Instant Replay: Giants 4, Dodgers 0


Instant Replay: Giants 4, Dodgers 0


SAN FRANCISCO Things started going the Giants way even before the first pitch of their rubber match against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday evening at AT&T Park.
Hours before he was scheduled to take the mound, Los Angeles ace Clayton Kershaw was scratched due to a sore hip in favor of the much less intimidating Joe Blanton. The Giants got to Blanton early, while Barry Zito didnt allow a run more than six innings of work, as San Francisco captured a 4-0 victory.
The Giants got all the offense they needed after Hunter Pences two-out, two-run double in the first inning staked them to an early lead. Buster Poseys first home run in almost a month gave them some insurance in the sixth inning, while the bullpen was nearly perfect in relief of Zito.
The Giants (79-61) increased their lead over the Dodgers (74-67) to 5.5 games in the NL West, taking two of three against their rival to the south.
Starting pitching report
Zito gave the Giants a second straight quality outing by scattering four hits over 6.1 shutout innings, striking out four and walking three. The Giants have won Zitos last seven starts, the first time they have done so since he signed with the club.
Blanton surrendered four runs (all earned) in 5.1 innings, walking two and striking out four. He left after Poseys solo homer to lead off the bottom of the fifth and Pences hard liner that was snagged by a diving Victorino in centerfield.
Bullpen report
Santiago Casilla got two key outs in the top of the seventh in relief of Zito. With runners on first and second Casilla struck out pinch hitter Bobby Abreu, walked Mark Ellis, but got Victorino to fly out to left with the bases loaded to keep the 4-0 lead intact.
Jose Mijares and Guillermo Mota combined to pitch a scoreless eighth, while Sergio Romo secured the final two outs of the game after Javier Lopez struck out Andre Ethier to start the ninth.
At the plate
Pence gave the home crowd a quick jolt in the bottom of the first, against his former teammate in Philadelphia. With two on and two out, Pence smoked Blantons 1-0 fastball into left-center field, plating Angel Pagan and Pablo Sandoval.
It remained a 2-0 Giants lead until the bottom of the fifth. Pagan laced a triple to right field with one out, and scampered home on a sacrifice fly to right by Marco Scutaro. Pagan had two hits in three at bats against Blanton, and now has a .583 career average against the rotund righty (14-for-24).
Posey smashed a solo homer just over the centerfield wall in the bottom of the sixth his 20th of the year and first since August 11 against Colorado (83 at-bats).
The Dodgers left nine men on base and were a combined 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. A.J. Ellis was 2-for-3 with a walk and was the only Dodgers player with more than one hit.
In the field
Victorinos diving grab of Pences liner in the sixth was the defensive highlight of the game.
Pagan stole second after his single to lead off the game, eventually scoring on Pences double. Sandoval was easily thrown out at second base while attempting to steal in what was likely a miscommunication in the bottom of the third.
The Giants announced an attendance of 41,517 to keep the sellout streak intact.
Up next
The Giants travel to Colorado to open a three-game set with the Rockies beginning Monday, with Ryan Vogelsong (12-7, 3.29 ERA) scheduled to start against Alex White (2-8, 5.31 ERA). Vogelsong has struggled lately, going 2-2 with a 10.31 ERA in his last five starts, allowing 24 runs in just 21.1 innings.
San Francisco, which continues on to Arizona for three games next weekend, is 5-1 at Coors Field this season.

Sorensen returns to Sharks after having 'positive impact' last season

Sorensen returns to Sharks after having 'positive impact' last season

Editor's Note: The above video is from March 2, 2017

One of the Sharks’ young forwards expected to challenge for a full time roster spot this season has been re-signed.

Marcus Sorensen, who started the year in the AHL before working his way up to the Sharks, signed a two-year contract extension the team announced on Tuesday. A source told NBC Sports California that the deal is worth $700,000 at the NHL level for each of the next two seasons.

In 19 regular season games with the Sharks, Sorensen, 25, posted one goal and three assists. He appeared in all six playoff games against Edmonton, posting one goal and one assist.

In 43 games with the AHL Barracuda, Sorensen had 17 goals and 17 assists for 34 points.

"The time he spent with the Sharks this season, and the positive impact he had, proved that he can be an effective player at the highest level,” assistant general manager Joe Will said in a statement.

Sorensen originally signed with the Sharks as a free agent on May 13, 2016. He was originally drafted by Ottawa in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, but spent six seasons playing in Sweden before joining San Jose.

Sorensen was a restriced free agent. The Sharks have just one RFA left to sign in forward Barclay Goodrow.

Mailbag: Will Sharks miss Marleau's leadership? Thornton to be bumped?

Mailbag: Will Sharks miss Marleau's leadership? Thornton to be bumped?

Now that the dust has settled on the draft and free agency, here’s a meaty offseason Sharks mailbag before my vacation…

Who will replace Patty's leadership? (philip malan‏ @pmalan1979)

Patrick Marleau was a good example for other players in that he always came to camp in great shape and took care of himself between games, allowing him to be very productive into his later years. 

But let’s not overblow it. From what I understand, Marleau preferred to avoid confrontation, and was never the guy in the dressing room challenging other players to step up. That was left more to guys like Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski, with Logan Couture growing into that role in recent years, too. When it comes to veteran leadership there are other guys still in the dressing room of more value than Marleau. His leaving town shouldn’t change the dynamic.

