Shaw succeeding in shadows

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Shaw succeeding in shadows

Theres been no jarring chord changes, no dissonant notes. David Shaw blends right in, like soothing background music.

Like Sade perhaps, Shaws pregame listening of choice.

As Stanford readies for its biggest game of the year on Saturday evening against Oregon, the focus is on Andrew Luck. Of course. Stanfords Heisman trophy candidate is the face and personality of the team.

And when the focus isnt on Luck, its on Shaws predecessor, Jim Harbaugh. Just down the road and performing the kind of alchemy on the 49ers that he worked at Stanford, Harbaughs presence still looms over the Cardinal program.
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Where the focus is definitely not is on Shaw, who is working in the shadows. But Shaw is making a bid to become just the third rookie head coach to win a national title, in his first year as Harbaughs successor.

Easy right? Taking over an established program and just letting it roll along on autopilot. But thats totally discounting what Shaw has done.

Hes become the George Seifert of the college game -- taking over from a superstar coach, the beneficiary of a great quarterback, but having the huge responsibility of keeping the program on track. Screw it up and youre ruined forever. Keep it going and you get no credit.

When Harbaugh left he not only took his oversized personality to the 49ers he also took Stanfords offensive and defensive coordinators. He left behind a program with high expectations, the most high profile player in the country and a culture that hasnt exactly cultivated big-time college football (and can we just say, during this week of Penn State horrors, hooray for that?).

It could have all gone very wrong in the hands of the wrong coach, say a Buddy Teevens or a Walt Harris.
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But Shaw -- to quote his favorite entertainer - is a smooth operator. Hes made the transition seamless. Hes felt no need to assert his own ego. He doesnt mind the shadows. Doesnt mind the BCS politics. Doesnt ask what anyones deal is. Doesnt appear to have an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. Isnt the constant subject of speculation about what his next job will be.

He just wants to win, and thats what hes been doing. The Cardinal has won 17 straight games, the longest winning streak in the nation. The last loss was to Oregon -- in Eugene -- on Oct. 2, 2010.

Shaws approach is one of balance and perspective. So on the eve of the biggest game hes coached to date, dont expect Shaw to be any different.

I personally dont change, he said Tuesday. If something funny happens in practice, I laugh. If something happens that I dont like, I address it.

Though he seems as laid back as a mellow jazz station, Shaws players have let it be known that hes quick to get on them. And he has their back. On Tuesday he sharply defended Luck against Phil Simms contrarian blather that Luck isnt making NFL throws.

He hasnt been looking closely enough, Shaw said. To say he cant make NFL throws is comical.

Shaw doesnt feel the need to rail against the injustices of the BCS -- thats not really the Stanford way (though it would be the Stanford way if an computer engineering major could figure out how to hack the BCS computers).

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It has absolutely no bearing on what happens on Saturdays, Shaw said. The BCS matters when all the regular season and conference championship games are over. Up until then, its a TV show. An entertaining TV showThey can put us at No. 3, they can put us at 2, they can put us at 10. Weve still got to play Oregon.

The hype will be enormous Saturday. The nations football focus (different than the nations scandal focus) will be on the Stanford campus.

But Shaw will keep it in perspective. Hes got two things going for him: hes the son of a coach so game day has been a lifelong reality not just a hyped up product. And hes a Stanford product so a sense of balance is ingrained in his nature.

This campus does a great job of keeping your perspective, Shaw said. He talked of the businesses that are being created on campus. He spoke of one doctor he talked to who is working on a cure for rare disease.

Stanford-Oregon is not high on his list, Shaw said with a laugh.

The focus is on Stanford this week. But Shaw will still find a way to step out of the spotlight.

Bumgarner throws three innings of no-hit ball in first rehab start

Bumgarner throws three innings of no-hit ball in first rehab start

BOX SCORE

Madison Bumgarner was back on the hill Sunday night in a Giants jersey for the first time since being placed on the DL on April 21 due to a dirt bike accident

Bumgarner took the mound for the Arizona Rookie League Giants and did not allow a hit in three innings pitched. The Giants' ace also struck out two and walked one. 

In both the first and third innings, Bumgarner pitched a perfect three up and three down frame. 

Bumgarner was diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain of his left throwing shoulder and sustained bruised ribs from his dirt bike accident on an off day in Colorado. Pitching in a game for the first time in over two months, Bumgarner was throwing between 88-91 miles per hour, according to Tommy Stokke of FanRagSports. 

