Giants Insider notes: Sparkplug Torres is back


Giants Insider notes: Sparkplug Torres is back

May 10, 2011
RECAP BOX SCOREMychael UrbanCSNBayArea.com

Our MLB Insider takes a look at the Giants' 4-3 win over the visiting Diamondbacks on Wednesday in the second game of a three-game series at AT&T Park in San Francisco.Torrid Torres: Activated from the disabled list Tuesday after being out since April 10 with a strained Achilles tendon, center fielder and leadoff man Andres Torres has been every bit the sparkplug since his return as he was in 2010. On the heels of going 1-for-3 with a walk and a fine defensive play in his first game back, Torres on Wednesday went 2-for-3 with a walk and drove in the winning run with a two-out double that bounced into the stands beyond the wall in center in the bottom of the seventh inning to extend San Francisco's winning streak to a season-high five games. The Giants, who moved into first place in the National League West by 12 game in front of their 14th consecutive sellout crowd (out of 14 home games), have won seven of their past eight games and improved to 11-3 in one-run games; no team in the bigs has played as many such games or posted a higher winning percentage (.786) in them.
RECAP: Torres lifts Giants past D'backs to fifth straight win
Tejada breaks through: Having gone since April 15 without a multi-hit game, Miguel Tejada ended that drought by playing a key role in two of the Giants' three run-scoring rallies. His two-out single in the fourth put the hosts on the scoreboard for the first time, and he doubled and scored in front of Torres' tie-breaking double in the seventh. Moved to third base when Pablo Sandoval went down with a broken bone in his right hand last month, also turned in a pair of stellar defensive plays at the hot corner, and he capped his big night with a single up the middle in the eighth. Johnny be bad: Having walked 15 batters in his previous 15 innings in addition to making at least three mental errors in his past two starts, Giants left-hander Jonathan Sanchez was called for a heart-to-heart talk with manager Bruce Bochy last Friday. Anyone hoping for a storybook turnaround in the wake of the skull session had to be sorely disappointed when Sanchez gave up a double to the first batter he faced Wednesday and walked the next, leading to an early 1-0 lead for Arizona. Sanchez gave up two hits, a stolen base and another run in the second, and Henry Blanco's fourth-inning home run made it 3-0.Johnny be good: As frustrating as it can be to watch Sanchez struggle, the Giants will give him second, third, fourth and probably 12th chances to right himself because his stuff is that good. Few pitchers in the game can "underperform" -- relative to their talent level -- and give their team a shot at winning that day's game, but Sanchez does it all the time. On April 30 in Washington, D.C., for instance, he walked six, gave up two hits and hit two batters over five innings but didn't allow an earned run and the Giants went on to a 2-1 victory. On Wednesday, Sanchez wasn't nearly as erratic as he was against the Nationals, but he wasn't great by any stretch, either. Still, he managed to cobble -- wobble? -- together a quality start and gave the Giants time to mount their comeback. When it really counts: Aubrey Huff, whose fourth homer of the year pulled the Giants into a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the fifth inning, is starting to climb out of the deep statistical hole he dug for himself in April, but a closer look at the numbers show that he's been at his best in the team's most important games -- against NL West foes. Batting .138 (8-for-58) with two doubles, one home run and three RBIs in 16 games thus far against the NL East and Central, Huff has touched up intradivision opponents to the tune of a .271 batting average with six doubles, three homers and 14 RBIs in 18 games.Mound presence: Lefty Barry Zito threw off a mound for the first time since spraining a ligament in his right foot at Arizona on April 16, and afterward he said there was no pain at all in his injured "landing foot" during the 35-pitch session. Zito said he's scheduled to throw off a mound again Friday and likely will have to get through that and another such session or two before starting a rehab assignment in the minors leagues. All-Star surprises: The ballots for this year's Midsummer Classic in Phoenix aren't exactly reflective of what's actually happened with the Giants thus far this season. In fact, it appears as though the folks who put it together simply based their selection of candidates on the Opening Day lineup. Aubrey Huff is listed as an outfielder, Miguel Tejada is among the shortstops, Brandon Belt is there to be voted in as a first baseman and Cody Ross, who opened the season on the disabled list, isn't on the ballot at all. At least pretend you put some thought into it, MLB. Make a call. Bag the beard: The Giants' in-game entertainment is so good -- the candid interviews in which players good-naturedly dog various teammates are classic -- that when they swing and miss, it stands out like well, like a really bad beard. The "Beard-Cam" has to go. It's unsteady and unfunny, unless you thrill to the sight of what appears to be a drunk, unkempt ravenrat hybrid flying from one face to another. There has to be a better way to pay homage to closer Brian Wilson, who improved to 3-0 with seven saves and a 0.00 ERA over his past 10 appearances when he shrugged off a two-on, nobody-out situation in the ninth to lock down his 12th save of the season.

