Time to Play 'Guess the Giants Lineup'


Time to Play 'Guess the Giants Lineup'

Jan. 12, 2010GIANTS PAGE

Based on recent comments by general manager Brian Sabean and president LarryBaer, the Giants seem fairly comfortable with the notion of Buster Posey beingthe starting catcher on Opening Day. So lets assume, for the sake of todaysexercise, that the latest round of "interest" in Yorvit Torrealba doesnt leadto anything.In other words, were assuming that the team the Giantshave now, offensively, is the team with which theyll try to snap their playoffdrought.Whats the lineup? Heres the way I think it might shake out:1. Aaron Rowand, CF
Hes obviously notthe prototypical leadoff man, but its the spot in which he was most productivelast season, primarily because he made subtle approach changes when leadingoff. When he wasnt leading off, he was a straight hacker, and nearly anautomatic out. Besides, there is no prototypical leadoff man on this teamunless Eugenio Velez or Andres Torres is starting, and in this lineup theyrenot.2. Freddy Sanchez, 2B
A No. 2 hitter should be a high-average man who can handlethe bat well. He needs to hit behind runners when appropriate, drop down somebunts, run a little bit and be something of a gap-to-gap RBI guy in the eventthat the bottom of the order sets the table for him after the first inning.This is Sanchez to a T.3. Pablo Sandoval, 3B
The third hitter should be your best hitter, and Panda isthat for the Giants, hands-down. You want him to bat in the first inning, everygame. This is the biggest no-brainer in the lineup.4. Aubrey Huff, 1B
Your cleanup hitter need not be a high-average orhigh-on-base guy, but he needs to be a good RBI guy with above-average pop.Huff, even in a down year, drove in 85 runs last season, and that would havemade him second in RBIs on the 2009 Giants. He should at least be able to dowhat Bengie Molina did last year, and unlike Molina, he can score from secondon a single more often than not. 5. Mark DeRosa, LF
The No. 5 hitter should be a decent RBI guy, too, of course.Ideally, hed have more pop than DeRosa, but its not like DeRosa is a Punch-and-Judy type. Hes a smart, experienced hitter who has a decent track recordwhen it comes to situational hitting. 6. Nate Schierholtz, RF
I still cant figure out why the Giants dont think morehighly of this guy. Hes a very good hitter, and hes proven it at every level.Hes not a big power guy, but hes an excellent all-around player who drivesthe ball on occasion and runs well and runs smartly. Its time to plug him inand leave him alone. If he can get his OBP up, hed be a good No. 2 hitter --with Sanchez leading off -- if Rowand falls flat up there. 7. Edgar Renteria, SS
Heres hoping that his struggles last year really were tiedto his failing health, because hes been a very good hitter at times during hiscareer. If he gets back to being that, youre looking at a nice bottom of theorder.8. Buster Posey, C
Nobody doubts this guys talent, and Im all for startinghim right away. The dude was the Minor League Player of the Year, for cryingout loud. Cut him loose, bat him down low to minimize the pressure hes likelyto place on himself, and let him take whatever lumps come his way. The kidsthe real deal. Lets see it right now.So there you go. Not all that bad, is it? Not amazing, but probablybetter as a whole than last years offense -- as long as certain guys pull moreweight than they did last year and others make modest improvements. My lineup is just one option, though. What do youthink? Id love to see this turn into a raging debate, so leave your thoughtsbehind. If you havent registered, it only takes a minute. So haveat it. Tell me Im dumb and why youre smarter. Tell me Im smart and whyyoure smarter. Or just tell me what you think. Looking forward to hearing fromthe die-hards.
-- Mychael Urban

Altidore, Dempsey lead US past Costa Rica, into Gold Cup final at Levi's


Altidore, Dempsey lead US past Costa Rica, into Gold Cup final at Levi's


ARLINGTON, Texas — Clint Dempsey fed Jozy Altidore for the go-ahead goal, then scored on a free kick to match Landon Donovan’s American record with his 57th international goal and lead the United States over Costa Rica 2-0 Saturday night and into the CONCACAF Gold Cup championship game.

Playing in his home state of Texas, the 34-year-old Dempsey entered in the 66th minute and made a perfectly timed through pass six minutes later that allowed Altidore to break in alone and beat Patrick Pemberton with a left-footed shot from 10 yards.

Dempsey doubled the lead in the 82nd minute with a 27-yard shot that went around a four-man defensive wall and got past Pemberton on two bounces.

“I saw the keeper cheating a little bit, and it went in,” Dempsey said.

Dempsey has 136 international appearances, trailing only Cobi Jones (164) and Donovan (157) among American players. The assist was his 20th for the national team.

“Coming back from two heart procedures, being able to still play at this level,” Dempsey said in his Texas twang, “living a dream. So I’m happy.”