After finishing his three innings of work, Bumgarner went down to the bullpen to increase his pitch count, reports Sande Charles of FanRagSports

Before sustaining the injury, Bumgarner was 0-3 with a 3.00 ERA in four starts this season. 

The Giants have gone 21-41 since Bumgarner's injury. They are 27-51 on the year and sit 24.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West. 

After another Giants clunker, Bochy tells players 'enough is enough'

After another Giants clunker, Bochy tells players 'enough is enough'

SAN FRANCISCO — A few minutes after yet another missed opportunity at the plate Sunday, a voice came over a speaker in the press box at AT&T Park and announced a 524th consecutive sellout. It nicely summed up this current stretch of Giants baseball. 

The seats are emptier than they used to be at first pitch, and they were just about abandoned in the ninth inning of an 8-2 loss, but for the most part the fans are still showing up in droves. One woman brought a toaster by the dugout Sunday morning and asked players and coaches to sign it, hoping to recapture the magic from across the bridge. Another, Bryan Stow, made his first appearance of the season at AT&T Park, met with Bruce Bochy, and said he hoped to see a win. As Matt Moore started warming up, a band set up on top of the visiting dugout to play hits that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. 

For a while, AT&T Park was rocking. And then, as has happened so often this summer, the game started. 

The Giants turned in another epic clunker in a season full of them. They have lost 12 of their last 13 games and 21 of 26, but it’s worse than the raw numbers. On most nights, some in the organization have noted privately, they are simply boring. It’s one thing to lose, it’s quite another to do it in this way. 

“There’s no getting around it,” Bochy said after the sweep. “I’ve been through some tough stretches here and this is as tough as any stretch I’ve seen. For some reason the baseball gods are really testing us here and (testing) this group. It’s not that they’re not coming out ready or trying, but enough is enough.

“At some point, we’ve got to find a way to get this thing turned around.”

Even a slight pivot would be welcomed by the faithful. There were scattered boos Sunday, the latest in a growing trend. This is a fan base that has seen the highest highs, but rarely in franchise history have the lows been this low. 

The crowd no longer turns to the rally lights that were used so often in an awful April, but the noise still grows with each new rally. And then, every single time Sunday, the Giants killed off any hope. 

In the second inning, a Brandon Belt bunt single and Brandon Crawford bloop put two on, but a pair of rookies flied out. 

In the third, the bases were loaded ahead of Buster Posey. He flied out to bring one run across, and there were still runners on the corners for Belt, who leads the team in homers. On a 2-2 count, Hunter Pence inexplicably took off for second. He was caught, the inning was over, and the two-run Mets lead was intact. Bochy said he did not send Pence. 

In the sixth, there were two on with no outs for Posey. Both runners bolted to stay out of a double play. Posey popped up to first -- for a double play.

“He’s not a guy that strikes out, so I’m pretty confident sending runners with Buster,” Bochy said. “We can’t keep laying back. We’re trying to force the issue a bit and stay out of double plays.”

In the eighth, the Giants loaded the bases for Posey and Belt. Posey grounded out. Belt struck out for the third time. 

“We’re getting guys out there,” Bochy said. “We’re not doing enough damage.”

Matt Moore’s damage was self-inflicted. He twice gave up homers to the guy — Rene Rivera — hitting in front of the pitcher. Moore said he has stopped throwing his cutter the past three starts and tried to get his four-seamer going, but the Mets were teeing off. Moore gave up five runs on seven hits. He was pulled in the fifth, left to think about mechanics that still aren’t right. 

“The cutter is a little bit different of a pitch and at times it can take away from the four-seam fastball location-wise, and command of the four-seam was starting to go down the more I threw (the cutter),” Moore said. “I’m anxious to get back to it, but the foundation has got to be throwing the four-seam fastball. I need to execute where they’re carrying through the zone, not running or cutting.”

Moore said his confidence is fine and his problems are not physical. Others can no longer say that. Austin Slater, a rare bright spot in this five-win month, was pulled with a tight hip flexor. He was headed for an MRI. 

Slater is too young to be one of the players Bochy approached after the game. He said he talked to a few, though, passing along that “enough is enough” message. Moore, last in the National League in ERA (6.04), was not one who needed a reminder. 

“I’m sitting on a six right now with not a lot of wins and not enough team wins when I’m throwing,” he said. “It’s been 'enough' for me for the last couple of months.”