The Giants are still wiping the champagne from their eyesafter winning their second World Series in three years, but theres alreadysome bulletin board material for next season.Matt Holliday, who took out second baseman Marco Scutaro in Game 2 of the NLCSbetween the Giants and Cardinals and was later hit by a Matt Cain pitch in Game7, went on record with some questionable comments."There aresome things Id rather not say. I think Cain said that the ball slipped outof his hand and got away from him, thats just part of the game. Honestly, Idont know. It seems on purpose. I wish that if he wanted to hit me, hewouldve just done it on the first pitch in the next game he had pitched. Youknow, if youre going to do it, do it, get it out of the way. But to do it, Idont remember what the score was but it was out of hand, thats about it. Ithought the timing of it was.I dont want to get into it. I wasnt thrilledabout it."Maybe Holliday is confused about the concept of context. If were to assumethat Cains pitch was in fact intentional, it makes sense that it would come ata time when the Giants had a commanding lead. Giving Holliday a free trip tofirst base with a trip to the World Series still up for grabs would makeabsolutely no sense. Holliday, though, wouldve preferred the Giants retaliation was immediate."Ifyoure going to do it, I think that is when you do it. I wouldnt be happyabout it anytime. I just thought that in the situation that it actually didhappen it was less than tough."Less than tough? This guy?The Giants apparently didnt get Hollidays suggestion. Maybe theyll apologizewhen they host St. Louisin the home opener on April 5.
CHICAGO — The Giants will need a win on getaway day to clinch their first winning road trip.
Wednesday's comeback attempt fell just short, as the Giants scored two in the ninth but lost to the Cubs 5-4. Since taking the first two games in St. Louis, they have dropped three of four, falling 11 games back of the Rockies in the division.
Here are five things to know from the coldest Giants game of the year …
— Mac Williamson fouled off eight pitches before going the opposite way against Wade Davis, who entered with a 0.00 ERA in 19 appearances. The two-run homer ended a run of 19 consecutive solo shots by the Giants, two short of their own MLB record. It was the first homer off Davis in two years.
— The sixth inning was one of the stranger escapes we’ve seen from a pitcher this season. With two on and one out, Jason Heyward blasted a Matt Moore pitch right down the line and it looked like it would give the Cubs a 6-2 lead. The wind blew the ball a couple of feet foul. Heyward then topped one down the line and Moore’s throw bounced away from first, allowing a run to score. But the umpires called — correctly — Heyward out for running inside the line. It’s a call you rarely see. Moore then struck out Addison Russell to keep what could have easily been a 6-2 or 4-2 game at 3-2.
— Before the first game of this series, a Giant asked in the dugout, “I wonder what some of the Cubs’ numbers would look like at our place?” Anthony Rizzo is a .159 hitter with no homers in 18 career games at AT&T Park, but he had no issues on a night when conditions were worse than they are most nights in San Francisco. Rizzo homered off Moore in his first two at-bats.
— Rizzo will occasionally put a bunt down to beat the shift — he had an accidental bunt in his third at-bat — which the Giants have long wanted Brandon Belt to do. Belt pushed one away from the shift in the sixth, and even though it was too close to pitcher Kyle Hendricks, the throw was off and Belt reached second. One of those a week would open up a few more holes.
— This lineup has made a habit of making mediocre and downright bad pitchers look good, and the actual good ones are taking advantage, too. A night after Jon Lester recorded his first complete game of the year, Hendricks threw seven innings for the first time.
As the defending champion Cavaliers are one win away from advancing to the NBA Finals, the consensus is they will meet the Warriors there and, moreover, that Part III of the trilogy promises to be the most compelling yet.
Chris Mullin is not so sure.
The Hall of Fame forward and current St. John's head coach, a guest Wednesday on the NBC Sports Bay Area Warriors Insider Podcast, perceives a reasonable chance of sweeping the series.
“I’m going on the record saying 4-2, just because maybe I want to see six games,” Mullin said. “I would not be surprised if it’s 4-1 or 4-zero. I think they’re that good.”
Recalling how the Warriors started sluggishly after a one-week layoff ahead of Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against the Spurs, Mullin conceded there could be some rust but probably not enough to invite a loss.
“I don’t want to lay any . . . pressure, but the Warriors, to me, this team that we’re watching is going to go down in history as one of the best teams of all time,” he said. “I believe that. I think they will stay together and that’s we’re probably going to see four Hall of Fame players that have played together and have dominated and become a dynasty. That’s what we’re going to look back on.
“There’s just a huge disparity between them and the rest of the league -- and not just the Cavaliers. But there’s a huge disparity between them and the Cavaliers. “
The Warriors defeated Cleveland in six games to win the championship in 2015, but the Cavaliers recovered from a 3-1 deficit to take the rematch last June.
Though both teams have made substantive changes, Mullin is more impressed with what the Warriors have done, including the addition of four-time scoring champion Kevin Durant to a nucleus that included All-Stars Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.
Mullin pointed out that the losses of Andrew Bogut, along with subtractions to their fabled depth and chemistry, led some to wonder if the Warriors might lose the magic of the previous two seasons. He also understands that point of view.
“But as I see it now,” he said, “I think they’re deeper and have better chemistry than they did last year when they won 73 games.”
It’s not that Mullin gives the Cavaliers, who have won 11 of 12 games in these playoffs, zero chance to win the series. It is just, in his view, very slim. “Cleveland, they’ve got really good people,” he said. “Their talent, I’m not discounting at all. LeBron and Kyrie and Kevin Love, these guys are great, great players.
“I feel like the Warriors are just a notch above everybody. I really believe that.”