Lincecum's slump continues, Reds rout Giants

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Lincecum's slump continues, Reds rout Giants

June 11, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) As good as it felt to shut out the World Series champions for eight innings, getting a pair of hits against two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum really made Mike Leake's day.Leake held the struggling San Francisco hitters in check and started two rallies with his bat as the Cincinnati Reds gave Lincecum one of his worst beatings ever in a 10-2 victory over the Giants on Saturday."I take pride in my hitting," Leake said. "I don't like to get out. It's more fun to get hits than it is to pitch good sometimes. ... Anytime I'm squaring balls up, it's pretty fun."Brandon Phillips hit a two-run double and scored twice and Joey Votto knocked the San Francisco ace out with an RBI double in the fifth inning to give the Reds their second win in three games in San Francisco.Lincecum (5-5) matched his career worst by allowing seven runs in four-plus innings, marking the first time since his rookie year in 2007 that he had allowed seven earned runs in a game."I was just kind of flying all over the place," Lincecum said. "I didn't have any command of the zone at all. To me, that's just kind of going back to the drawing board and getting my mechanics straight."With the Giants struggling to generate any offense of late, that cushion proved to be more than enough for Leake (6-2), who improved to 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA in four starts since a brief stint back in the minors."Mainly my head is just back on straight a little bit," Leake said. "I think I lost it there for a little."Leake allowed four hits - including an infield popup by Eli Whiteside that third baseman Scott Rolen lost for a single - and struck out a career-high eight. Leake had a 21.21 ERA in two previous outings against the Giants, including giving up six runs while retiring one batter in a relief outing in his final appearance of the season last August.Leake also started a pair of rallies at the plate against Lincecum. Leake doubled to lead a the two-run third inning when the Reds scored on a groundout by Jay Bruce and a wild pitch by Lincecum to make it 3-0.Leake then singled to start the four-run fifth. Drew Stubbs followed with a walk and both players scored on Phillips double to left field. Votto's RBI double ended Lincecum's briefest outing of the season and Rolen added a sacrifice fly to make it 7-0."That was a rare outing by Lincecum," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "That's a two-time Cy Young award winner. He's one of the best in the business. He wasn't as sharp today as he usually is."Lincecum allowed seven hits and walked four and struck out a career-low one batter. He struggled with his control all afternoon, throwing 37 balls compared to 36 strikes, and had two wild pitches. He generated only two swings and misses all day - both to Stubbs, who struck to open the game.That was the high point of the game for Lincecum who allowed an RBI single to Ryan Hanigan in the second inning, the two runs in the third and four runs in the fifth. Lincecum now has a 7.66 ERA in four starts since throwing 133 pitches in a shutout victory against Oakland last month."More than anything his fastball command's off," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It was an off day for Timmy, I don't know how else to tell you, especially with his command. That's a good hitting ballclub and you're going to pay for it if you're off. There's not much else to it, really. He feels good, he's healthy. He's just having trouble getting the ball where he wants."The Reds, who went just 2-8 on their last road trip, have matched that total in three games in San Francisco. The pitching has had a big part in that with Johnny Cueto and two relievers combining on a 3-0 shutout Thursday night before Leake's strong start. Pat Burrell broke up the shutout with a two-run homer in the ninth off Carlos Fisher - his first longball in 96 at-bats.Cincinnati has gone a season-high four games without a home run, winning two of them.Notes: Leake leads Reds pitchers with seven hits. ... Lincecum allowed seven runs, but only three earned runs, on May 16 against Colorado and seven earned runs to Toronto on June 13, 2007. ... The Giants signed INF Bill Hall to replace injured 2B Freddy Sanchez. Hall entered the game in the fifth inning and walked in his first plate appearance for San Francisco. ... The Reds are the only NL team that Lincecum has not beaten, excluding the Giants. He is 0-1 in three starts against Cincinnati.

A sports-related pie-fixing scandal? Hell never felt so fun

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AP

A sports-related pie-fixing scandal? Hell never felt so fun

I’m liking this 2017 so far. Then again, after 2016, nearly any year would be an improvement.

Just this last weekend we got a flat-earth scandal that turned into a mock-up about media self-importance and fake news (yay Kyrie Irving and his impish sense of satire!).

We got the overblown Russell-Hates-Kevin narrative, and the faux Russell-Secretly-Loves-Kevin counternarrative, all because we are stunningly attracted to meaningless and utterly contrived drama (yay our ability to B.S. ourselves!).

We got the NBA All-Star Game ripped for having no defense even though last year’s game was, if anything, worse (yay short attention span!).

We got the Boogie Cousins trade and the national revulsion of all the thought processes the Sacramento Kings put into this perpetually rolling disaster (yay making Boogie and Vivek Ranadive household names!).

And now we got the Great Sutton United Pie-Fixing Scandal. Yeah, pie-fixing. Hell never felt so fun.

So here’s the deal. Sutton United, a very small fry in English soccer, got to the fifth round of the FA Cup, a competition in which all the clubs in England are commingled and play each other until one team remains. The big clubs almost always win, so any time a small club goes deep, it’s a big deal.

