by the earnest efforts of the league’s underclass.

Not that they would put it quite so impolitely.

“It’s a competitive league. All we do is try to get better,” president/general manager Bob Myers said late Thursday night, insisting that the Warriors are too immersed in their own challenges to look down their noses at the other 29 teams.

But the truth is inescapable. This is the week that touched off the flailing of franchises feeling particularly feeble and futile in the wake of Warriors destructive run through the postseason.

The Warriors were 16-1, the best record in NBA postseason history. Their average win margin, 13.5 points, is No. 2 all time. They demolished LeBron James and the Cavaliers in The Finals, after the Cavs had annihilated all comers in the Eastern Conference. Part III of The Trilogy was by far the most lopsided.

And the Warriors followed that up by buying a second-round pick to get, by most accounts, a first-round talent in Oregon’s Jordan Bell.

[POOLE: Warriors stay ready, strike gold amid the 2017 NBA Draft scramble]

The rest of the league is determined to fight back and, therefore, is scrambling and shuffling and trading and posturing in an effort to close the gap on the champs. Those teams, staring up at the Warriors, have to do something to feel productive today while trying to keep their fans from giving up on tomorrow.

No team did more draft-night hustling than their neighbors in Sacramento, who after using their No. 5 pick to select the player they coveted most, Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox, traded the No. 10 overall pick to Portland for Nos. 15 and 20, choosing North Carolina forward Justin Jackson and Duke forward Harry Giles.

The 76ers chose Markelle Fultz, believing he is the final piece to assembling the best young team in the East. The folks in Philly, who avoided the team for nearly a decade, suddenly are on board, buying 14,000 season tickets -- a franchise record.

The Lakers grabbed UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, who will generate an enthusiasm missing at Staples Center since the best days of Kobe Bryant.

The Timberwolves and Bulls completed a major trade, with Minnesota getting All-Star guard Jimmy Butler in exchange for guards Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn, with the teams also swapping draft picks.

This all followed several moves made earlier this week, beginning with the Cavaliers dumping general manager David Griffin precisely seven days after being run over by the Warriors in The Finals.

Griffin’s dismissal preceded by a day the Hawks trading once-imposing Dwight Howard to the Hornets, as well as the Lakers dealing D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the Nets for All-Star center and Stanford product Brook Lopez.

Meanwhile, as the Warriors examine their various free-agent contingencies, so much more is percolating around the league:

-Trade talk swirls about Pacers All-Star forward Paul George, who is destined to get out of Indiana, perhaps sooner than later.

-The Cavs are searching, so far without much success, for a team willing to engage in serious negotiations regarding power forward Kevin Love.

-Knicks top executive Phil Jackson, committed to a mission of unknown purpose, announced he’s now willing to shop 21-year-old wunderkind Kristaps Porzingis.

-The Spurs are ready to move on from LaMarcus Aldridge and Danny Green.

-The Clippers -- already with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and JJ Redick set to become free agents -- reportedly are willing to ship out DeAndre Jordan.

-The Rockets seemingly are ready to swap anybody not named James Harden.

-And the Celtics also are known to be on the market, though that is not unusual when Danny Ainge is sitting in the corner office.

The Warriors are the cause for such a mad frenzy, and the sight of their competitors making mad dashes toward their respective futures is the effect. They are two cuts above and that’s tough to take in a league of men who may not mind losing but do not care to be humiliated.

“We never looked at it as far as catching anybody, or people catching up,” Myers said. “Our job is to try to get better each day. And whether that’s through personnel, coaching, developing our players or us in the front office learning and growing.

“I guess I don’t view us as ahead of everyone,” he added. “I know it’s been mentioned by everybody else, but once you start thinking that, you’re in trouble. You’ve to start believing and keep pushing.”