49ers

Cain vs. Hudson -- a pitchers' duel in the desert?

446050.jpg

Cain vs. Hudson -- a pitchers' duel in the desert?

April 14, 2011GIANTS PAGE GIANTS VIDEOMLB STANDINGS MLB SCOREBOARD
GIANTS (6-6) vs.ARIZONA (5-6)

Coverage begins at 6 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet BayArea

PHOENIX (AP) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks have averaged more than seven runs on their first homestand of the season, but they've surrendered even more.

Friday's series opener with the Giants could produce a rare pitchers' duel in Phoenix.

Matt Cain looks to lead the Giants to a third straight victory as he squares off against Daniel Hudson, who has yet to receive any help from an Arizona offense which has been explosive lately.

There was nothing out of the ordinary about the Diamondbacks' season-opening road trip, when they were outscored 23-20 while going 2-3.

NEWS: Giants to auction authentic World Series ring

Since returning to Chase Field, though, Arizona (5-6) has seen its offense get hot against Cincinnati and St. Louis, three times posting 10 runs or more. The Diamondbacks have split those six games while batting .316 with nine homers.

If they aren't lighting up the scoreboard, however, they haven't won. After surrendering eight runs apiece in three consecutive games, Arizona gave up that many in the first two innings Wednesday in a 15-5 loss to the Cardinals.

"It is tough to be in a game like that but they kept battling," manager Kirk Gibson said. "It was a lot to make up. I've played in several games like that and you can push yourself as much as you want. It's frustrating. It's disappointing."

Their team has been outscored 47-44 on the homestand, but the fans in Phoenix could be in for a considerably different atmosphere with Cain (1-0, 1.38 ERA) opposing Hudson (0-2, 3.46).

San Francisco's right-hander didn't allow an earned run in 21 1-3 innings in the 2010 postseason, and he pitched six in a 10-0 win over Los Angeles on April 2.

RELATED: Cain stats splits game logs

His shutout streak ended Saturday against St. Louis, but Cain was still solid, surrendering two runs over seven innings before the Giants (6-6) rallied for a 3-2 win -- the day they received their World Series rings.

"Incredible postseason run he had. It is fitting to have him out there," manager Bruce Bochy said. "What an unsung hero he is with the way he pitched."

Other than Stephen Drew (9 for 27, three homers), the Diamondbacks can't be looking forward to facing Cain, who went 2-0 with a 1.16 ERA in three starts in the series last season. He struck out 25 in 23 1-3 innings.

Hudson was nearly as dominant against the Giants in 2010, going 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in two starts after coming over from the White Sox.

The right-hander has been strong in his first two outings of 2011 but hasn't gotten any support. Hudson gave up three runs over six innings April 2 at Colorado as Arizona failed to score while he was in the game. He surrendered two first-inning runs Saturday, then held Cincinnati scoreless over the next six in a 6-1 loss.

RELATED: Hudson stats splits game logs

"He certainly did his job," Gibson told the Diamondbacks' official website. "He had a rough first inning, but settled in nicely. He got stronger as the game went on."

Arizona better hope it can give Hudson a lead Friday because it won't want to face Brian Wilson in the ninth. San Francisco's closer, who have up five runs in his first two outings this season, bounced back with consecutive perfect innings in saves against the Dodgers on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Seven of Wilson's major league-best 48 saves last season came against Arizona, allowing six baserunners and striking out 10 over 9 2-3 scoreless innings. He's been scored upon only once in 13 career appearances in Phoenix.

Shanahan expects 'everyone in our building to be pissed off' after loss to Denver

Shanahan expects 'everyone in our building to be pissed off' after loss to Denver

After a couple of practices and one exhibition game against the Denver Broncos, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan once again came to the realization things are often not as good or bad as they seem.

That was his takeaway a day after the 49ers provided the Broncos with five giveaways to go along with 11 penalties in a 33-14 loss at Levi’s Stadium.

“But when I get in and watch the tape, it wasn’t quite as bad as it felt,” Shanahan said Sunday on a conference call with Bay Area reporters. “When you look at each situation, especially when you talk about the ones on offense, it takes 11 guys to execute a play, and if you have one guy off a little bit, it breaks down.”

A couple of passes that could have been caught, a ball that slipped out of quarterback Brian Hoyer’s hand and some other correctable errors gives Shanahan reason to be optimistic.

When he spoke to the media on Saturday night after the game, Shanahan was clearly upset with how his 90-man team performed. He was asked a day later if it was a relief to watch the film and come to the conclusion that not everything was a total disaster.