Anyway, Sutton went deeper in the competition than nearly anyone in the last century, a charming development given that it is such a small club that it had a stadium caretaker, goalie coach and backup goalie all in one massive fellow, a 46-year-old guy named Wayne Shaw. Shaw became the globular embodiment of the entire Sutton Experience, a jolly lark for everyone involved and especially when he ate a pie on the bench in the final minutes of Sutton’s Cup-exiting loss to Arsenal.

And now he’s been eased into resigning his jobs with the club, because – and this is so very British – there were betting shops taking action on whether he would in fact eat a pie on the bench, and he either did or did not tip off his pals that he was going to chow down on television.

He did eat the pie. His pals collected on their bets. The sport’s governing body opened an investigation into market manipulation by gambling – which is hilarious given that no fewer than 10 gambling establishments have advertising deals with English soccer clubs. Shaw was invited to quit to kill the story, and he took the hint.

Hey, dreams die all the time. But it’s still pie-fixing. Let that rattle around your head for a minute. Pie-fixing. Not match-fixing. Not point-shaving. Pie-fixing.

Now how can you not love this year?

Sure, it sucks for Shaw, but it serves as a series of cautionary tales for athletes around the world.

* Gambling is everywhere, and every time you inch toward it, you dance on the third rail.

* If you want to help your friends, give them cash.

* This is a horribly delicious way to lose your gig.

* And finally, fun in the 21st century isn’t ever truly fun because someone in a suit and a snugly-placed stick is going to make sure you pay full retail for that fun.

But it is nice to know that something that has never happened before is now part of our year. Pie-fixing is a thing now, as silly in its way as Irving’s flat-earth narrative was. And as we steer away from normal games as being too run-of-the-mill-fuddy-duddy entertainment, we have replaced them with sideshows.

Or do you forget how many people complained Saturday and Sunday that the dunk contest wasn’t interesting enough? How stupid is that?

Lots. Lots of stupid. But against pie-tin-shaped planets and pies turned into betting coups, how can it possibly compare?

We chase a lot of idiotic narratives in our sporting lives. The great What Will The Patriots Do To Roger Goodell story died like the old dog it was. We still try to flog Warriors-Thunder as a rivalry in search of better TV ratings when all the obvious evidence is that it is no such thing unless you think a couple that broke up nine months ago is still a solid story. We have Bachelor fantasy leagues, for God’s sake.

This would leave most normal folks in despair, thus matching their everyday experiences, but yin meets yang, and every time it looks like we are all barrel-rolling into the sun, we get Irving, and then we get Wayne Shaw.

In short, 2017 is going to be fun of grand surprises for us all. I look forward to the day President Trump tries to fete the Patriots and only gets to Skype with Bob Kraft and the equipment guys who midwifed DeflateGate, and Mark Davis in Las Vegas, just to see if he can get a P.F. Chang’s into the Bellagio.

Why not? This is sport’s year-long tribute to sketch comedy, and evidently everyone is signing on enthusiastically to replace lessons of morality and honor and equality and dignity and sportsmanship with slackened jaws and belly laughs.

So yay sports! Or as it is clearly becoming, A Night At The Improv.
 

Magic Johnson to run Lakers front office, Mitch Kupchak fired

Magic Johnson to run Lakers front office, Mitch Kupchak fired

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Lakers Governor Jeanie Buss announced today that the team has named Earvin "Magic" Johnson as President of Basketball Operations. In addition, General Manager Mitch Kupchak has been relieved of his duties, effective immediately. Furthermore, Jim Buss will no longer hold his role as Lakers Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations.

"Today I took a series of actions I believe will return the Lakers to the heights Dr. Jerry Buss demanded and our fans rightly expect," Jeanie Buss said. "Effective immediately, Earvin Johnson will be in charge of all basketball operations and will report directly to me. Our search for a new General Manager to work with Earvin and Coach Luke Walton is well underway and we hope to announce a new General Manager in short order. Together, Earvin, Luke and our new General Manager will establish the foundation for the next generation of Los Angeles Lakers greatness."

"It's a dream come true to return to the Lakers as President of Basketball Operations working closely with Jeanie Buss and the Buss family," said Earvin "Magic" Johnson. "Since 1979, I've been a part of the Laker Nation and I'm passionate about this organization. I will do everything I can to build a winning culture on and off the court. We have a great coach in Luke Walton and good young players. We will work tirelessly to return our Los Angeles Lakers to NBA champions."

Jeanie Buss added, "I took these actions today to achieve one goal: Everyone associated with the Lakers will now be pulling in the same direction, the direction established by Earvin and myself. We are determined to get back to competing to win NBA championships again."

Regarding Mitch Kupchak, Jeanie Buss stated, "We are grateful for the many contributions Mitch has made to the Lakers over the years and we wish him all the best."

With regard to fellow owner and brother, Jim Buss, Ms. Buss said, "Jim loves the Lakers. Although he will no longer be responsible for basketball personnel decisions, he is an owner of this team and we share the same goal: returning the Lakers to the level of greatness our father demanded. Our fans deserve no less."

In addition to the changes made within the basketball department, the Lakers also announced they have parted ways with John Black who had been the Lakers Vice President of Public Relations. Chief Operating Officer Tim Harris will immediately begin a search for a replacement. Jeanie Buss added, "We thank John for his many years of service."

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