Giants dealing with Sandy's aftermath

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Giants dealing with Sandy's aftermath

From Comcast SportsNetEAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Instead of shoes at the bottom of his locker, New York Giants safety Stevie Brown had a couple of power cords.One carried a charge into his cellphone and the other into his laptop in somewhat of a crossing pattern. A flashlight was plugged into a nearby outlet.While the Giants (6-2) prepare for Sunday's home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-4), the electronic equipment at the bottom of the locker of the NFC defensive player of the week was a sign of another opponent the Giants are facing this week -- the aftermath of Sandy.The superstorm devastated areas of New York City and New Jersey and it has left a number of Giants without power at home, something an NFL player needs to review videotape of upcoming opponents as well as to stay warm and comfortable.Only some players and coaches said they had power on Wednesday. Receiver Victor Cruz got it back after losing it for a couple of hours on Monday. Guard Kevin Boothe never lost power so he hosted tight end Martellus Bennett and his wife on Tuesday. Coach Tom Coughlin believes he never lost his electricity, but said he hasn't been home much since the team returned from Dallas early Monday following a win over the Cowboys. Coughlin has been busy working on preparations for Pittsburgh.Sandy struck Monday evening and left a wake of destruction not seen in decades or ever."It's definitely shocking," said Cruz, who grew up 20 minutes from MetLife Stadium. "I mean, you've seen it with a couple of hurricanes in the past, when I was younger. I used to see all of that stuff. It never directly affected me. The past couple of years, a couple of hurricanes when you see things, when you see a couple having to evacuate their home and stuff, it definitely hits close to home a little bit."This storm destroyed towns and beaches, swamped cars, knocked down trees and left more than a million people without power.Quarterback Eli Manning was one of them, and he moved out of his Hoboken residence and into a hotel after his lobby flooded."I saw a little bit once I got to the hotel and finally got power," Manning said Wednesday before practice. "Saw some images and pictures and news just about some of the tragic events and the deaths and the fires and loss of homes, whether in New York and New Jersey and all over."Just some terrible stories, and obviously you send out prayers to those families and those people who are still going through terrible situations right now. So I guess I feel fortunate that we can come in and come to work and be with our friends and teammates here. My family is safe, so I feel fortunate that we're here today."Having grown up in New Orleans, Manning is no stranger to hurricanes. However, his family tended to evacuate before major storms as a precaution. As a player, he couldn't do that here."I didn't really have that option this time of getting out of Dodge," Manning said. "You know it's no joke and it can be very serious and you just hope . obviously in this situation you have to ride it out and just hopefully didn't have major danger."Bennett walked the streets of his West New York neighborhood, helping people before heading over to the Boothes, where he pained pictures with Boothe's 2-year-old son."This is what this team is about," said Bennett, who lives by the water. "We have a great group of guys, and anytime you are in need of help they reach out.""My son thought Martellus was there, solely to play with him," Boothe added. "They had a great time."Linebacker Michael Boley has experienced tornadoes in the south and said he wasn't too scared by the howling winds in Edgewater. He also isn't worried about the storm taking some of the team's focus. He said players will stay at the team headquarters longer so they don't have a problem with power concerns in watching film."No a lot of things are going to change around here, storm or not," Boley said.Most of the players said Coughlin is a calming influence during these unexpected problems. A couple of years ago it was a snowstorm in Minnesota that forced the team to play in Detroit."We're not denying what's going on. I mean, I think that's foolish," Coughlin said. "Everyone has been struck by this. Although, I would like very much to make sure that the focus is 100 percent on the task at hand, I think you do have to have a little bit of a mature attitude about these young men, their families and some of the circumstances they might be going through. Just like probably 85 percent of you who don't have power. Well, there's no sense in ducking that one. I mean, we've got guys who have kind of doubled up, and families have gone to where they can, where power is in existence, especially people with young children."I'll try to do the best I can with that, but there's no avoiding what's happened here. Quite frankly, we don't want to. That's not our job. We realize this is a part of life. We've been struck by a blow by Mother Nature and we have to deal with it the best way we can."That is why Stevie Brown brings his phone, flashlight and computer to work these days, to get them charged and ready for more work in the dark."I just have a dog," Brown said. "Me and him sit in the dark with the candles lit. It's pretty romantic."

With Bumgarner sidelined, Blach 'taking full advantage' of opportunity

With Bumgarner sidelined, Blach 'taking full advantage' of opportunity

SAN FRANCISCO -- At some point over the next four days, Madison Bumgarner will pick up a baseball, stand a few feet across from a member of the training staff, and simply play catch. It'll be a huge step in Bumgarner's rehab, and should it go well, a boost to the psyche of a struggling team.

