Urban Blog: Arizona vs. Giants In-Game


Urban Blog: Arizona vs. Giants In-Game


UPDATED: 3:09 P.M.
Casilla, Romo Have Come a Long WaySAN FRANCISCO -- Santiago Casilla made a handful of appearances with the As in 2004, 2005 and 2006, then became a regular member of the Oakland bullpen for the next three years.The As gave up on him after last year, though, because he was a bit of a circus. You could trust him only so much, and if you trusted him to pitch in high-pressure situations, you likely would end up wondering how a guy with stuff that good could be that vulnerable.Ditto Sergio Romo, earlier this season. He has a slider that often defies physics, but in the first couple of months of the season his generally good work out of the Giants bullpen was obscured by a handful of high-profile failures.Sorry for bringing Manny Ramirez into this, but it serves to prove a point. The point is, Casilla and Romo are now two of the most trusted members of the pitching staff.Giants manager Bruce Bochy turned to Casilla today in the sixth inning, and he responded with two hitless, scoreless innings. Thereafter came Romo, who worked his way through the eighth in perfect style, striking out two of the three plugs he faced.Casilla walked off the mound after his second inning with the stoicism of Ben Stein. Romo punctuated his outing by bouncing off the mound and slapping his glove, getting the fired-up crowd further enflamed. Different ways to skin a cat, but the same paths into the hearts of Giants fans.UPDATED: 2:39 P.M.
Love Buster, Hate the Song
Its impossible not to dig Buster Posey. Hes just a good kid, and it pains me to no end to call him a kid because it reminds me that Im no longer even close to being a kid, and therefore totally irrelevant and old and the guy that hot young chicks mock after I innocently say hello to them in a grocery store.Whoa. Where were we? Oh yeah. Buster Posey.He just hit a bomb. A comic-book bomb. A how-can-you-not-vote-for-me-as-your-rookie-of-the-year bomb.Amazing player. Amazing kid. Level-headed, humble, gifted to the point of wondering why whatever forces dictate such things dont share the wealth a little more evenly.But can we please lose the song?You know the song. Who you gonna call? Ghost Busters!Were San Francisco, people. We have class. We have style. We dont rip off Harold Ramis in the name of honoring our stud ballplayers. Buster Posey? Love him. Love that he knocks balls out of the yard. Ghost Busters? Knock it off.
UPDATED: 2:17 P.M.
Torres Story Just Keeps Getting Better
Hey, forget about the ADD or ADHD or whatever it is that afflicts Andres Torrres medically. Even without that, hes a ridiculously good story, and it just got better when he homered to snap a 1-1 tie.I can dismiss the ADDADHD angle because I have ADHD, too. Its difficult, its a challenge, its not fun, its embarrassing at times. But its not something that stops you from living a normal life. I dont even take medication anymore; I make lists that help me keep my life on track.But this isnt about me. Its not about learning disabilities or chemical imbalances. Its about Torres. Its about a 30-something journeyman emerging as a key figure on a playoff team -- and yeah, I said it. The Giants are a playoff team. If they arent, I promise to eat six night-crawlers on the Public House patio, on camera, on Oct. 4. Theyre a playoff team in part because of Torres, who just electrified the crowd here with his 16th homer of the year. Think about it. Hes hit 16 homers. Thats three more than Pandoval!And whos more popular? Torres. Deservedly so.
UPDATED: 1:52 P.M.
Slip Slidin' Through Danger
MadisonBumgarner is trying to secure the first home victory of his career today, andit goes without saying that today would be a fine day to get er done.(Then why, if itgoes without saying, did I just say it? I didnt. I wrote it. Big difference.)Anyway, he justgave up the tying run, but if recent form holds, were but a Pat Burrell orJuan Uribe or Buster Posey home run away from the Giants reclaiming the leadand getting young Madison his long-lost first W at AT&T.If that happens,itll be because Bumgarner is throwing one of the dirtiest sliders Ive ever seen.There is aslurve slider, and there is a hard slider. The slurve is a little slower andloopier. The hard slider bites hard. What Bumgarner is featuring today is alittle bit of both.It loops hard,if that makes sense. Even if it doesnt to you, the important thing is that isdoesnt to the Diamondbacks, either. They look like one-legged pelicans withvision issues trying to catch flying fish right now. UPDATED: 1:38 P.M.
I wrote thismorning about Arizona starter Barry Enrights reluctance to pitch inside.Pablo Sandovaljust showed everyone why Mr. Enright doesnt like to go there.Enright tried tosneak a high fastball past the Panda, and the Panda pounced.A good 400-plusfeet later, the ball landed in McCovey Cove, and the standing-room-only crowd atAT&T Park went absolutely nuts. Fans have beenwaiting for six months for such a moment from the Round Mound of Very LittleSound, and they took the opportunity to get extremely loud. By the way,doesnt the name Barry Enright sound like the name of someone who grew upprivileged, in a silver-spoon type of way? Perhaps somewhere in the Hamptons,where he attended a super-exclusive private school that requires sweater vestsand extra-curricular activities such as rare-coin collecting?
And after that hewent to Brown, despite having crappy grades, because his Mummy used to date theheadmaster or something, and then he landed a role on General Hospital?Barry EnrightIII, Esq. Yeah, that sounds about right.
UPDATED: 1:22 P.M.
Huff's Dig Emblematic of Unexpected Giants "D"
Remember whenAubrey Huff dropped the very first ball thrown to him this spring? Remember howthat served as the jumping-off point to a lengthy discussion about how porousthe defense would be?Now look atHuff. He just dug a throw out of the dirt (low toss from Pablo Sandoval) to end the top of the second inning,and it should serve as the jumping-off point to a lengthy discussion about howgood the Giants defense has been this year.Im not sayingtheyre going to win multiple Gold Gloves. Fact is, they arent going to winany. But between Huff at first base, Freddy Sanchez at second, Andres Torres incenter field and Buster Posey behind the plate, theyve got four above-averagedefenders.Thats four morethan anyone expected.
UPDATED: 1:11 P.M.
Latest Rotation Change Fuels Pressbox Buzz
As Madison Bumgarner rolled through the first inning here, the pressboxremained abuzz over the Giants latest rotation change.Matt Cains beenmoved up to Friday, with Barry Zito bumped back to Saturday.If the Giantswin today, Fridays game is a potential clincher, so its understandable thatCain would be tabbed for that start. But part of the buzz is that the Giantsare putting all their eggs in the Friday basket.Bruce Bochy sayshes making the move to keep Cain on regular rest -- four days. But Cain hasbeen pitching on five days of rest lately because of all the Mondays off. The unspoken, ofcourse, is that Bochy doesnt trust Zito with Fridays game. But lets sayCain carves. He does that a lot. He has his whole career, and particularly thismonth. But hes also lost a ton of games in which hes carved, for one reasonor another.So lets sayCain carves and still loses. Now Saturday is by far the biggest game of theyear. Is anyone entirely comfortable with Zito making that start?And as good asJonathan Sanchez has been, lets say Zito loses Saturday. Sanchez, as we allknow, can be a bit of a mixed bag emotionally. Why not keepZito on the five days of rest on which hes been working recently and let himtake the rock Friday? If he loses, Cain is pitching the biggest game of theyear. Is that not more attractive?Maybe not.Obviously not to the Giants.Good thing theyhave Lincecum, on regular rest, ready for Monday. This could get dicey. --MychaelUrban

