Giants turn to Sanchez in series opener vs. Tribe


Giants turn to Sanchez in series opener vs. Tribe

June 24, 2011

GIANTS (41-34) vs.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Travis Hafner has provided a big boost to the Cleveland Indians' lineup since returning from the disabled list a week ago. For the next nine games, however, the designated hitter won't be making nearly the same impact.

A visit with the San Francisco Giants begins a nine-game trip to NL parks for the Indians, who could be hurting offensively as Hafner is limited to pinch-hitting duties.

Cleveland (40-33) scored an AL-low 85 runs in the 28 games Hafner missed from mid-May to mid-June and hit a major league-worst .220 - 51 points lower than when the slugger was healthy.

RELATED: Travis Haffner 2011 game logs

The Indians have averaged nearly five runs a game since he returned, and Hafner has driven in seven runs in just 17 at-bats. His lone hit Wednesday against Colorado wound up making the difference, a two-run sixth-inning homer that propelled Cleveland to a 4-3 win.

"He's at his peak right now," manager Manny Acta said. "He's so locked in at the plate. It's just sad we are not going to be able to see him out there for nine days. Very sad."

Hafner hasn't played the field since 2007, and the Indians' interleague road struggles have been rather evident ever since he's been a full-time DH. They're 6-21 in NL parks since 2008, hitting .231 and averaging 3.81 runs. At home, where they're 17-19 in interleague in that stretch, they're batting .259 and averaging 4.95 runs.

Hafner's power, however, may be a bit wasted at AT&T Park anyway. Just 27 homers have been hit in the Giants' home - 11 fewer than any other venue in baseball.

San Francisco (41-34) has had one bad inning at home in interleague play - Monday's first inning in which Minnesota scored eight runs and chased Madison Bumgarner.

REWIND: Bumgarner historically bad, Giants fall to Twins

In the Giants' other 56 interleague home innings, they've surrendered eight runs. Ryan Vogelsong pitched seven strong innings in Tuesday's 5-1 win, then Tim Lincecum struck out 12 in a 2-1 victory Wednesday.

REWIND: Lincecum strikes out 12 in Giants' win
San Francisco has needed stellar pitching to have a chance. Wednesday was the 31st time the Giants have scored two runs or fewer - including six of their last seven games - but manager Bruce Bochy says it's not for a lack of effort.

"They've been out there the last two days at 3 o'clock trying to get things working," Bochy told the team's official website. "As long as you do that, you'll get better."

San Francisco could be in for more trouble against Carlos Carrasco (7-3, 3.87 ERA), who's given up one run in his last three starts. That came Saturday against Pittsburgh, when he held the Pirates to four hits over 6 1-3 innings in a 5-1 victory, his third straight.

"He looks very good right now," Acta said. "He looks like he can throw any pitch in any count and he's mixing them appropriately."

Opposing Carrasco, who is 2-0 with a 3.65 ERA in two interleague starts, is Jonathan Sanchez (4-5, 3.71).

RELATED: Jonathan Sanchez 2011 game logs

The left-hander has won once in his last seven starts, and he's again having problems finding the plate. Sanchez gave up six hits, three walks - bringing his total to a major league-high 53 - and four runs over 4 2-3 innings Saturday in a 4-2 loss at Oakland.

Sanchez held the Indians to a run over 7 2-3 innings - walking two - in a 3-2 win in Cleveland on June 24, 2008. He'll want to pitch carefully to Orlando Cabrera, who is 5 for 9 with four doubles in their matchups.

The Indians swept their only previous trip to San Francisco in 2005.

McKenzie: Raiders will take 'different approach' drafting No. 24 overall

McKenzie: Raiders will take 'different approach' drafting No. 24 overall

Khalil Mack said atop Reggie McKenzie’s draft board back in 2014. While it probably felt like forever, the Raiders general manager only had to weather four picks before selecting the star edge rusher at No. 5.

McKenzie loved Amari Cooper in 2015, believing his athleticism and demeanor would pair well with quarterback Derek Carr. Cooper only had to survive three selections before McKenzie made him a Raider.

McKenzie shouldn’t hold his breath this year. The Raiders have the 24th pick. He’d pass out.

The Raiders now experience the downside of success, with lower selections than normal throughout the NFL Draft. They earned top 10 draft picks every year from 2004-15, when the Silver and Black became relevant again. McKenzie selected safety Karl Joseph No. 14 overall last year in his original draft slot, but a 12-4 record and a playoff birth pushed them way down in the draft order.

Thursday’s No. 24 pick will be the lowest since 2003, when the Raiders selected Nnamdi Asomugha 31st following a Super Bowl year.

