For a guy who supposedly doesn't like Anthony Randolph, Warriors coach Don Nelson is about to give him more offensive freedom than he does most second-year players he's ever coached.At least that's what Nelson says.With the return of big men Andris Biedrins and Ronny Turiaf just around the corner, Nelson said he will move Randolph to his natural power forward position and give the kid all the responsibility he can handle."You ain't seen nothing yet," Nelson said about Randolph after Sunday's practice. "He's going to be a blessed guy if he can mentally prepare himself and handle what I'm going to give him. As long as he grows and matures and understand what we're doing -- and it was a very good practice today for him -- the sky's the limit in how I can use him and go to his strengths."Of course, this is the same Randolph who has been the subject of recent trade rumors. Although the Warriors have said Randolph is unlikely to be going anywhere.And it's the same Randolph who has had his share of ups and downs with Nelson in the past year-plus.Nelson has been using Randolph a lot at backup center this season, and he saying there was a reason for it."I've always expected a lot out of him," Nelson said of Randolph. "I think he's right on schedule. What I've been able to do as a backup center and be creative that way has now opened the door for him to be a four and do the same things, and to have a better understanding."It's very easy to do what I want to do against fives. They don't guard you, they don't get into you. I think now he's ready to be a four and do the same kinds of things. So, we'll see. But I'm excited to see how it's going to work."Nelson had Randolph handling the ball for most of Sunday's practice, most of the time initiating the offense as a point-forward. To a lesser degree, Vladimir Radmanovic might have the same kinds of opportunity."Those guys better know they're blessed because there's nothing more fun for a player than to be in control of the ball and be able to make some plays. And I think (Randolph) has the ability to do that," Nelson said. Andris Biedrins (strained abdominal muscle) and Ronny Turiaf (sprained left knee) both participated in parts of practice, and Nelson said they're about "a week or so" from returning.
SAN FRANCISCO -- Practically speaking, the 50th loss is no different than the one before or the one after, but this sport is built on milestones, and this one came quickly.
The Giants lost their 50th game on August 12 last year. This season, it was clinched when Ryder Jones grounded out in his fourth career at-bat, handing the Mets a 5-2 win on June 24.
Bruce Bochy called losing 50 of your first 77 games "hard to believe" and "embarrassing." Johnny Cueto, who went seven strong, said the reality was "hard and sad." Brandon Belt, who got Cueto off the hook for a loss, agreed with his manager.
"That's a pretty good word to use -- it is embarrassing to come out and lose every day, especially with the group of guys we have," Belt said. "When you're losing as much as this, it is embarrassing. We're trying to do whatever we can to turn this thing around."
Lately, that has meant changes to the roster. It is officially audition season, and in that respect, it was not a particularly inspiring day for the bullpen. The Giants felt they would have a better mix this year, but it hasn't played out. Instead, they're once again trying to find pieces for the next successful Giants bullpen.
With Hunter Strickland suspended and Derek Law in the minors, two young relievers, a middle-innings stalwart, and a newcomer pitched the final two frames. They gave up four runs.
Sam Dyson was the first on the mound in the eighth. Belt had homered a few minutes earlier, tying a good starter's duel. Dyson gave up a leadoff triple to Curtis Granderson and walked Asdrubal Cabrera before throwing two good sliders past Yoenis Cespedes for the strikeout. With two lefties coming up and the go-ahead run still on third, Bochy turned to Steven Okert. He immediately gave up a seeing-eye RBI single to Jay Bruce. Wilmer Flores doubled off George Kontos later in the frame to make it 3-1.
In the ninth, Kyle Crick showed some of the wildness that kept him in the minors for seven years. He, too, gave up a leadoff triple, a sin you always pay for. A walk helped put another run into scoring position and a wild pitch extended the Mets’ lead to four.
Before the game, Bochy talked of getting an extended look at Jones. He was 0 for 4 in his first big league game but he’ll be back out there tomorrow. It’s time to fight for a job, and the same holds true of some relievers who didn’t fare well Saturday. It is a group with a closer locked into a longterm deal and little else decided.
Are Strickland or Law eighth-inning guys? Will Dyson be a worthwhile reclamation project? Will Kontos be back, and will he carve out a different role? Are Okert and Josh Osich capable of giving Bochy lefties he trusts? Is Crick’s improvement in Triple-A a sign of things to come? There are many questions to be answered over the next three months.
“This is a good time for them, this is what players get up here for, to show what they can do,” Bochy said. “Because of our situation, we’re going to take a look at these guys and we know there are going to be growing pains.”
SAN FRANCISCO — The promotion of an intriguing prospect can bring a certain buzz to the ballpark. It didn’t last long.
The debut of Ryder Jones came in the latest flat performance from the Giants, who collapsed late and fell 5-2 to the Mets. The loss was their 50th of the season. They did not lose their 50th game last season until August 12.
With the score tied in the eighth, Curtis Granderson crushed a leadoff triple into the alley. Sam Dyson walked the next batter and then whiffed Yoenis Cespedes, but Jay Bruce greeted Steven Okert with an RBI single to right. It kept going poorly from there.
Here are five things to know from a cool day by the water …
—- Jones grounded out to second in his first at-bat and then flied out to center, grounded out to first, and grounded out to second. He had one chance in the field, starting a double play that ended the second inning.
—- Johnny Cueto seems to have turned a corner. Over his past two starts, he has allowed just three earned runs over 14 innings. Whether they trade him or not, the Giants certainly could use a nice little hot streak for the next six weeks.
—- A few seconds after Bruce Bochy shook Cueto’s hand, Brandon Belt got him off the hook for a loss. He hit the first pitch of the bottom of the seventh into the seats in left-center, tying the game. The homer was Belt’s 14th. He’s on pace for 29.
—- The Mets got eight one-run innings out of Jacob deGrom, who is quietly the most reliable of a star-studded rotation. He struck out seven and gave up just four hits.
—- If Madison Bumgarner wants another Silver Slugger Award, he’ll have to chase down deGrom, who hit a homer in his last start. His single in the third was his 10th hit, and he finished the day with a .294 average.