San Jose Sharks fans may have just witnessed the end of an era

San Jose Sharks fans may have just witnessed the end of an era

Melodrama demands that San Jose’s exit from the Stanley Cup playoffs be portrayed as the very likely end of the Joe Thornton/Patrick Marleau Era.

It probably won’t work that way, and probably shouldn't as will be explained further down your reading, but when you get shoved out of the postseason in your own building, melancholy is the order of the day. Even if the melancholy isn’t for any player in particular, but for an entire era.

Nobody will blame Saturday’s 3-1 loss in Game 6 of the Western Conference quarterfinal on bad luck (although Joe Pavelski going crossbar/post on the final power play of their season was close enough to it), or unjust officiating, or even lousy ice (though that was a fairly clear by-product for those who like their hockey a little less sticky). Edmonton took advantage of two critical Sharks errors 56 seconds apart in the second period, Oiler goaltender Cam Talbot cheated the gods multiple times when the Sharks weren’t vomiting up chances on their own, and young legs joined up with growing know-how to make this a just outcome.

But for Thornton and Marleau, a quick round of 30-on-1 interviews asking them if they thought their days in Finville Heights had finally come to an end were their mutual introduction to yet another unfulfilling offseason.

And a team whose core is among the league’s oldest was just exposed for that very flaw by a team that, in head coach Todd McLellan’s words, “Grew up, learned how to get into the playoffs, how to get a lead, how to play with it, and how to deal with a desperate team at the end of a game. Now we’ll see what they have to learn next.”

That learning will comes against the Anaheim Ducks, who are 15-0-3 in their last 18 games, including four straight against the Calgary Flames.

As for the rest of it, Edmonton earned its advancement without a big series, or even a single big game, from Connor McDavid. Rather, their difference makers were Talbot, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (whose work with Jordan Eberle and Milan Lucic against the Marleau-Thornton-Pavelski line was the defining matchup) Leon Draisaitl (after a rocky start), Oskar Klefbom (their best defenseman), Zack Kassian (who made the most of his 15 minutes of fame), and Drake Caggiula (whose promotion to the McDavid line at the expense of Patrick Maroon helped wake up Draisaitl).

Plus, McLellan finally got to deliver a rebuttal for his firing by the Sharks two years ago. He didn’t, of course, at least not where anyone could hear it, but the exploding fumigant of the 2015 season never sat right with him as the one who paid the full retail price. Now, with this result, he can let the NHL’s Stanley Cup media guide do the talking for him.

That, and having the team of the future, while San Jose is trying to sort out its past. This is a closing window, one which stayed open a very long time and actually pried itself back open a year ago for the run that took them to the Cup final, but it is now clear that they play at a pace the modern game has outrun. Thornton is still hugely important (he remained an impact player despite the leg injury that cost him Games 1 and 2), and there are no clear young replacements for the central group.

This is why all the melodramatic speculations about Thornton and Marleau in particular and perhaps the entire era ignore one central truth – there are not nearly enough replacements for a reboot, or even a course correction. They may be stuck as what they are – a group whose veterans are still their best players, playing a game that younger and faster players are likely to do better. The Pacific Division, being easily the thinnest of the four, may allow one more year of status quo, but while the day of reckoning has not yet arrived, the method is now clear.

And Edmonton, young, impetuous, sprightly and McLellanized Edmonton, has been the instrument of San Jose’s education.

Steph Curry keeps game ball for Steve Kerr after he misses Game 3

Steph Curry keeps game ball for Steve Kerr after he misses Game 3

While head coach Steve Kerr was unable to make Saturday's Game 3 due to an illness, the Warriors went out and took a 3-0 series lead over the Blazers. 

After the game, Steph Curry dedicated the win to Kerr by keeping the game ball for him. 

"Our coach is going through a lot right now physically and he told us this morning this is a situation where we need to rally and go out and win a game for him, but we felt like that," Curry said after the Warriors' 119-113 win. "The way that game had gone on we had to fight and do it for him. 

"The way that he said it was we had to win one for The Gipper, so shout out to coach Kerr." 

Curry led the Warriors with 34 points in Saturday's win.