Giants' Bumgarner Move is Right One

Giants' Bumgarner Move is Right One

March 23, 2010GIANTS PAGE
GIANTS VIDEO SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. They said it was his job to lose, and he lost it.Madison Bumgarner, who a month before camp opened was the clear favorite -- a virtual lock -- to claim the Giants fifth-starter job, will instead start the season as an ace. At Triple-A Fresno.Some might view it as a demotion; technically it is, of course. A better viewpoint is that the Giants are smarter than some fans want to give them credit for.Take a peek at the teams early season schedule. Awful lot of days off in there, including four consecutive Thursdays in April. Thats going to give manager Bruce Bochy and pitching coach Dave Righetti the luxuryflexibility to skip the No. 5 spot a few times, keeping the big boys at the front of the rotation on turn.Now, if Bumgarner had carved all spring and proved that even at 20 years old hes ready for regular run in The Show, maybe the Giants hang onto him and simply give the big boys at the front some extra early rest.That, I say, would have been a bad idea.Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Barry Zito and Jonathan Sanchez are working every five days down here. Their arms and bodies are acclimated to it. To change that in the seasons first month, when theyre still working to build arm strength and stamina, would be counter-productive.Also counter-productive would be having Bumgarner on the big league roster but not getting regular work. Dude needs to throw every fifth day, too. Hes no less a creature of habit and routine than the big boys, and sending him to minor league camp Tuesday showed that the Giants have the big and small pictures in mind.So now that race for the No. 5 spot is between Todd Wellemeyer, the very definition of journeyman but having a fantastic spring, and Kevin Pucetas, a 25-year-old prospect with a brilliant minor league record whos been every bit as effective as Wellemeyer.Pucetas is a stud. Wellemeyer is not. Wellemeyer should get the job.Confused? Dont blame you. But check it out:Pucetas, like Bumgarner, is going to be one of the rocks of the big-league rotation at some point, probably soon. Serious trade-bait at worst. And hes a starter -- no question about it -- and thats why he soon needs to be sent to minor league camp as well.Wellemeyer is never going to be a rock of any rotation, but there is value in having a true swingman who can easily and willingly slide from spot starter to long man in the bullpen, and thats exactly what the Giants No. 5 guy will be early on.The real race for the No. 5 spot should take place in Fresno, between Bumgarner and Pucetas. Let them pitch on turn for the first month-and-a-half, and if Wellemeyer is killing it in San Francisco, great. Delay the arb clocks of the kids.If Wellemeyer comes back to earth -- he will eventually, trust me -- then by mid-May well see one of the youngsters and Wellemeyer will become the full-time long man, take his 1 million and like it.You should like all of this, too, Giants fans. Your team is doing it right.-- Mychael UrbanWhat's on your mind? Email Mychael and let him know. He may use it in his weekly Mailbag.

Barracuda power play leads the way in Game 2 win over Grand Rapids

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USATSI

Barracuda power play leads the way in Game 2 win over Grand Rapids

SAN JOSE – The Barracuda struck for three power play goals, including the game-winner in the second period by Joakim Ryan, in overcoming the Grand Rapids Griffins at SAP Center on Sunday night, 4-2.

San Jose’s victory evens the best-of-seven Western Conference Finals series at one game apiece.

Grand Rapids erased a 2-0 hole to tie the game in the middle frame, but less than a minute after Matt Ford knotted the score at 2-2 with a rocket from the circle on a Griffins power play, Ryan’s blast from just inside the blue line at 15:28 staked the Barracuda a lead they would keep for the rest of the night. 

The Barracuda finished 3-for-5 on the power play, after going 0-for-6 in a Game 1 loss on Saturday.

“The power play was a lot better tonight,” Ryan said. “We got set up more. We were able to get shots through from the point.”

One of those shots came early, when defenseman Julius Berman beat goalie Jared Coreau from long range just 3:35 into the game with San Jose on a man advantage. Later in the first, on another power play, Ryan Carpenter found open ice in the slot and redirected a Tim Heed pass at 10:44 for his team-leading eighth of the playoffs.

“Coming out, we wanted to get the first goal tonight,” Carpenter said. “For Bergman to get that first goal was huge for us.”

Ryan and Carpenter both attributed the power play success to winning faceoffs, which is something coach Roy Sommer wanted the club to focus on after it dropped the series opener, 3-1.

Winning faceoffs often is an indication of a team’s compete level, and that, too, was lacking for the Barracuda in an opener in which Sommer said his team played “dumb and slow.” 

Sunday was a much better performance.

“Whenever we’ve had a bad start, or a bad game, the next day these guys have responded,” said Sommer, whose club is the top seed in the Western Conference. “They’ve done it all year.”

The series now shifts to Grand Rapids for the next three games, with Game 3 going Wednesday. The primary affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, the Griffins posted a 25-11-2 record in their own building in the regular season.

The Barracuda, though, should be a confident group on the road. Against San Diego in the second round, San Jose won all three games in Southern California after splitting the first two at home.

“It’s going to be a hell of a series,” Sommer said. “It’s probably going to go the duration, I imagine. Both teams are kind of feeling each other out and kind of have a pretty good idea of what the other guys are doing now.”

Ryan said: “Honestly, I think they are the team in the league that plays the most like us. I felt like last night they did a better job of taking the game to us. I thought we came out better tonight, and we battled harder, competed more, won more pucks. They’re a really good team, it’s going to be a battle the rest of the series, for sure. They’re not going to lay down.”

Barclay Goodrow’s empty netter with 1:06 left in regulation was the only goal in the third period.

The Barracuda outshot the Griffins, 40-35, including a 20-11 advantage in the first period.

No sweep here: Without Isaiah Thomas, Celtics stun Cavs in Game 3

No sweep here: Without Isaiah Thomas, Celtics stun Cavs in Game 3

BOX SCORE

CLEVELAND — Avery Bradley's 3-pointer dropped in with less than a second left and the Boston Celtics, blown out in the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals and playing without star Isaiah Thomas, stunned the Cleveland Cavaliers 111-108 on Sunday night in Game 3 to end the champions' 13-game postseason winning streak.

Bradley's shot from the left wing bounced on the rim four times before going down. It capped a furious comeback by the Celtics, who trailed by 21 in the third quarter before rallying to tighten up a series that appeared to be over.

Marcus Smart scored 27 points, and Bradley had 20 for the Celtics. They were given little chance after losing by 44 in Game 2 and then losing Thomas for the rest of the postseason because of a hip injury.

Kyrie Irving scored 29 points, and Kevin Love 28 for Cleveland. The Cavaliers dropped to 10-1 in the postseason with their first loss since Game 4 of last year's Finals.