A's Insider notes: Anderson breaks through

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A's Insider notes: Anderson breaks through

May 26, 2011

GUTIERREZ ARCHIVE
A'S PAGE A'S VIDEO
Paul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.com

Anderson breaks through - That's how you get off the schneid. Brett Anderson, winless in five career starts against the Los Angeles Angels in going 0-2 with a 4.55 ERA, kept Halos hitters off balance all day and kept runners from crossing home plate in his eight innings of work. Anderson, whose numbers in Anaheim were even worse (5.84 ERA), threw eight innings of shutout ball while allowing just three hits. The left-hander also struck out four and walked three in his 105 pitches, 72 strikes. He retired the first 10 batters he faced. Most impressive - the way Anderson got out of jams in the sixth - runners at second and third with one out - and seventh - runners at first and second, none out - unscathed.

RECAP: Anderson brilliant, A's gain split with Angels
Balfour, it's Australian for A's new closer, mate - OK, so, technically, it was not a save situation when Grant Balfour entered in the ninth with a four-run lead. But he walked the tight-rope like one in taking the role vacated by Brian Fuentes and before Andrew Bailey returns. Balfour gave up a two-out, three-run home run to Mark Trumbo. Balfour kicked the mound in frustration. One pitch later, new Angel Russell Branyan took Balfour to the warning track in dead center, where Coco Crisp caught the ball to end the game, and Balfour's adventure.Gerenball equals Moneyball? - Geren and the A's are roundly and routinely criticized for not bunting enough. Not taking enough chances. Well, Kurt Suzuki and Cliff Pennington dropped a couple of beauties down the third-base line that hugged the chalk and stayed in play for singles that looked like line drives in the scorebook.Geren, the comic - In his pregame meeting with the media, Geren was asked if he saw highlights of Wednesday night's 19-inning marathon between Philadelphia and Cincinnati, when Phillies second baseman position Wilson Valdez became the first position payer since 2000 to pitch and get the victory. Geren was also asked ho he thought could do it for the A's. He said he thought outfielder Ryan Sweeney had the arm for it. When jokingly asked if Hideki Matsui could do it, another reporter asked if Geren had, ahem, communicated such plans. "Have I talked with him?" Geren mused, with a huge grin on his face. "That's awesome."Of catchers and collisions - News of Giants catcher Buster Posey's potential season-ending injuries were also a pregame topic of discussion in both managers meetings, with with both Geren and Angels skipper Mike Scioscia former big league backstops. "It's very unfortunate. hate to see anybody on any team get injured like that," Geren said. "He's a special playerI don't know the kid, never met himbut I wish him the best." I asked Geren if it hit closer to home for him because it was his position. "Yeah, and I have a young catcher myself (in Kurt Suzuki). My two kids catch. I know its a dangerous position. It's part of the job. It's a tough position." Geren also talked about his most violent collision as a player, with Ken Caminiti. "That was a bad one," he said. "Had a bad neck for a while, whiplash. Tried to play through it. I dropped a nice 0-fer after that. Then again, I could have done that with a good neck." Ba-dum-dum. After mentioning another bad dust-up with Rob Deer, green pointed to the Angels dugout and Scioscia. "He was the most amazing plate-blocking, collision-taking catcher of all time, in my mind," Geren said. "A very tough guy back there." Scioiscia, meanwhile, told reporters that such collisions are "99 percent of the time" the result of adrenaline. He was also not sure about calls from the Bay Area to look into changing rules. "When something like this happens, it's unfortunate," Scioscia said. "But I don't know if there's enough there to re-write the rulebook."

Kings' Cousins: 'Only goal this season' is to make playoffs

Kings' Cousins: 'Only goal this season' is to make playoffs

With their 109-104 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Monday night, the Sacramento Kings sit 10 games under .500 at 17-27. In almost any other season, that would mean that they were dead in the water in the Western Conference playoff race. But this it the 2016-17 season where anything is possible at the bottom.

Following Sacramento’s win at the Palace at Auburn Hills, DeMarcus Cousins was asked about the playoff picture.

“It’s my only goal this season,” Cousins told reporters following the game. “My only goal.” 

When pushed on the subject, he gave a more complete answer.

