Giants' Sanchez returns from DL to face Phillies

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Giants' Sanchez returns from DL to face Phillies

August 5, 2011

GIANTS (62-50) vs.
PHILADELPHIA (72-39)

Coverage begins at 6:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay AreaSAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Philadelphia's Vance Worley was stellar in his first career start against San Francisco last week. The rookie right-hander hopes to be just as effective when he faces the Giants near his hometown this time.The Sacramento native looks to help the Phillies to a season-high eighth consecutive victory Friday night against the Giants at AT&T Park.After Cliff Lee tossed a seven-hitter in Philadelphia's 3-0 win over San Francisco on Thursday, Worley (7-1, 2.33 ERA) looks to continue his recent success while pitching less than two hours from where he was born and raised.Worley is 5-0 with a 1.69 ERA in eight starts - all Philadelphia wins - since losing to the Mets on May 29. However, the right-hander is coming off his worst performance in that span, giving up four runs and seven hits in six innings of a 6-5, 10-inning win over Pittsburgh on Sunday.That came one start after he tossed his first complete game by holding San Francisco to three hits in a 7-2 win July 26."He has good stuff," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He throws quality strikes, pounds the strike zone."Lee had great stuff while striking out eight to put the NL-leading Phillies (72-39) in position to win eight straight for the first time since an 11-game run Sept. 12-24. Philadelphia has won just five times in 14 regular-season and playoff games at AT&T Park."We just want to win every series," Lee said. "Getting the first game means you're in better shape. We want to stay in a groove and keep winning."
URBAN: Giants should give, not tip, cap to Phillies' Lee
Hunter Pence had three hits Thursday, including the first of back-to-back homers with John Mayberry in the second inning. Pence is batting .360 with five RBIs in six games since the Phillies acquired him from Houston last Friday."He has come in and fit in nicely," teammate Ryan Howard said. "He gives us energy and intensity. He's been great for our team."While Philadelphia has won 13 of 16 to open an 8 12-game lead in the East, San Francisco (62-50) has averaged 2.3 runs while dropping six of seven and is clinging to a half-game edge over Arizona in the West.The Giants were 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position Thursday and are batting .176 in those situations over the past 14 games.
REWIND: Giants shut out by Phillies in series opener
"(Thursday we) battled well and got some guys on base," Bochy said. "We just couldn't get a hit to drive in somebody."Carlos Beltran doubled in the opener and is batting .400 in the past five games after going 1 for 14 in his first three after being acquired from the Mets. He's 9 for 43 (.209) against the Phillies in 2011.Jonathan Sanchez (4-5, 3.81) looks to help the Giants bounce back Friday as he returns after missing six weeks with tendinitis in his left biceps. Sanchez last pitched in the majors June 24 and hasn't started anywhere since going six innings for Triple-A Fresno on July 27 as he allowed two runs, seven hits and three walks.The left-hander is 3-1 with a 2.48 ERA in five regular-season starts against the Phillies but went 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in two NL championship series starts in 2010. Sanchez started the Giants' Game 6 clincher at Philadelphia and hit Chase Utley in the back, prompting the Phillies second baseman to flip his bat toward the mound and causing the benches to empty.Pence is 1 for 6 versus Sanchez.

Three takeaways: Sharks having trouble explaining meltdown

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Three takeaways: Sharks having trouble explaining meltdown

NASHVILLE – The Sharks are returning to San Jose on Sunday in a crisis. Nothing good came from Saturday’s 7-2 loss to Nashville, their sixth straight in regulation. Let’s get to the painful three takeaways…

1 – No answers

Neither Joe Pavelski, Brent Burns nor Patrick Marleau – the three players made available to the media after Saturday’s game – offered any kind of in-depth analysis of what’s going wrong. Frankly, I’m not sure anyone really knows. It’s hard to believe that this is the same club that had lost just two games in regulation in its previous 14 before the losing streak began.

“If you’re putting a consistent effort in, battling, competing – it’s tough to lose six in a row,” Pavelski said. “You look at six in a row, and it just seems daunting. Like, how do you get there? So, I think we’ve just got to take a deep breath, really kind of refocus.”