Will Thornton be bumped from the top line center role? Who do you think will replace Marleau on the PP? (Elle‏ @LikeShiningOil)

The whole “top line” designation is something that us writers and broadcasters like to use, and I’m going to keep using it for Thornton so long as he and Pavelski are on the same line. That said, there will be plenty of games where the Couture line gets more even-strength ice time than the Thornton line. I guess my point here is don’t read too much into the labels. I don’t expect Thornton’s ice time to go down from what it was last season. He’s averaged 18 minutes and change in each of the past five seasons, and probably will again.

As for replacing Marleau on the power play, I would tab Tomas Hertl as the frontrunner, but I’m sure the Sharks will try a number of different looks there in training camp. After finishing 25th in the NHL last season they pretty much have to, right?

How will the lines roll this season, if you were to prognosticate now? (Erik Kuhre @Puckguy14)

It seems like we say this every year, but it depends on where the Sharks see Hertl slotting in. Last season Hertl started out on the wing of the top line after offseason knee surgery before moving to center fairly quickly. I know he battled through yet another knee injury during the season, but Hertl’s 22 points in 49 games was a disappointing total.

If the season were starting today, I’d put Hertl on the wing of the Thornton line again with, of course, Pavelski on the other side. Here’s what I’ve got in that scenario:

Tomas Hertl – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Timo Meier – Logan Couture – Joonas Donskoi
Jannik Hansen – Chris Tierney – Mikkel Boedker
Melker Karlsson – Ryan Carpenter – Joel Ward

Extras: Marcus Sorensen, Kevin Labanc, Barclay Goodrow

(One guy who is really going to have to fight to keep his spot is Ward. I could see him getting pushed out, but for now I’m leaving him in).

Will there be a tough guy in the lineup to protect the kids? (Jim Kelley)

The Sharks signed free agent Brandon Bollig a couple weeks ago to replace Micheal Haley, but I don’t seem him as a regular in the NHL lineup. Bollig could be a guy they recall if they think it’s necessary to dress a pugilist, like when Pete DeBoer brought up Haley late in the 2015-16 season for the sole reason of fighting Darnell Nurse, who had jumped Sharks defenseman Roman Polak just two weeks earlier for no real reason.

Do you think Chris Tierney is capable of more point production at this point in his career? (Ian Stephenson)

Count me among those that thought Tierney was ready to have a better season last year after his strong performance in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Still, he’s just 23 years old, and his line in the series against Edmonton with Meier and Sorensen was a very effective one for long stretches of play. This is a huge year for Tierney, who had to settle for the Sharks’ one-year, $735,000 qualifying offer. Perform, and he’ll get paid. Struggle, and he could be on the move.

Do you think the Sharks will trade either Grosenick or Dell? Doesn't seem Grosenick has much more to prove in AHL. (Chris Greni)

No, they’ll hold on to all three for the time being. Getting Troy Grosenick re-signed to a one-year deal was a nice move on the Sharks’ part, considering Aaron Dell still has just 20 games of NHL experience. Perhaps if they both continue to play well the Sharks could dangle one as trade bait later in the year, but it wouldn’t make sense at this point. 

Any thoughts on DW using the offer sheet to bring in scoring help? There’s several serviceable RFAs out there still waiting for contracts. (Tony Martinico)

Keep in mind that some of those high end RFAs, like Colton Parayko, Nino Niederreiter and Tomas Tatar are currently headed for arbitration, which takes the offer sheet off the table.

Purely speculation here, but I have to wonder if the Sharks have at least kicked around trying to ink Leon Draisaitl to an offer sheet. You have to think Berlin native Hasso Plattner would love to add the “German Gretzky” to the roster. I know we're settling into the part of the NHL offseason where typically nothing happens, but it was July 19 when the Flyers signed Shea Weber to a monster offer sheet five years ago.

And, of course, Doug Wilson has used the power of the offer sheet in the past, signing Niklas Hjalmarsson in 2010 and then using the threat of an offer sheet with Boston to acquire Martin Jones.

Which Cuda player, aside from Meier, Labanc and Sorensen, would you expect to be a dark horse and could make the big team out of camp? (olin @sleepymofo)

Keep in mind that the sixth and defensemen spots are open, too. I would presume that Dylan DeMelo is the frontrunner to replace David Schlemko, but Tim Heed and Joakim Ryan are coming off of strong seasons in the AHL. Perhaps one of them overtakes DeMelo in training camp.

As for other forwards than those you mentioned, Goodrow could end challenging for a spot on the fourth line. I get plenty of questions about Danny O’Regan, too, and perhaps he makes a push. The issue with O’Regan is that although he’s a skilled player in the minors, he’s probably not quite skilled enough to make up for his small frame at the NHL level. I view him more as a fill-in guy.

Any word on [Barclay] Goodrow and [Marcus] Sorenson? I'm assuming they didn't sign their QO's? (DaveBPilot‏ @DaveBPilot)

Yes, that’s safe to assume, since the deadline was Saturday. They remain RFAs, and negotiations will surely continue.

Still, it’s worth mentioning what happened last year with Matt Nieto. The forward didn’t sign his qualifying offer, as he was pushing for a multi-year deal, and ended up signing for one year for less than he would have made had he accepted the original offer. He was waived and claimed by Colorado.