“Oh man, it’s eating me alive - every loss or every time another team wins that’s battling for the eighth spot, it’s eating me alive,” Cousins added. “Our only goal is to be in the playoffs this season.”

The Kings snapped a five-game losing streak with the win over the Pistons and they came into the evening just 2-10 over their previous 12 games. 

Once they get through their current eight game road trip, they spend the entire month of February in the Pacific time zone and play 11 over their next 13 games at Golden 1 Center.  

“The one thing I can give credit to this team about is us staying together and being a positive locker room through the ups and downs,” Cousins said. “I’m still confident and I still believe we’re going to make that push for the playoffs.”

Despite the rough patch, the Kings remain just a game and a half out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference standings. No one is running away with that last playoff spot, at least not yet.

 

Lawson, bench unit spark Kings' much-needed win over Pistons

Lawson, bench unit spark Kings' much-needed win over Pistons

Everyone must contribute. With Rudy Gay gone for the season, Sacramento needs a team effort each night out if they are going to have a chance of turning things around. Balancing the roster on the fly is never easy, but it’s the hand that the Kings were dealt when their second leading scorer tore his Achilles last week.

Needing a win in the worst way, the Kings walked into the Palace at Auburn Hills and came away with a huge 109-104 victory. Demarcus Cousins put up numbers, but it was the supporting cast that found a way to rise to the occasion and snap the team’s five-game losing streak.

“We’re going to need everybody on this team,” Cousins told reporters following the game. “At some point, everyone on the bench is going to win a game for us. Tonight, it was Ty (Lawson), it was Willie (Cauley-Stein) and it was Malachi (Richardson).”

Lawson was a magician with the ball. He entered the game with the Kings down just one with 3:36 remaining in the first quarter, but the Pistons caught fire around that time and pushed the lead to 11 with 20 seconds remaining in the quarter.

It looked like Sacramento might fall behind big once again, but then Lawson and the bench unit took over.

“Ty Lawson, Malachi Richardson and Willie Cauley-Stein had a great energy when we were down 11 in the first half,” Joerger told reporters. “Obviously, probably the best Willie’s played all year. Same for Malachi. He got some run, he got a little burn in the second half, felt pretty good.”

Powered by Lawson, the offense instantly opened up in the second quarter as the Kings tracked down the Pistons on their home floor. Sacramento outscored Detroit 37-24 in the frame to take a three point lead into the intermission. Lawson posted nine points and handed out four assists in the quarter.

“When our offense gets sticky, he’s able to create shots for guys by getting kickouts and getting in the lane,” Joerger said.

The 5-foot-11 point guard didn’t let up in the second half, finishing the night with 19 points and six assists in 23 minutes of action.  

“Chico just goes and plays, man, that’s Chico,” Cousins said of Lawson. “If there’s anyone with a green light to just go and play, it’s him. We love what he does with this team. He’s a spark off the bench for us. He gets us going when there’s a slump. We love the little guy.”

Lawson has become a catalyst off the bench for coach Jeorger. The 29-year-old speedster signed a one-year deal with the Kings late in the offseason and he’s quickly found his niche with the team.

“You play with Ty, you can’t help by want to run, because he will pitch it to you and that’s the best motivation - everybody wants to score,” said Joerger.

Cousins and Lawson didn’t do it alone. Cauley-Stein had one of his games of the season, finishing the night with 12 points and five rebounds. Darren Collison added 12 points, Garrett Temple chipped in 11 points and veteran Matt Barnes added 10 points and eight rebounds.  

“It’s a big, bounce back win,” Cousins said. “We were kind of heartbroken about the last lost. We felt we did everything needed to pull a win and it just didn’t go that way for us. We kind of showed our character and showed we could overcome some type of adversity with the win tonight.”

The Kings are back at it on Wednesday in Cleveland when they hit game four of their season-long eight-game road trip. They’ll face LeBron James and the championship Cavs for the second time this month.  

“It’s huge, we had a little stretch where we lost like eight of nine games, something like that,” Lawson told CSN’s Kayte Christensen following the game. “Getting a win going into Cleveland, it makes us feel a little bit better. Now we’ve got to go in and get a tough one.”

A tough one indeed. Cleveland sits at 31-13 on the season, but they are coming off back-to-back losses against the Spurs and Pelicans.