Trying for their sixth Gold Cup title and first since 2013, the Americans play Mexico or Jamaica in the final on Wednesday at Santa Clara, California.

The U.S. improved to 8-0-5 since Bruce Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann in November and returned for a second stint as national team coach. Arena can become the first coach to win three Gold Cup titles following championships in 2002 and 2005.

Tim Howard got his second straight shutout, making key saves on Marco Urena in the 37th and 71st minutes.

After the second save, Dempsey took a pass from Darlington Nagbe in the center circle, made a cut, and took three touches as he sprinted toward goal. Altidore one-timed a shot for his first national team goal since September and ripped off his No. 27 jersey in a wild celebration, earning a yellow card.

Dempsey’s goal sealed the win, putting the U.S. back in the championship after a shocking semifinal loss to Jamaica two years ago. He was playing for the first time in AT&T Stadium, the $1.2 billion home stadium of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys that is about 180 miles from his hometown of Nacogdoches.

“Congratulations, Clint,” Donovan said while working on the Fox telecast of the game. “Feel free to stop now, we’ll share it together.”

After starting in Wednesday’s quarterfinal win over El Salvador, Dempsey moved to a reserve role against the Ticos. While the U.S. inserted five new starters in a roster rotation, Costa Rica went with the same 11 players who started in Wednesday’s win against Panama.

Costa Rica routed the U.S. 4-0 at home in a World Cup qualifier in November, the final game before Klinsmann was fired and Arena was brought back. And up ahead is another matchup, a qualifier on Sept. 1 at Harrison, New Jersey.

Morris, one of the new starters, hit a post just 11 seconds in.

Just before kickoff, El Salvador defender Henry Romero was suspended for his nation’s next six competitive matches and midfielder Darwin Ceren for the next three, those penalties coming three days after Romero bit Altidore and Ceren bit Omar Gonzalez during the quarterfinal. The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football said the discipline was issued by the Gold Cup disciplinary committee for “anti-sporting behavior.”

A's blow five-run lead, watch Mets walk off with victory

A's blow five-run lead, watch Mets walk off with victory


NEW YORK -- Wilmer Flores hit a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the New York Mets rallied from an early five-run deficit to beat the Oakland Athletics 6-5 Saturday night for their fourth consecutive victory.

Pinch-hitter Lucas Duda delivered a tying single with two outs in the eighth off left-hander Daniel CoulombeJay Bruce hit a two-run homer in the sixth to begin New York's comeback, and Jose Reyes tripled twice.

Flores connected on a 96 mph fastball from Simon Castro (0-1), sending a line drive to left field for the second game-ending homer of his career. That sent a frenzied crowd of 39,629 home happy - hours after fans lined up early in the heat outside Citi Field to get their Noah Syndergaard as Thor bobbleheads.

Matt Joyce hit a leadoff home run and Matt Chapman added a prodigious shot for Oakland, which scored four in the first off struggling Mets starter Zack Wheeler.

Sean Manaea took a shutout into the sixth but then wilted after throwing a career-high 115 pitches Sunday in his previous start, a win against Cleveland.

Hansel Robles (6-1) tossed a hitless inning to win for the second straight day.

With Mets second baseman Neil Walker nearing a return from the disabled list, perhaps Monday in San Diego, Asdrubal Cabrera made his first major league start at third and played flawless defense after working out at the position once. Cabrera's only previous appearance at the hot corner came during his rookie season in 2007 with Cleveland. "He's a middle infielder who's going to play third base. Got great hands, great arm. He'll be fine," manager Terry Collins said. Cabrera initially balked at shifting from shortstop to second when he came off the DL about a month ago.

Athletics: Ryon Healy had a pinch-hit single after getting hit near the left temple by a bad-hop grounder Friday night. Healy went through the concussion protocol and was cleared, manager Bob Melvin said. ... Melvin said he would have news after the game regarding RHP Jharel Cotton, on the DL since July 4 with a blister on his right thumb. Cotton threw a bullpen Friday. Oakland needs a starter for Monday night at Toronto. ... INF-OF Chad Pinder (strained left hamstring) homered Friday on his rehab assignment with Triple-A Nashville and could come off the DL when Oakland begins a homestand next weekend. "That's kind of the target area," Melvin said.

Mets: Walker (left hamstring) went 1 for 3 with Triple-A Las Vegas at Memphis in the first game of rehab assignment. The switch-hitter has been on the DL since June 15. ... LHP Josh Smoker threw a scoreless sixth in his first outing since coming off the disabled list Thursday. Smoker had been sidelined since June 14 with a strained left shoulder.

Oakland rookie right-hander Daniel Gossett (1-5, 5.79 ERA) makes his eighth career start in Sunday's series finale against RHP Rafael Montero (1-6, 5.40). Gossett has given up 10 homers in 37 1/3 innings after yielding only four in 60 2/3 innings at Triple-A.