That obviously turned out well. The Raiders need this deep-round pick to follow suit.

McKenzie likes several players in this draft, but there's no telling if they'll be available. NFL teams have a general idea who will make it down the draft board, but an unexpected move could turn the round upside down.

“The one thing that’s been more difficult, you have no idea who’s coming down at 24,” McKenzie said. “When you’re picking No. 4 or No. 5, you can have a clue, a few players that you can pick from. The draft is a funny thing. Players that you don’t think may be at the 24, could be there sitting right in front of your face.”

McKenzie certainly hopes a highly rated prospect falls in his lap, especially if the best available player fills a position of need. Or the cluster would be empty.

The Raiders must be ready for anything, with a draft cluster of players worthy of that particular pick.

“We’re going to study it continuously until that day,” McKenzie said. “Then you never know how trades go. It’s a different thing. But when you’re down that low in comparison to where we have been the last few years, it’s a different approach.”

Draft trades are always a possibility, especially as the round unfolds. The Raiders are in an interesting spot, a slot above the quarterback-hungry Houston Texans. Teams might want to leapfrog them to secure a coveted passer, giving the Raiders leverage in last-second trade talks to move down.

Reggie McKenzie hasn’t moved up in the first three rounds during his Raiders tenure, but this year might be an exception considering his roster is strong save a few important positions. He won’t leap all the way up the draft board, but a small move up is possible.

“I will not hesitate if I have to move up a little bit to get an impact player that we feel is on our board,” McKenzie said. “If we have to move up a little bit, I will not hesitate.”

49ers draft board consists of nearly 200 prospects

49ers draft board consists of nearly 200 prospects

The 49ers new draft grading system is inspired by the New England Patriots, but their draft menu consists of a lot more options.

“We’ve got just under 200 players on our draft board, that we see as draftable players on our board,” 49ers general manager John Lynch told reporters Monday at team headquarters in Santa Clara.

“I’ve been spending a lot of time in here and it was needed this year because I had a lot of catch-up to do. I can tell you that just (Sunday) night I finally got to the point, I always knew as a player like, ‘OK. I’m ready.’ That moment was (Sunday) for me where I said, ‘OK. I’m ready. I’m ready to go on this thing.’ That’s a good feeling.”

The 49ers have 10 draft picks scheduled for the three-day draft, including the No. 2 overall selection. With 73 players under contract, the 49ers figure to add approximately 17 rookies through the draft and as free agents. The NFL's seven-round draft will result in 253 players being selected.

Lynch was hired out of the FOX broadcast booth a week before the Super Bowl. The following week, Lynch assembled all of the team’s scouts for meetings in Santa Clara.

“When we first brought scouts in right after the Super Bowl we were kind of working off the old grading system,” Lynch said. “But what helped was the grading system that they use in Denver, which kind of derived from one that was developed in New England.”

One of Lynch’s first hires was former Broncos college scouting director Adam Peters as 49ers vice president of player personnel. New coach Kyle Shanahan was also familiar with the system because, like Peters, Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff worked in the Patriots’ scouting department.

“In these last three weeks of draft meetings we moved over to that grading scale,” Lynch said.

“I’ve always been someone who thinks you should listen to multiple opinions and we’ve been very collaborative. I believe in strong opinions. Someone once told me, ‘Strong opinions, weakly held.’ So are you open to different thoughts and someone makes you think? But ultimately someone’s got to make decisions.”

Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio recently told Boston-area reporters that New England's draft board consists of only 50 to 75 players who fit as draft picks for their team. The Patriots have seven scheduled draft picks but none in the first two rounds.

"I would say it varies year to year, but I would say our draft board is smaller than most," Caserio said. "We are trying to find players that we feel comfortable with on all levels that we would actually draft -- not that are going to get drafted.

"It's players that we would draft, that we would actually feel comfortable with in our program in some capacity."

1. First round: No. 2 overall
2. Second round: No. 34 overall
3. Third round: No. 66 overall
4. Fourth round: No. 109 overall
5. Fourth round: No. 143 overall (compensatory)
6. Fifth round: No. 146 overall
7. Fifth round: No. 161 (pick acquired from Washington in 2015 trade for TE Derek Carrier)
8. Sixth round: No. 198 overall (from Baltimore in trade with C Jeremy Zuttah for No. 186)
9. Sixth round: No. 202 overall (pick acquired from Denver in 2015 trade for TE Vernon Davis)
10. Seventh round: No. 219 overall (pick acquired from Cleveland in 2015 trade for Andy Lee)