Giants Insider notes: Cain on his game


Giants Insider notes: Cain on his game

May 18, 2011

Our MLB Insider takes a look at the Giants' 8-5 victory over the host Dodgers on Wednesday night in the opener of a two-game series at Chavez Ravine.Cain on his game: San Francisco right-hander Matt Cain extended his streak of consecutive scoreless innings against the Dodgers to 20 by starting the game with four perfect innings before Matt Kemp led off the fifth with a solo homer. It appeared to rattle Cain's cage a bit; he walked Juan Uribe, hit James Loney with a pitch and walked Jay Gibbons to load the bases with nobody out. What followed, though, was Cain's most impressive pitching of the night. After retiring Rod Barajas on an infield popup, he got pinch hitter Juan Castro on a fly ball that wasn't deep enough to tempt Uribe into testing center fielder Aaron Rowand's arm, and the threat of a big inning died when Cain coaxed a groundout to second from Jamey Carroll.
RECAP: Ross' blast lifts Giants to 8-5 win over Dodgers
Slaying the dragon: Los Angeles lefty Clayton Kershaw brought an even longer streak of consecutive scoreless innings against his team's top rival into the contest, having shut out the Giants over 23 23. He extended the streak by retiring the first eight batters of the game, but Cain singled with two out in the third, moved to third base on a single by Rowand and scored on a single by Freddy Sanchez. The Giants continued to pepper the Dodgers' ace in the fourth, getting consecutive singles from Pat Burrell, Cody Ross, Aubrey Huff and Miguel Tejada to open the inning before pinch hitter Mike Fontenot, stepping in for injured Mark DeRosa, drew a bases-loaded walk. A sacrifice fly by Rowand capped the rally, and Kershaw was gone after five innings.The daily shuffle: A night after going 0-for-5, Andres Torres took a seat in favor of Rowand despite Rowand's career .091 (1-for-11) batting average against Kershaw, and Sanchez was back at second base after spending Tuesday night in Colorado resting his swollen left knee. Rowand contributed to both rallies and Sanchez's single opened the scoring, once again making manager Bruce Bochy look like he has some sort of crystal ball hidden inside that massive lid of his.Nice approach: The prudent approach for right-handed hitters against a tough lefty such as Kershaw is to look to hit the ball up the middle or to the opposite field. While helping to put together a stretch of seven singles in eight at-bats bridging the third and fourth inning, Cain, Rowand, Sanchez and Burrell went to right field, and Ross went up the middle.DeRosa done?: Still hoping to help DeRosa snap out of his deep offensive funk, Bochy gave him his third consecutive start at third base. It's now unclear if DeRosa will ever again make a start in a Giants uniform, because he left the game in the fourth inning with what the team called a left wrist strain. The wrist has been an issue for DeRosa ever since he signed a two-year, 12 million deal as a free agent before the 2010 season. Before leaving the game in obvious pain after a barely perceptible checked swing, DeRosa saw his streak of hitless at-bats reach 19 since coming off the DL earlier this month -- he was on it with wrist inflammation -- and he's 0-for-23 overall since going 2-for-3 at Arizona on April 16.
NEWS: Giants' DeRosa headed for DL with wrist strain
Tejada tacks on: The Dodgers cut into the Giants' lead with a run in the bottom of the seventh, but Tejada, who was nothing short of brutal for much of the season's first five week but has been showing signs of life of late both at the plate and on defense, got the run back with a two-out single in the top of the eighth. It was the team's 10th hit of the night, all of them singles, and the first nine of them came from nine different players.Right back to him: Bochy is beloved by his players in part because he shows a ton of faith in them after they've had a particularly tough game. That was in evidence -- and paid off -- Wednesday when he turned to Javier Lopez, who had struggled during an ugly 16-pitch outing in relief of Jonathan Sanchez at Colorado on Tuesday. With dangerous Andre Ethier at the plate and a runner on with one out in the eighth, Lopez came on for the lefty-on-lefty situation in which he typically excels and froze Ethier with a called third strike on a 2-2 pitch for what, at the time, appeared to be one of the biggest outs of the game.Cain's pain: Sergio Romo took over for Lopez after Ethier struck out and was greeted with a single by Kemp, prompting Bochy to bring on closer Brian Wilson for what would have been his first four-out save of the season. Wilson, however, gave up a two-run double to Uribe before Loney bounced an RBI single between second baseman Sanchez and first baseman Huff, who looked like he could have flagged it down but instead opted to head for first base, perhaps thinking Sanchez had a bead on the ball. Thus, Cain was charged with three runs for his 7 13 innings of three-hit work with three walks and seven strikeouts, and what should have been his fourth victory ended up being his fourth no-decision.Torture: Cody Ross. Three-run homer with two out in the ninth. Got heeeeeem!

