No. 7 Cardinal will roll against WSU


No. 7 Cardinal will roll against WSU

The Andrew Luck juggernaut hits the Palouse this week where the Stanford Cardinal will try and keep things perfect and not focus on the real game that takes place the first week in November against Oregon.

And, Id say thats a pretty good idea for the Cardinal. Washington States not going anywhere this year BUT ... they are about 10 minutes from being undefeated, they are vastly improved from the gimme win team they were, they have nothing to lose, theyre playing at home, and if a visiting team -- even a team as good as the Cardinal -- decides to chalk this one up before its played, we could see the biggest upset in college football this year.

That said, I dont think Stanford will chalk it up before its played. Im just sayin...
PREVIEW: No. 7 Stanford vs. Washington State

Stanford is good, and its not only because of Andrew Luck. The defense hasnt been soundly tested yet and probably wont be this week either, but its showing that it has the goods. And, as to Luck, one of the things -- and there are many -- that you have to love about this guy is that all the notoriety and Heisman hype hes getting is being done while hes playing entirely within the system. Not that he cant, but he hasnt yet been asked to go out and win a game for Stanford. Hes that special.

The Cardinal will roll in Pullman.

I do think the game in Eugene bears watching. True enough the Ducks dont lose at home (they havent since 2008), but I could see them pushed in this game with ASU. The Sun Devils are one of the few left coast teams that can match up with Oregons speed and that -- as they say in boxing -- gives them a punchers chance.

There are two factors that will decide this game:
1). How much of a drop off is there at running back for Oregon without the presence of LaMichael James?
2). Can ASU actually get through an entire game without stepping on its own body parts? The Sun Devils inevitably self-destruct in big games -- usually by stupid penalties.

So, my answer to No. 1 is: Not much. The Ducks have two other running backs who may not be LaMichael James, but arent far behind either. And to No. 2: I dont think so.

PREVIEW: No. 18 Arizona State vs. No. 9 Oregon

Oregon fans will bait visiting teams into mistakes that are far more disciplined than ASU. Somewhere along the line the Sun Devils will shoot themselves in the foot.

It's not out of the question for ASU but Im taking Oregon and the toughest home crowd in the conference.

Falling on their face at Nebraska not withstanding, the Washington Huskies are a team that is suddenly looking capable of beating anyone. The win against Cal and on the road at Utah has the Huskies believing in themselves. Steve Sarkisian is a great motivator, excellent at identifying talent, and is quickly bringing a once-proud program back to where the locals feel it belongs. No problem for the Dogs against Colorado and dont look now but theyll be 5-1.

If the season only started in October the Oregon State Beavers would be undefeated. The Beavs just dont show up until the leaves turn. They get BYU in Corvallis this week. Im still a believer despite an 0-4 start. Beavs win ... Beavs win!

The Pac-12 week winds up with Utah at Pittsburgh. The Utes are bruised and beaten. The move from the Mountain West has been a bigger one than anyone expected. Pitt wins. Im not watching.

Once again -- thats the way I see it. If Im wrong, as always, Ill deny it.

Barry Tompkins is a frequent contributor to and Chronicle Live.

Giants hammer three homers in third straight spring training win

Giants hammer three homers in third straight spring training win


At Goodyear, Arizona, Joe Panik, Conor Gillaspie and Jarrett Parker homered for San Francisco. Jimmy Rollins singled and scored twice.

Giants lefty Matt Moore went 1 1/3 innings in his first start of the spring, allowing one run and one hit. He walked two and struck out three.

Cincinnati starter Tim Adleman pitched two innings, giving up four hits and two runs.

A's spring training Day 13: Gossett part of fifth starter mix

A's spring training Day 13: Gossett part of fifth starter mix

MESA, Ariz. — An unexpected opportunity came Daniel Gossett’s way Sunday, and the young right-hander took it in stride.

When the A’s adjusted their starting rotation, Kendall Graveman got bumped to Monday and Gossett learned he’d be taking the ball to start Sunday’s Cactus League home opener against the Los Angeles Angels.

“I’m here for what they need me for,” Gossett said. “So anything they need, gimme the ball.”

He spun two scoreless innings in a game Oakland lost 5-3 at Hohokam Stadium. A nice first impression for Gossett, indeed, but the truth is A’s officials were already quite familiar with him.

A second-round pick out of Clemson in 2014, Gossett impressed at three levels of the farm system in 2016, beginning the year with Single-A Stockton and finishing it with Triple-A Nashville.

This is his first big league camp, and manager Bob Melvin even mentioned Gossett as being part of the fifth starter conversation.

“He impressed everybody in the organization last year, so when talking about that fifth spot, who knows?” Melvin said before the game.

The only blemishes on Gossett’s day were the pair of walks he issued. After walking Jefrey Marte to lead off the second, he got a lift from his catcher, as Josh Phegley fired a strike to second to nail Marte trying to steal.

“A pitcher’s best friend, I guess,” Gossett said. He went 10-6 with a 2.69 ERA across 27 starts at all three levels of the minors last year, and his 151 strikeouts led the A’s farm system. Gossett’s fastball ranges anywhere from 90-95 on the gun. He throws a changeup that gets the most swings and misses, plus a slider and curve.

Grady Fuson, an A’s special assistant to the general manager, liked the adjustments he saw with Gossett over the course of last season.

“He’s a super kid, a grinder,” Fuson said over the winter. “He’s a guy that hadn’t struck many guys out and had been very hittable in the strike zone. (In 2016), he started executing to different parts of the zone that limits the hard contact.”

CAMP BATTLE: Alejandro De Aza sparked the A’s first rally in the third Sunday with a triple, then scored on Mark Canha’s double. With Jake Smolinski sidelined currently by a shoulder issue, it’s a good time for De Aza, a non-roster invitee to camp, to make his mark. The door could be open for him to make a push to make the roster as a fifth outfielder.

“He’s an interesting guy,” Melvin said of the nine-year veteran. “He knows how to play the game, he can play all three outfield spots. We’ve seen him before when he’s given us trouble, too, with the White Sox.”

Another contender for a reserve outfield spot is Jaycob Brugman, who has yet to crack the majors but is already on the 40-man roster. He singled home a run in the seventh. Like De Aza and Smolinski, Brugman can play center field, and it stands to reason the A’s will want to carry someone who can back up Rajai Davis at that position.

NOTEWORTHY: Phegley admitted to some butterflies before getting behind the plate for his first game since July, when a right knee injury wiped out the rest of his season.

But he looked good springing up to nail Marte on the second-inning steal attempt. The A’s are counting on Phegley returning to his role as the right-handed hitting platoon partner with Stephen Vogt behind the plate.

STOCK RISING: Melvin was impressed, and entertained, by the first look he got at reliever Simon Castro on Saturday against the Chicago Cubs. Castro retired Kris Bryant to strand a runner at third, the only hitter he faced. But it was what happened before the at-bat that caught Melvin’s attention.

“When he came to the mound he was pretty vocal,” Melvin noted. “He was fired up, telling the guys ‘Let’s go!’ I haven’t heard that too many times out of pitchers, let alone in spring training. So he impressed me with his eagerness to pitch.”

FAMILIAR FACES: Campy Campaneris and Blue Moon Odom each threw out ceremonial first pitches before Sunday’s exhibition home opener, which drew a smallish crowd of 4,072.