A's try to find answers for shutout-prone offense

454866.jpg

A's try to find answers for shutout-prone offense

April 26, 2011

A's (11-12) vs.
LA ANGELS (13-10)

Coverage begins at 6:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

ANAHEIM (AP) -- The Los Angeles Angels scored early and often in the opener of their series against Oakland, allowing their starting pitcher to work with a nice cushion. Manager Mike Scioscia would surely like to see that continue with rookie right-hander Tyler Chatwood on the hill.

Chatwood goes for his first career home win Tuesday night when the Angels look for their sixth straight victory over the Athletics, and eighth in a row at home versus Oakland.

Los Angeles (13-10), which got swept in a four-game home series for the first time since 2005, losing to Boston over the weekend, broke into the win column on its seven-game homestand Monday with a 5-0 victory over the A's (11-12).

After getting shut out in their previous two games, the Angels broke through and scored all five of their runs in the first four innings. That was more than enough support for ace Jered Weaver, who struck out 10 in a seven-hitter to become the first pitcher since Arizona's Randy Johnson in 2002 to win six of his team's first 23 games.
REWIND: Angels ace Weaver blanks A's

"When we get (runs) early in the game it sets the tone for our starting pitcher," Scioscia said. "I thought our bats were much more focused all game."

Howie Kendrick went 2 for 4 with two RBIs Monday after getting one hit in 14 at-bats in the Red Sox series. His two-run single in the second inning snapped Los Angeles' 24-inning scoreless streak against opposing starting pitchers.

Chatwood (1-1, 3.50 ERA) makes his fourth career start, and third in Anaheim.

The 21-year-old right-hander gave up two runs over six innings of Thursday's 4-2, 11-inning loss to the Red Sox, but walked a career-high five and threw 103 pitches.

REWIND: Red Sox extend run with extra-innings win over Angels

"He was right around the zone and threw some good low bullets," Scioscia told the Angels' official website. "I thought he handled himself very well out there pitching out of trouble for a while."

While Chatwood will face an A's team that has been shut out in three of its last five games, he could be tested right away against leadoff hitter Coco Crisp, who is 9 for 14 with four runs in his last three contests and had his third straight three-hit effort Monday.

Crisp is batting .341 in 24 career games at Anaheim.

A's right-hander Brandon McCarthy (1-1, 2.10), a native of Glendale, Calif., will get the ball Tuesday in his first start in Anaheim since Aug. 28, 2008, while with Texas.

McCarthy pitched his second career complete game Thursday, giving up one run and four hits over eight innings while striking out six, but his teammates had just five hits in a 1-0 loss at Seattle.

REWIND: King Felix blanks A's 1-0

Angels right fielder Torii Hunter is 3 for 5 with a homer off McCarthy, but is hitless in his last nine at-bats overall and 2 for 15 in his last five games.

Teammate Vernon Wells, 2 for 18 during that same stretch, is 1 for 10 versus the A's right-hander.

Oakland left fielder Josh Willingham is questionable for Tuesday's game after leaving the series opener with tightness in his left upper back.

Lynch, Shanahan hold 'positive' discussion with Kaepernick

Lynch, Shanahan hold 'positive' discussion with Kaepernick

General manager John Lynch confirmed during a radio interview that he and 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan met with quarterback Colin Kaepernick at his office Wednesday morning at the team headquarters in Santa Clara.

“I would characterize it as just a really positive discussion,” Lynch said during an appearance on KNBR, confirming a CSNBayArea.com report the sides met for the first time since Lynch and Shanahan were hired in their new roles.

Lynch said he and Shanahan have committed to being completely honest with Kaepernick, who can opt out of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent as early as next week.

Lynch did not divulge the topics of conversation. He said a commitment was also made to Kaepernick to not speak publicly about the specifics of their conversations.

“I do think that there are some things that are sacred,” Lynch said. “We did have a great discussion and I think Colin left excited and we left excited.

“And I think as Kyle and I believe, the evaluation process is still very much fluid. We’ve only been on the job a couple of weeks and I can tell you we both very much enjoyed being around Colin, and he seems like he’s a real good place.”

Giants spring training Day 10: Bochy on board with new rules

Giants spring training Day 10: Bochy on board with new rules

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — During his season managing Barry Bonds, Bruce Bochy watched the slugger get intentionally walked 43 times. 

“There were (managers) who had the (signal) up before he even got to the batter’s box,” Bochy said Wednesday. 

That’s part of the reason Bochy is completely on board with a new rule stating that managers only have to signal for an intentional walk. The elimination of the four pitches has been approved by MLB and the MLBPA, with the caveat that a manager can change his mind in the middle of the plate appearance. 

“I’m fine with it,” Bochy said. “I know a few pitchers are happy because they kind of have a thing about throwing (those pitches), not on our team, but last year it happened to us and we didn’t go. I’m fine with it.”

It’s rare that an intentional ball would go to the backstop, but the Giants experienced it last year against the Yankees. Dellin Betances threw wide as he tried to put Brandon Crawford on and Angel Pagan didn’t react quickly enough to score from third. 

Bochy met with league officials last week to go over some of the new rules and ideas, and he said he wants MLB to keep pushing to cut the time of games. 

“We talk about it so much but we really haven’t done a lot,” Bochy said. “I’m all for (limiting mound visits). I’m all for it, I am. It’s gotten more and more popular in the game. It used to be the catcher, and now it’s the catcher and infielders, and they go to the mound and come back and then the pitching coach goes out there.”

EXHIBITION SCHEDULE: Bochy said Madison Bumgarner is currently slated to start Friday’s Cactus League opener, with Matt Cain also throwing an inning. Ty Blach will start Saturday, Matt Moore and Tyler Beede will pitch Sunday, and Jeff Samardzija will start Monday. It’s possible that 18 or 20 different pitchers will take the mound over the first two days since almost all of them will be scheduled for just three outs. With the exception of Will Smith, every projected Giant should see the field this weekend. Hunter Pence is the only guy who has been held back at all, but his intercostal issue has cleared up. Pence put several on the left-field berm during BP on Wednesday.

“Hunter wants to (play Friday). He's ready to go,” Bochy said. “I’ll make that call tomorrow once I talk to the staff, but Hunter assured me he’s a full go with no limitations, and he really wants to play.”

PROSPECT WATCH: Bochy took the van over to the minor league facility to watch some of the projected Triple-A players take part in live BP. Jae-gyun Hwang hit a homer off Jose Dominguez during his session. 

“He’s a guy that rotates (well) and he’s got good power,” Bochy said. “He can go the other way. He’s got some bat control. He’s got a nice swing.”

Over on the main field, Gorkys Hernandez hit an impressive homer to left-center. 

ICYMI: From this morning, Smith is being held out of workouts. Reporters spoke to him in the afternoon and he said there’s no concern. Also, here’s a podcast with Derek Law and Josh Osich. Subscribe on iTunes if you haven’t … there’s a very popular Giant coming soon.

QUOTABLE: Smith missed time last season because he tore a knee ligament while taking his shoe off, so this spring’s speed bump is somewhat easier to take. He had a message for the trainers: “I said I’m going to sit down every day this spring,” when I take my shoes off.