In the meantime, another lefty is making sure the Giants don't suffer too much without their ace, as improbable as that first seemed.

Ty Blach took a shutout into the eighth Saturday night and in true Bumgarner fashion, he added a pair of hits and an RBI. The Giants beat the Braves 6-3. They've won Blach's past three starts, and even with a 10-run outing in Cincinnati mixed in, he has a 3.71 ERA since taking the spot left open by a dirt bike accident.

"Because of what happened he's in the rotation," manager Bruce Bochy said, "And he's taking full advantage."

Blach has shown that long term, he might be a big part of this rotation. It's been years since the Giants locked a young, cost-controlled starter in, and Blach has backed up his big cameo last year. It's possible -- likely even -- that at some point the Giants will need to trade a veteran, perhaps Johnny Cueto, for young bats. Blach provides needed insurance. 

Short term, he's providing a huge boost to a team that doesn't have much going right. Blach has thrown at least seven innings in his past four starts. He has allowed just eight earned runs in four starts since the one in Cincinnati, throwing 28 2/3 innings. 

"I feel good," Blach said. "I've always been a starter, so it's been a pretty easy transition to make. I feel comfortable."

The Giants are comfortable behind him, as evidenced by a half-dozen strong defensive plays Saturday. 

"He's been consistent and he works quickly," first baseman Brandon Belt said. "He's just a great guy to play behind."

Blach even joined in at the plate. He had an RBI single in his first at-bat -- his first big league hit off Not Clayton Kershaw -- and later roped another single. Blach even showed off his wheels, busting it from first to third on Denard Span's ball to the corner before Phil Nevin held him up. 

"I worked into some good counts and I was able to get fastballs," Blach said of his night at the plate. "It's definitely a big confidence booster when your spot comes up and you're able to drive in runs."

The night was straight out of Bumgarner's playbook, and it was needed. The Giants had dropped five of six, but Blach was backed by homers from Nick Hundley and Brandon Belt. It got a little hairy late, but the bullpen held on, clinching Blach's third win of the season. He looks poised for many more, and Bochy is happy to keep running him out there.

"I'm not surprised by what he's doing," the manager said.

 

Instant Analysis: Blach does it all vs Braves, Giants snap skid

Instant Analysis: Blach does it all vs Braves, Giants snap skid

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — This spot in the rotation is the one reserved for the stopper, the pitcher who takes a game by the throat when his team really needs it. 

Ty Blach took the mound Saturday for a team that had lost five of six, and just as Madison Bumgarner often has, Blach ended the skid. The young lefty was dominant into the eighth and the bats finally provided enough support. The Giants won 6-3, tying this weekend series with the Braves.

Here are five things to know from a night we were reminded that Emilio Bonifacio is in the big leagues … 

--- Blach pitched 7 2/3 innings. He has thrown at least seven innings in his last four starts, and five of seven starts overall. Jeff Samardzija (6) is the only Giants starter who has gone that deep more often. Blach is tied with Johnny Cueto for second-most seven-inning starts on staff, and Cueto has made three additional starts. 

--- Blach’s RBI single in the fourth was -- at the time -- the fourth hit of his career, and the first against a pitcher not named Clayton Kershaw. The ball had an exit velocity of 101 mph. Blach tried to score from first on Denard Span’s double, but Phil Nevin held him. Still, the way he was moving, it makes you wonder if Samardzija really is Bruce Bochy’s best pitcher-pinch-running option. In the seventh, Blach picked up a second single. 

--- Blach’s only bad start has been the one he made in Cincinnati, where the Giants played like a Double-A team. If you take that one out, Blach has a 2.21 ERA since taking over Bumgarner’s rotation spot. 

--- Even though he gave up just two earned in 7 2/3, Blach’s home ERA actually went up. It’s 1.75, which ranks seventh in the National League. The sellout crowd gave Blach a standing ovation when he was pulled in the eighth. 

--- Blach had a season-high five strikeouts. When he got Nick Markakis to end the first, Blach ended a streak of 37 left-handers faced without a strikeout. He later struck out another lefty, Matt Adams. The new Braves first baseman came up as the tying run in the eighth but Derek Law got him to ground out to first. 

--- Bonus sixth “thing to know” ... on Blach of course: His first name is Tyson, not Tyler. It’s Tyson Michael Blach.