“It’s not really relief,” Shanahan quipped. “It’s kind of my life story.

“We put a lot into it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a scrimmage, practice or preseason. I try to compose myself by the time I talk to you guys (the media) after practice. But I’m pretty pissed after practice when it doesn’t go well. We’re competitive guys and we want everything to be perfect. That’s why most of the time I’m not that happy.”

Shanahan said he expects everyone in the organization to hold themselves to the same high standard.

“Whenever you go out to a game like that, you want to win, you want to play well,” he said. “And you turn the ball over like that and you have the penalties that we did, I’m definitely going to be pissed off and I expect everyone in our building to be pissed off. If they’re not, that’s when I would be worried.”

Shanahan said he had the opposite feeling after the practice Wednesday against the Broncos that looked like a decisive win for the 49ers. Upon review, Shanahan said he felt there was still a lot of room for improvement.

“I thought things seemed real good at practice our first day versus them,” he said. “Then, I go in and watch the film and it was good but not quite as good as I felt when I was out there.”

49ers could get presumptive starting free safety back soon

fullsizerender-72.jpg
USATSI

49ers could get presumptive starting free safety back soon

The 49ers could get their presumptive starting free safety back on the field this week.

Jimmie Ward, who has been on the physically-unable-to-perform list since sustaining a hamstring injury during a conditioning test on the eve of training camp, will go through strenuous workouts Monday and Tuesday.

Ward could be cleared to return to practice as early as Wednesday, when the club is scheduled to hold its next practice.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said Sunday in a conference call with reporters that defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley will will pace him through a football-related workout on Monday and Tuesday.

"Hopefully, we'll get him ready to go by Wednesday," Shanahan said.

The 49ers envision Ward, a first-round draft pick in 2014, as a major contributor in the team’s new 4-3 scheme, which is based on Seattle’s defense. With strong safety Eric Reid playing close to the line of scrimmage, Ward will play the deep safety – a role that Earl Thomas has played for the Seahawks.

In Ward’s absence, undrafted rookie safety Lorenzo Jerome started the 49ers’ first two exhibition games and appears to have played his way into solid position for a spot on the 53-man roster.

"Lorenzo has done a good job," Shanahan said. "I think a couple of times he's ran around and been a ballhawk for us and made some tackles. I thought they caught him a few times out of position last night on a few play-action looks because he's been so aggressive. He's going to have to learn from those, but they never made him pay for those by going outside."

QUICK SLANTS
--The 49ers will have days off on Monday and Tuesday as they settle into their regular-season routine.

--Shanahan said he has been formulating ideas for the game plan against Carolina in Week 1 of the regular season. So as the 49ers play the exhibition games, they are mindful of not showing too much.

"I never get too far away from that," Shanahan said. "Everything we put into a preseason game, you always try to take into account what you’re going to be doing in the regular season."

--Shanahan said he thought No. 1 quarterback Brian Hoyer "did a good job." He said the first throw intended for Vance McDonald over the middle was thrown a little late.

"Besides that, I thought he did a good job with his reads and went to the right spots," Shanahan said.

Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard also was on-point with his reads, Shanahan said.

--Eli Harold got the start Saturday night at outside linebacker position, as he competes with Ahmad Brooks for a job.

"I try to go off what I see in practice," Shanahan said. "You want to know who has more upside, things like that. Who's going to get better throughout the year if given the opportunity? But you also want to know, when it's all said and done, who is going to affect your win-loss record the most. Those are the things I look at personally."

--Former 49ers receiver Anquan Boldin announced his retirement on Sunday. Shanahan never coached him, but he was obviously a big fan.

"I've personally met Anquan or talked to him before, but he has been one of my favorites of all time," Shanahan said. "I love Anquan. I don't know him at all, but I feel like I do because I've always studied how he plays. I remember watching him in college when he came into Florida State as a quarterback and moved quickly to receiver his freshman year.

"And I remember him coming into the league and people thinking he wouldn't be as great because he didn't have a fast 40 time. And watching him play over the years. That's my definition of a football player. He's as violent of a receiver as there is, and I've always truly believed that receivers can really set the mentality of an offense. I feel lineman have no choice, they have to be tough. Running backs, if you're not tough, you're not going to make it in this league because you get hit every play. Quarterbacks got to hang in there. Receivers are the guys who can pick and choose a little bit. And when you have guys who play like Anquan, that just brings a whole different mentality to your offense that I think usually leads to teams that have chances to win Super Bowls."