Hoyer, Shanahan earn praise from Broncos All-Pro DBs


Hoyer, Shanahan earn praise from Broncos All-Pro DBs

SANTA CLARA – The reviews of 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and quarterback Brian Hoyer from within the organization have all been positive this offseason.

That’s not a surprise, of course, considering the 49ers have yet to play a meaningful game and hope abounds during every NFL training camp.

But, on Thursday, Shanahan and Hoyer received unsolicited praise from two Denver Broncos All-Pro defensive backs who went up against the 49ers’ offense during two days of practices.

“Going against Kyle Shanahan, he’s a great offensive mind and a great offensive coach,” Broncos defensive back Chris Harris said. “So it was a great week. You never know, we might see a team that has this type of offense. But on the schedule -- I looked at the schedule -- we don’t and I’m kind of glad we don’t.”

Unlike the past two summers when the 49ers and Broncos held joint practices, it was difficult to proclaim a winner this week. The 49ers at least held their own on both sides of the ball after being clearly beaten the past two years.

For the Broncos, going against the 49ers’ offense gave them a better challenge than they experienced in the past. The teams meet Saturday night at Levi's Stadium in the second exhibition game for both teams.

“He (Shanahan) makes it work,” Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib said. “He makes you use all of your adjustments. He makes things gray, so you don’t know if you need to check or if you’re going to check. He moves you left and right. They’re great with their bootlegs. All in all, it’s a pretty great offense.

“It gives us a different look than we’ve been seeing. It’s a solid offense. Any time you can practice against a solid offense, no game plan, just go out there and play your technique, that’s always great work.”

Hoyer, 31, enters his 10th NFL season with his seventh different team. He has been anointed the starter for the first time in his career at this stage of the season. General manager John Lynch said has been pleasantly surprised since signing Hoyer to a two-year, $12 million contract. He can earn as much as $18.5 million if he reaches all of his incentives.

Hoyer's starting job has never been in doubt from the moment he signed with the 49ers on the first day of free agency.

“We’ve said from the beginning we want a franchise quarterback around here and a lot of people are making assumptions as to what Brian’s role is,” Lynch said. “Is he a bridge? Is he all those things? Our response to Brian and to everybody is he’s got the first crack of being that guy. And I love the way he’s embracing that opportunity each and every day, and really has been a tremendous leader for our group. I think, probably exceeded my expectations of how I thought he could play.”

That kind of public praise from within the organization is not uncommon. But Hoyer's play even opened eyes on the Denver side. Talib said he was impressed what what he saw from Hoyer and the 49ers’ passing game. The 49ers have ranked no better than 29th in yards passing over each of the past four seasons.

“He looks good. He runs the offense well,” Talib said. “Shanahan has a hell of an offense. Hoyer is doing a great job running it. They get the ball out fast. They move you left and right. It takes a polished quarterback to run an offense. He’s doing a great job.”

Players Voice Awards: Draymond not the 'Best Defender'


Players Voice Awards: Draymond not the 'Best Defender'

The players have spoken.

The 2017 Players Voice Awards pick for "Best Defender" goes to...

Kawhi Leonard.

On June 26, Draymond Green took home the Defensive Player of the Year award at the first annual NBA Awards Show.

He received 73 first-place votes, 22 second-place votes and three third-place votes. (Yes, he was left off of two ballots entirely)

Rudy Gobert was the runner-up with 16 first-place votes, 53 second-place votes and 30 third-place votes.

Kawhi finished in third with 11 first-place votes, 23 second-place votes and 58 third-place votes.

While the media recognized Draymond as the best defensive player in the NBA last season, his peers don't agree.

In 2015, Draymond finished runner-up and was left off 42 ballots.

In 2016, he finished runner-up and was left off nine ballots.