Urban: The Giants just aren't very good


Urban: The Giants just aren't very good

Aug. 29, 2011


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Mychael Urban

SAN FRANCISCO -- Did we just see the title defense come to an unofficial end? Sure felt like it.The Giants entered Monday with 28 games left on the schedule, the first three coming against the visiting Cubs, one of the worst road teams in the game. That distinction, of course, means very little at this point, because the Astros came into last weekend's four-game series at AT&T Park with the distinction of being the worst team in the game, period, and we all know how that worked out.The teams split the four games, but if you were unfortunate enough to have watched the entire mind-numbing series, you'd have sworn the Astros won seven of nine, each of them by a score of 2-1 in 14 innings.
RECAP: Rock bottom? Cubs shut out Giants 7-0
So you knew not to take the Cubs lightly. The Giants knew not to take the Cubs lightly. And there's no way on earth that they did. The 7-0 loss the defending world champs suffered was a product not of disengagement or lack of effort, but rather the product of not being a very good baseball team. That's the cold, hard truth.Let's all say it together: The Giants just aren't very good.Blame it on the difficulty that is repeating. There's a reason it almost never happens -- it's damn hard.Blame it on Brian Sabean if that's what floats your boat. You'll get an argument from this corner that related directly to the injuries and the difficulty of repeating, but chances are you're so steaming mad about Monday's mess that you wouldn't hear the argument anyway, so knock yourself out.It doesn't even really matter who or what you blame it on. But you might as well accept it as fact.Let's all say it again: The Giants just aren't very good.
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Slumping? No. Slumps even out over six months. Slumps even out over three months. Four at the most. Five? That's not a slump. That's simply being what you are, and do we need to say it again?No, we don't.What we do need to say, for the first time all year, is that this is a team prepping for the administration of last rites.Sure, you can point to those six remaining games against the Diamondbacks. But Arizona won again on Monday to take a five-game lead in the National League West with 27 games to go, and the math is so clearly in the Snakes' favor that even the eternal optimist who produces this piece has to concede that catching them will be as difficult as, well, as catching a rattler with your teeth.The odds aren't impossible, but they're certainly getting there. The Giants desperately needed to sweep the Cubs here, and now they won't.And they won't have their best pitcher, Tim Lincecum, to help them get either of the next two desperately needed games of the series, either.Lincecum looked as beaten as anyone as he walked off the mound in the seventh inning Monday, having allowed three home runs for the first time in his career, a picture of abject frustration.You could almost see the cartoon thought bubble hovering over his hung head."We're just not very good."

Report: JaVale McGee will re-sign with Warriors


Report: JaVale McGee will re-sign with Warriors

JaVale McGee isn't going anywhere.

McGee will re-sign with the Warriors, according to ESPN's Chris Haynes.

Golden State could only offer the big man the minimum of $2.1 million.

In 77 games (10 starts) with the Warriors last season, he averaged 6.1 points and 3.2 rebounds.

More to come...

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Gold Cup roundup: Five takeaways from USMNT's championship win


Gold Cup roundup: Five takeaways from USMNT's championship win

For the sixth time in Gold Cup tournament history, the United States hoisted the championship trophy – this time in front of 63,000 fans Wednesday night at Levi’s Stadium.
Jozy Altidore opened the scoring in the 45th minute with a beautiful free kick. However, Jamaica equalized only five minutes into the second half.
Stanford product Jordan Morris later scored the game-winner in the 88th minute to secure a U.S. title. 
Here are five things you should know about the U.S.’ latest tournament championship.
-- Aside from a little extra gold in the trophy case, the biggest thing the United States takes from winning the cup is confidence. They’ll have about a month worth of rest before the Hexagon resumes – and right out of the gate, it’s a date with Costa Rica, who the U.S. beat on their road to the tournament title.
Currently, Costa Rica sits three points clear of the U.S. in the CONCACAF’s 2018 World Cup qualifying table. A victory against Los Ticos on Sept. 1 would be the biggest win of this latest Bruce Arena era.
-- Speaking of Bruce Arena, it can’t be understated just how big of tournament win this is for the U.S. Soccer manager. Hired to jumpstart a team that to many pundits looked flat and lacked fire under Jurgen Klismann, Arena has now won a trophy, helped the USMNT get back into Hex contention and has not lost a match. In 15 matches, Arena has a 9-0-6 record. He now has 84 career wins as the USMNT front man.
-- We’re still on record breaker watch since Clint Dempsey did not start or play in Wednesday’s final. The Seattle Sounders, who recently took down the San Jose Earthquakes to move ahead of them in the standings and are Dempsey’s club of employment, play their next MLS fixture on Saturday. The risk of shot rest could explain Bruce Arena’s apprehension to not start Dempsey. He came in during the 57th minute. Captain America came really close to scoring twice. 
So, the record, shared by Dempsey and Landon Donovan at 57 international goals, will sit there for at least another match.
-- Quick look at the numbers and there isn’t a clear contender for the U.S. Player of the Gold Cup. So after stumbles against Panama and Martinique to start the tournament, what was most impressive is how the U.S. defense came together to close out the Gold Cup. In five games, they surrendered just one goal. So, hats off to Omar Gonzalez, Graham Zusi, Matt Besler and Jorge Villafaña who were instrumental during that stretch – but let us not forget Matt Hedges, Eric Lichaj and Justin Morrow who really got that impressive defensive stretch rolling.
-- Morris had been struggling to score all season but he may have now forced Arena’s hand with his Gold Cup performance. While he did get beat on defense on Jamaica’s goal, the search for a scoring defender by the USMNT as qualifiers creeps up is ongoing. Morris, who burst onto the MLS scene last season, is making a strong case for himself.