Warriors stay ready, strike gold amid the 2017 NBA Draft scramble

Warriors stay ready, strike gold amid the 2017 NBA Draft scramble

OAKLAND -- Considering their status as reigning champs without a pick, members of the Warriors personnel department could have turned out the lights and left team headquarters to watch the NBA Draft from a nearby tavern.

They instead stayed in business mode Thursday night, observing the draft-night chaos up close, waiting for the right moment and the right player.

And for the second consecutive year, the Warriors paid a team for its 38th overall draft pick, sending a reported $3.5 million to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for the rights to Oregon big man Jordan Bell, the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.

“Everybody we talked to had a lot of good things to say about him,” president/general manager Bob Myers said. “He’s one of the few guys we looked at and really wanted to see if we could get. I actually was not optimistic we would be able to get him. But somehow it came to fruition.”

Myers added that the Warriors, along with many mock drafts, projected Bell as a first-round pick.

Bell led the Pac-12 in field-goal percentage (63.6) while shooting almost exclusively in the paint. The 6-foot-9 center/forward was sixth among Pac-12 rebounders at 8.8 per game and 13th in steals at 1.3 per game.

The Long Beach Poly High product possesses a wingspan a fraction shy of 7-feet and bears, by some accounts, a resemblance to Draymond Green inasmuch as he is a defense-first player with a deep reservoir of energy.

It’s a comparison that Bell, asked about it, embraces.

“Draymond, because people always say I’m undersized,” Bell told Basketball Insiders last month. “He’s one of those players you can’t really say what position he is, but he’s a force on defense.”

Moreover, Myers cited Green as one of the players best suited to mentor Bell.

“Draymond is a good one,” the GM said. “He’s not afraid to tell players what he thinks. He’s going to be a good teacher.”

Bell in three seasons became the Ducks’ all-time leader in blocks. He blocked eight shots in a Midwest Regional win over Kansas that sent Oregon to the Final Four. He became during the NCAA Tournament the first player since Hakeem Olajuwon (in 1985) to snag at least 12 rebounds in five consecutive tournament games.

“Defending is one of my best attributes,” Bell told Basketball Insiders. “Being able to switch 1-through-5. Play small ball. Blocking shots. Timing. Decision-making on offense.”

These are the characteristics that prompted the Warriors to put a red-letter “B” next to Bell’s name on their draft board -- even though his offensive skills are unrefined.

“We love his ability to defend,” Myers said. “He could probably defend most positions, and in the NBA that’s huge. To be able to switch pick-and-rolls, rebound, block shots, finish, there are a lot of boxes he checks.

“ . . . We just like the way he plays basketball. We’ll find a place for him.”

The Warriors also are closing in on a deal for one of Bell’s Oregon teammates. Forward Chris Boucher is expected to sign a two-way contract with the team.

“That’s something we’re trying to move toward,” Myers said of Boucher, who is rehabilitating an ACL surgery.

“But we like players that win. We like players that can play. I don’t care what school they are or what their background is, or what position. Winners. That’s what we’re trying to do, is win. If we end up getting that done, that’s another player that was on a very good team.”

