Five Earthquakes to watch in 2012

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Five Earthquakes to watch in 2012

Approaching the season opener Saturday against New England, the Earthquakes are optimistic. Key in on these five players, looking to inject the 'Quakes with energy in 2012.

Forward- Chris Wondolowski
Originally drafted out of Chico State by San Jose in 2005, the former De La Salle High School star returned to the team in 2009. Wondolowski had a breakout 2010 season, leading Major League Soccer in scoring with 18 goals in 28 matches en route to winning the MLS Golden Boot. In 2011, Wondolowski recorded nine game-winning goals, setting an MLS record. San Jose recently resigned Wondolowski to a new contract this February 2012.

Midfielder- Tressor Moreno
The veteran talent made his professional debut in 1999 when he emigrated to Peru and played for the Peruvian Alianza Lima team. During his year with Lima, Moreno played in 40 matches and scored 16 goals. In 2000 Moreno played for Colombia. During the 2005 season he was named one of the best players of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. During this time, Moreno was thought to be one the best foreign players to ever represent Peru. Moreno became a member of the Earthquakes in February 2012.

Winger - Marvin Chavez
Chavez broke out in 2011, starting 30 of 31 games and registering six goals and four assists for FC Dallas. He boosted the Texas club to a fourth-place finish and a place in the playoffs for the second season in a row. Chavez scored a game-winner in CONCACAF Champions League play on Aug. 17 against the Pumas UNAM. His MLS career includes eight goals and six assists, highlighted by a a goal and two assists in the MLS Cup final. Chavez is known as "El Hijo del Viento, (The Son of the Wind) because of speed.

Center defender- Ike Opara
Opara was drafted by San Jose Earthquakes in the first round (third overall) in the 2010 MLS Superdraft after playing five years for San Diego State University. In 19 games, Opara has scored three goals. Opara has a 38.5 SOG accuracy. The San Jose defender was selected by the U.S. to join its under-23 men's National Team Olympic Camp.

Full back- Steven Beitashour
Beitashour was picked 30 overall in the second round of the MLS Superdraft by the San Jose Earthquakes. He scored his first goal in the MLS against Chivas USA on April 24, 2010. Beitashour has played for the MLS for two years, scoring one goal and registering seven assists.

Instant Analysis: Giants' rally falls short in 5-4 loss to Cubs

Instant Analysis: Giants' rally falls short in 5-4 loss to Cubs

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO — The Giants will need a win on getaway day to clinch their first winning road trip.

Wednesday's comeback attempt fell just short, as the Giants scored two in the ninth but lost to the Cubs 5-4. Since taking the first two games in St. Louis, they have dropped three of four, falling 11 games back of the Rockies in the division.

Here are five things to know from the coldest Giants game of the year … 

— Mac Williamson fouled off eight pitches before going the opposite way against Wade Davis, who entered with a 0.00 ERA in 19 appearances. The two-run homer ended a run of 19 consecutive solo shots by the Giants, two short of their own MLB record. It was the first homer off Davis in two years. 

— The sixth inning was one of the stranger escapes we’ve seen from a pitcher this season. With two on and one out, Jason Heyward blasted a Matt Moore pitch right down the line and it looked like it would give the Cubs a 6-2 lead. The wind blew the ball a couple of feet foul. Heyward then topped one down the line and Moore’s throw bounced away from first, allowing a run to score. But the umpires called — correctly — Heyward out for running inside the line. It’s a call you rarely see. Moore then struck out Addison Russell to keep what could have easily been a 6-2 or 4-2 game at 3-2. 

— Before the first game of this series, a Giant asked in the dugout, “I wonder what some of the Cubs’ numbers would look like at our place?” Anthony Rizzo is a .159 hitter with no homers in 18 career games at AT&T Park, but he had no issues on a night when conditions were worse than they are most nights in San Francisco. Rizzo homered off Moore in his first two at-bats. 

— Rizzo will occasionally put a bunt down to beat the shift — he had an accidental bunt in his third at-bat — which the Giants have long wanted Brandon Belt to do. Belt pushed one away from the shift in the sixth, and even though it was too close to pitcher Kyle Hendricks, the throw was off and Belt reached second. One of those a week would open up a few more holes. 

— This lineup has made a habit of making mediocre and downright bad pitchers look good, and the actual good ones are taking advantage, too. A night after Jon Lester recorded his first complete game of the year, Hendricks threw seven innings for the first time. 

Mullin sees potential Warriors-Cavs trilogy Finals going six games, but...

Mullin sees potential Warriors-Cavs trilogy Finals going six games, but...

As the defending champion Cavaliers are one win away from advancing to the NBA Finals, the consensus is they will meet the Warriors there and, moreover, that Part III of the trilogy promises to be the most compelling yet.

Chris Mullin is not so sure.

The Hall of Fame forward and current St. John's head coach, a guest Wednesday on the NBC Sports Bay Area Warriors Insider Podcast, perceives a reasonable chance of sweeping the series.

“I’m going on the record saying 4-2, just because maybe I want to see six games,” Mullin said. “I would not be surprised if it’s 4-1 or 4-zero. I think they’re that good.”

Recalling how the Warriors started sluggishly after a one-week layoff ahead of Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against the Spurs, Mullin conceded there could be some rust but probably not enough to invite a loss.

“I don’t want to lay any . . . pressure, but the Warriors, to me, this team that we’re watching is going to go down in history as one of the best teams of all time,” he said. “I believe that. I think they will stay together and that’s we’re probably going to see four Hall of Fame players that have played together and have dominated and become a dynasty. That’s what we’re going to look back on.

“There’s just a huge disparity between them and the rest of the league -- and not just the Cavaliers. But there’s a huge disparity between them and the Cavaliers. “

The Warriors defeated Cleveland in six games to win the championship in 2015, but the Cavaliers recovered from a 3-1 deficit to take the rematch last June.

Though both teams have made substantive changes, Mullin is more impressed with what the Warriors have done, including the addition of four-time scoring champion Kevin Durant to a nucleus that included All-Stars Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.

Mullin pointed out that the losses of Andrew Bogut, along with subtractions to their fabled depth and chemistry, led some to wonder if the Warriors might lose the magic of the previous two seasons. He also understands that point of view.

“But as I see it now,” he said, “I think they’re deeper and have better chemistry than they did last year when they won 73 games.”

It’s not that Mullin gives the Cavaliers, who have won 11 of 12 games in these playoffs, zero chance to win the series. It is just, in his view, very slim. “Cleveland, they’ve got really good people,” he said. “Their talent, I’m not discounting at all. LeBron and Kyrie and Kevin Love, these guys are great, great players.

“I feel like the Warriors are just a notch above everybody. I really believe that.”