Oct. 20, 2010
GIANTS PAGE GIANTS VIDEOMychael UrbanCSNBayArea.com
UPDATED: 7:32 p.m.
SAN FRANCISCO -- Whoa.Id have posted this update a few minutes earlier, but AT&T Park was shaking so hard I couldnt pin down my keyboard.When Pablo Sandoval shrugged off what appeared to be a very big and badcall against him by tagging a two-run double in the bottom of the sixthinning, it capped the greatest single mini-drama of an at-bat Ive seenin a long, long time.With runners at second and third with nobody out thanks to duh CodyRoss, the beleaguered Panda pulled a ball down the right-field linethat appeared to catch paint. It was immediately ruled foul, drawing ahowl of protest from Sandoval and an angry sprint out of the dugoutfrom Giants manager Bruce Bochy.Its not a reviewable call, though (yet), so it stood, and the sellout crowd roared its displeasure. Moments later, Sandoval sent a pitch roaring into the arcade aboveMcCovey Cove way foul this time with a look of utter disdain on hisface before bitterly swatting his bat with his hand.The man was not going to be denied. You could see it on his face. Thiswas not the cuddly, infectiously happy Kung Fu Panda. This was an angryand determined Panda, ready to kick some serious ass.And he did, drilling a high fastball into the left-center gap to givethe Giants a 5-4 lead, and as he pulled into second base he imploredthe ape-nuts crowd to go full-throat gorilla, lifting them upfiguratively if not nearly literally with both arms, up and down once,twice, three times with feeling.And up the crowd went. And went. And the Giants giddy dugout of grown men went with them.Just a phenomenal moment. For Sandoval, for Giants players, for Giants fans.And dont think there werent some wide-eyes folks from Philly in thispress box shaking their heads in awe, trying their best to conceal thatyes, it was a pretty phenomenal moment -- at least to witness -- forthem, too.
UPDATED: 7:10 p.m.
SANFRANCISCO -- Was the result of the Madison Bumgarner-v-Joe Blantonmatchup the same, or the opposite, of what came out of Tim Lincecum v.Roy Halladay?In terms of hype, pretty dissimilar. Lincecum-Halladay is the Policeheadlining in their prime; Bumgarner-Blanton is Oingo Boingo headliningcounty fairs on the way down from the middle of the musical mountain.But unlike Lincecum vs. Halladay, which was nice but not nearly asnuclear as wed been led to believe, Bumgarner-Blanton came pretty closeto living up to the advance billing. Or did they live down to it?Tomayto, tohmahto.In failing, both, to get out of fifth inning, both looked very much like the No. 4 starters they are.
NASHVILLE – Apparently, one wake up call wasn’t good enough for the plummeting San Jose Sharks.
Just one day after suffering what was arguably their worst game under coach Pete DeBoer, Nashville put up a touchdown on the Sharks in a 7-2 win, giving San Jose its sixth straight defeat – all in regulation.
After getting outscored 13-3 the last two nights, including Friday’s 6-1 loss in Dallas, where do they go from here?
“In two years, last year and this year so far, we haven’t had one night like this almost. Now we have back-to-back nights,” Joe Pavelski said. “I think it’s just a reality check. A gut-check time.
“It’s on us as players. Bottom line is we haven’t put the effort in that we need to have right now, and it snowballed on us a little bit at times. I think we’ve got to take a deep breath and really take a look in the mirror, refocus a little bit and understand there’s hockey out there, but it’s not going to fix itself.”
What has to be fixed immediately is the defensive structure that has been so vital to the Sharks’ success in the Pete DeBoer era. Even when the club was going through stretches of struggling to score, as it was earlier in the season, it was still collecting points in the standings with its ability to limit the opposition’s scoring chances.
While the game against the Predators was actually a little better in that regard, believe it or not, it was still nowhere near the level it needs to be for the postseason. Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s absence was partly to blame for that, but the Brent Burns-Paul Martin pair has been a disaster lately. Both have a minus-nine rating during the six-game losing streak, and that number is indicative of how they’ve looked, too.
“We’re giving up some goals. It’s a combination of things,” DeBoer said. “Obviously it’s not good enough to win games, so we’ve got to figure it out. I don’t have an answer standing here for you, but I know our group. Every team I’ve ever coached has a tough part of the season. This is obviously ours. We’ll regroup, and figure it out.”
Burns, who admitted to a “bad read” on Nashville’s second goal when Roman Josi sped around him, said: “It’s a tough league when you’re not executing little things.”
The Sharks actually looked strong early, poised to put the Dallas disaster behind them. The first few shifts, they had the puck in the Nashville end.
But Tomas Hertl was outmuscled behind the net by Colin Wilson on Colton Sissons’ goal at 4:14, Burns got beat on the second, and the Sharks never recovered. Patrick Marleau’s second period power play goal offered life, but that was extinguished 24 seconds later when James Neal answered with a power play goal of his own. The Sharks never got closer than two goals after that.
“When things are going bad, those are the things that are happening,” Burns said of Neal’s response to Marleau’s marker. “So, you’ve just got work through it."
Will they be able to work through it with just seven games left in the regular season, though? That this cold spell is happening in late March doesn’t speak well to the Sharks’ chances in the postseason, which begins in just two-and-a-half weeks.
Burns said: “Right now we should be just tightening up everything. … We've got figure it out pretty soon.”
NASHVILLE – Sharks forward Micheal Haley could be in line for supplemental discipline from the league, after earning a match penalty in the third period of Saturday’s 7-2 loss in Nashville.
After absorbing a borderline hit from behind by Calle Jarnkrok, Haley tracked down the Predators forward and promptly delivered a left jab to Jarnkrok’s face at 12:56 of the final frame, with the Sharks trailing 5-2 at the time.
Naturally, there were differing opinions from the two head coaches on the play.
Pete DeBoer said: “When you run someone from behind in a game like that, you probably deserve to get a punch in the mouth.”
Predators coach Peter Laviolette told reporters: "It's an ugly play. This isn't the wild, wild west. I mean, Calle hit him. We took a penalty. If we start doing that, we're in trouble, so hopefully it gets looked at."
Any player who earns a match penalty "shall be automatically suspended from further competition until the commissioner has ruled on the issue,” according to league rules.
In 54 games this season, Haley has two goals and nine assists for 11 points. His 110 penalty minutes is fifth in the league.
Jarnkrok did not return after the punch, but told reporters after the game he felt “OK.”
"I feel pretty good," Jarnkrok said. "Obviously, I saw him coming. There were a couple other guys coming, too. I didn't really know what to do. He got in a good punch on me.”