Kings finish 2017 NBA Draft with night that can turn franchise around

Kings finish 2017 NBA Draft with night that can turn franchise around

SACRAMENTO -- The Kings had a big draft night. The kind of night that might turn a franchise around. They entered the evening with three picks, including two in the top 10. With their first selection, they filled the franchise’s biggest need when they drafted De’Aaron Fox and then they went to work.
Vlade Divac and his team of front office execs jumped on an early trade, dealing the No. 10 overall selection to the Portland Trail Blazers for No. 15 and No. 20. North Carolina’s Justin Jackson was too appealing to pass on, and like Fox, he fit a major position of need. 
Sacramento came back with the 20th selection, taking one of the biggest risk/reward picks in the draft. Duke’s Harry Giles is playing on rebuilt knees, but before that, he was one of the top prospects in all of basketball. If he can stay healthy, the Kings may have drafted the biggest steal of the night. 
They topped off the evening with the selection of Wooden and Naismith Award winner Frank Mason III with the 34th overall pick. The Kings entered the night without a single point guard and they ended it with two very exciting options. 
“I’m very excited about the talent that we brought here tonight,” Divac said. “They’re going to just be an addition to what we’re trying to build here in the second half of the season.”
The Kings turned down overtures to move up to draft Fox. The 19-year-old speedster will step in and immediately compete for the starting point guard spot and he’s very excited to be a King.
“It’s just the vibe that I got when I was out there,” Fox told local Sacramento media via phone. “I felt like they really wanted me.” 
John Calipari is known for his bevy of All-Star bigs throughout the league, but he’s also produced a long line of big-time guards. Sacramento is hoping that Fox can live up to the billing of other former Calipari guards like Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans and John Wall. According to Divac, the Kings were so high on Fox, they would have taken him higher. 
“Screaming,” Divac said about the reaction in the room to Fox falling in their lap. “It was a guy that we all loved and in some way, if we had the number 1 pick, he would’ve been our guy.”
“De’Aaron is our future,” Divac added.
Without a perfect fit at 10, Divac made an adjustment on the fly to add more assets. The decision to trade 10 for 15 and 20 was very similar to the last season when the Kings dealt the eighth overall pick for No. 13, 28 and the draft rights to Bogdan Bogdanovic. By splitting the pick in two, the Kings were able to land two talented pieces that mesh with the current roster build.
Jackson and Fox know each other well. The duo played AAU ball together and Fox says he considers Jackson an older brother.  He is friends with Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere from their Kentucky connection.
“I feel like we can grow together,” Fox said of the Kings’ young core. “Of course, it’s going to take some time, but every franchise takes time.”
Fox is the jewel of the night and Jackson will compete for time at the wing, but Giles is the wildcard. The 19-year-old big can play the four and the five and has elite potential. 
“I’m so excited he was there for us at the 20,” Divac said. “That kind of talent you can’t pass.”
The Kings have done their homework on Giles. The type of knee injury that he sustained is similar to former NBA players Danny Manning, Amaré Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin. Manning and Martin each played 15 years in the league and Stoudemire lasted 14 seasons before retiring in 2016. After meeting him in person in Sacramento and working him out, they are very confident that he will be able to overcome his injuries and have a successful career in the NBA. 
Mason III will remind Kings fans of Isaiah Thomas, another undersized point guard that fell to the second round. The Kansas star posted 20.9 points, 5.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds for the Jayhawks last season. He’s a hard-nosed leader that can jump out of the gym and will instantly become a fan favorite in Sacramento. 
It’s a huge haul. Sacramento added two points guards, a wing and a big from some of the best basketball schools in the country. More than that, they added high character winners to a changing culture. 
For the first time in a while, the Sacramento Kings have accumulated assets. They have hit the ground running in their attempted rebuild and for one night, they are the talk of the NBA.