Posey diagnoses Bumgarner

914881.jpg

Posey diagnoses Bumgarner

SAN FRANCISCO Giants catcher Buster Posey clearly has a better view than anyone when it comes to the clubs starting pitching staff. Therefore, his analysis of Madison Bumgarners recent struggles carries the most weight.

Bumgarner fell to 0-2 this postseason after giving up six earned runs in just 3.2 innings on Sunday in Game 1 of the NLCS. His playoff ERA this postseason, including a loss to the Reds in Game 2 of the division series, has ballooned to 14.73.

So, whats the deal, Buster?

I think hes just struggling with command, Posey said. Breaking balls not getting buried in. It doesnt have quite the same finish on it. Id say thats the main thing.

Bumgarner said: Thats the way its been the past two starts. Not a whole lot of life on the ball. At the same time, youve still got to find a way to make pitches.

The 23-year-old lefty was felled on Sunday by a pair of two-run home runs by the Cards David Freeze in the second, and fan-unfavorite Carlos Beltran in the fourth. On Beltrans blast, Bumgarner hung a 2-2 slider that ended up in the left field seats. It was the last batter he faced.

His place in the postseason rotation could be in jeopardy.

He came out with good stuff, but it dropped a little bit, manager Bruce Bochy said when asked if a change to the rotation was coming. Well talk about it tonight, tomorrow, and as we get to Game 5 what we will do. But, hes one of our guys. Hes had a great year, and weve seen what this kid has done for us during the season and in the postseason. But, its something that well discuss.

While Ryan Vogelsong will start Game 2 and Matt Cain Game 3, Bochy could very well go with Tim Lincecum in Game 5, or even Game 4. Lincecum pitched two shutout innings in Game 1 in relief of Bumgarner, and Bochy said in his post-game presser that he wouldnt use Lincecum in Game 2.

For his part, Lincecum said this is as confident as hes been all season. In 8.1 innings of work this postseason, all in relief, Lincecum has allowed just one earned run, walked one and struck out nine.

I feel confident right now, just because you have to be. You cant go out there with that doubt in your mind, because every pitch is that much more crucial and that much more important.

Posey, too, sees a confident two-time Cy Young Award winner, who was bypassed for a start in the NLDS against the Reds for Bumgarner and Barry Zito.

I think thats a big thing is that he is pitching with confidence, Posey said. Hes moving the ball around on the plate, and throwing some off-speed pitches in some hitters counts, and able to keep the guys off balance. Hes done a good job.

The Giants, who are now 0-3 at AT&T Park in the playoffs, will need a strong start from Vogelsong in Game 2, especially when you consider the bullpen was forced to pitch more than five innings in Game 1.

Vogelsongs last appearance was against the Reds in Game 3 of the division series, when he surrendered one earned run in five innings in what was the first of three straight Giants wins.

We expect the same out of him as hes done all year long. Hes been great for us and we expect a lot more of the same tomorrow, Brandon Belt said. Well be ready to play defense behind him, and we know hell do just fine.

Posey said: Tomorrow is big. Im sure Vogey will be ready and Im excited for him being on the mound.

The Giants are still seeking their first quality start through six playoff games. That will have to change, sooner rather than later even though the Giants' bullpen tied a postseason LCS record with 5.1 scoreless, hitless innings in Game 1.

You certainly want a quality start from the guys, Bochy said. In these series the bullpen plays a huge role. It did for them tonight. Their pen did a great job, and ours did a great job. It makes it easier when you get a quality start.

Warriors, Cavs to square off in ultimate NBA Finals trilogy

Warriors, Cavs to square off in ultimate NBA Finals trilogy

The Trilogy has arrived.

The Warriors. The Cavaliers. Facing each other in the NBA Finals for the third consecutive postseason. The series begins June 1 with Game 1 at Oracle Arena.

With a 135-102 victory over the Celtics Thursday night in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Cavs advance to face a Warriors team riding the wave created by being the first club in NBA history to start the postseason with 12 straight wins.

With the teams splitting the first two Finals, the Warriors winning in 2015 and the Cavs prevailing last June, this one is to break the tie.

In the meantime, both teams have done some significant retooling.

The Warriors last summer added four-time scoring champion Kevin Durant, along with veterans JaVale McGee, Zaza Pachulia and David West.

Though LeBron James remains the hub of the Cavs, the team made several in-season changes, most notably adding veterans Kyle Korver and Deron Williams.

The Warriors came into the playoffs having earned the No. 1 overall seed by virtue of their NBA-best 67-15 record. They’re 27-1 since March 11, having ended the regular season by winning 15 of their last 16 games before taking out Portland, Utah and San Antonio in four games each to reach The Finals.

The Cavaliers (51-31) held the top seed in the East for most of the season before staggering over the final six weeks, going 9-12 over their final 21 games, including four consecutive losses to end the season.

Cleveland seems to have recovered from its late-season slump, sweeping Indiana and Toronto in the first two rounds before ousting the Celtics in five.

The Warriors and Cavs split two games in the regular season, each team winning on its home floor. Cleveland took a 109-108 decision on Christmas Day, while the Warriors came back for a 126-91 on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Oakland.

The NBA Finals schedule can be seen below. 

Game 1 – Thu  June  1  Cleveland at Golden State          6:00PM  

Game 2 – Sun  June  4  Cleveland at Golden State          5:00PM  

Game 3 – Wed  June  7  Golden State at Cleveland          6:00PM  

Game 4 – Fri  June  9  Golden State at Cleveland             6:00PM  

Game 5 * Mon  June 12  Cleveland at Golden State          6:00PM  

Game 6 * Thu  June 15  Golden State at Cleveland          6:00PM  

Game 7 * Sun  June 18  Cleveland at Golden State          5:00PM    

Dusty chooses son's graduation over Nationals game against Padres

dusty-darren-us.jpg
USATSI

Dusty chooses son's graduation over Nationals game against Padres

WASHINGTON — Dusty Baker will miss the Washington Nationals weekend series against the San Diego Padres to attend his son Darren’s graduation.

Baker said he will rejoin Washington when it begins a three-game series in San Francisco on Monday, near Baker’s offseason home. Bench coach Chris Speier will assume managerial duties against the Padres.

Baker’s son Darren is graduating from Jesuit High School in Carmichael, California. He’s committed to play college baseball at Cal.

As a 3-year-old bat boy, Darren was rescued from a potential home plate collision by J.T. Snow in Game 5 of the 2002 World Series between Baker’s Giants and the Angels.