Believe it or not, coach Pete DeBoer thought Saturday’s loss was “a step in the right direction” when asked why Friday night’s 6-1 beat down in Dallas wasn’t enough of a wake-up call. How often do you hear that after a five-goal defeat?

“I liked our game tonight better than I liked [Friday’s game] regardless of the score,” DeBoer said. “I don’t just look at the score. If you want to just judge it on the score than you might not say it’s a wake-up call, but I thought we were much more competitive tonight. 

“It was a step in the right direction. Every team goes through tough parts of the season, and this is ours. We’ve got a lot of character in the room. We’ll get through it.”

2 – Couture injury would spell doom, as Hertl still MIA

Let’s face it – if Logan Couture is out for any extended period of time, this team is DOA once the playoffs begin. Couture has been the Sharks’ best player since the All-Star break, and they don’t have anyone on the current roster or in the system that could replace him. As of Sunday morning, there was still no word as to the severity of his injury after taking a puck to the mouth and going to a local Nashville hospital.

If Couture were to miss time, Tomas Hertl would likely become the team’s second line center. At this point, though, Hertl doesn’t even resemble an effective third line center. He was victimized on Nashville’s first goal, which was similar to one of the Wild goals on Tuesday, when he was just too slow and not strong enough on his skates in getting outworked for a loose puck.

3 – Haley shows some emotion that others lack

It’s understandable that Micheal Haley didn’t like getting hit from behind by Calle Jarnkrok in the third period. But, you can’t just make a beeline for a guy and punch him in the face. Haley will almost certainly get suspended for the play.

At least, though, Haley showed a little bit of fire, including his first period fight with Cody McLeod. Perhaps guys like Hertl, Joonas Donskoi and Mikkel Boedker could take a lesson from the fiery Haley. Those three, in particular, have been virtually useless during this six-game stretch. 

If I’m DeBoer, I’d get on the phone with Doug Wilson and Roy Sommer and ask for a few guys from the Barracuda so I could – depending on the team’s health situation – scratch all three of them for Tuesday against the Rangers. Drastic times call for drastic measures, do they not?

NBA Gameday: Facing Griffin a chance for Skal to add to knowledge base

NBA Gameday: Facing Griffin a chance for Skal to add to knowledge base

The Sacramento Kings return to the court Sunday for an early matinee game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center. They’ll face a veteran squad jockeying for playoff position and in need of a win.

Buddy Hield and Skal Labissiere each set new career highs in assists in Friday night’s loss to the Golden State Warriors. The rookie duo combined to hand out 15 of the team’s 27 dimes as the Kings stayed with the high-powered Warriors until late in the game.

Los Angeles is fresh off a huge win over the Utah Jazz and currently sit just a half game behind Utah for the fourth spot in the Western Conference standings. They’ve dealt with injuries all season long, but the Clippers are getting healthy at the perfect time.

OPENING LINE:
Clippers by 13.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Skal Labissiere vs. Blake Griffin -- Every game is an opportunity for Labissiere to add to his knowledge base. Despite a litany of injuries over the years, Griffin is still a force to be reckoned with in the post. He can score in a variety of ways and he’s averaging a career-high five assists be game this season. Labissiere is coming off a strong performance where he posted 10 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.

WHERE THEY STAND:
Kings: 27-45, third place in Pacific

Clippers: 44-30, second place in Pacific

INJURY REPORT:
Kings: C Kosta Koufos (planned rest) out, Arron Afflalo (planned rest) out, SG Malachi Richardson (torn hamstring) out, SF Rudy Gay (torn Achilles) out.

Clippers: SG JJ Redick (sprained ankle) out, C Diamond Stone (knee) out.

SERIES HISTORY:
The Clippers lead the season series 2-0 and currently have a three game winning streak against the Kings. During the Sacramento-era, the Kings hold a 69-65 advantage and they lead the Clippers 113-88 all-time.

QUOTE:
“It was a good experience, I call all of those experiences growing pains. Those are just things we have to go through. We’re trying to get to that level at some point.” -Skal Labissiere on the loss to Golden State