Urban: World Series Live Blog, Game 3


Urban: World Series Live Blog, Game 3

Oct. 30, 2010
UPDATED: 6:25 P.M.
Mychael UrbanCSNBayArea.com

ARLINGTON,Tx. -- Expect some more lineup changes for the Giants on Sunday, and dont be shocked if one of them has Pat Burrell on the bench.Burrell hasnt had an impact game since the Division Series, and he was particularly bad on Saturday, striking out all three times he faced Rangers starter Colby Lewis.Hes uppercutting like he gets paid for the height of what he hits, and hes not hitting anything, anyway.Hes also something of a defensive liability, so if hes not hitting, hes essentially useless to the Giants.
Who plays left? Texas starter Sunday is right-hander Tommy Hunter, so perhaps Giants manager Bruce Bochy gives lefty-swinging Nate Schierholtz his first postseason start, in right field, and moves Cody Ross over to left.Its not ideal, but at the very least it improves the defense.

UPDATED: 4:40 P.M.

Mitch Moreland just hit the first Rangers homer of the World Series, pounding the ninth pitch he saw from Jonathan Sanchez into the right-field bleachers for a 3-0 lead.Had certain scouts gotten their wish, it never would have happened.Some people in the Rangers organization, Im told, wanted Moreland to convert from first baseman to pitcher. He even made an appearance in a Minor League game and hit 93 on the gun.But he fought the idea, and rose from third on the depth chart at first base when the season started to, for the moment, World Series hero.Just goes to show that even paid experts swing and miss sometimes. The Rangers, by the way, arent swinging and missing much against Sanchez, whos giving up a lot of loud contact through the first three innings. He might not be long for this one.

UPDATED: 3:45 P.M.
Having covered the As as a traveling beat writer for a decade,Ive been here in this part of the Lone Star State at least 20times over the years.Finally, a playoff city other than San Francisco where I dont feel lost.When the Division Series was in Atlanta, it took me 25 minutes to find my way out of Turner Field late one night after a game. When the Championship Series was in Philadelphia, a friendcolleague ofmine got lost looking for a 7-11 late one night and we didnt rightourselves until wed been aimlessly walking on the fringes of downtownfor a good 40 minutes. None of thats going to happen here, no sir-eee. Im intimately familiar with Arlington, Rangers Ballpark and even Rangers fans.Or so I thought. When I came here to cover the As, I stayed at a hotel within walkingdistance of the yard. Our postgame wind-down was always at one of threeor four spots, also close to the yard. And the fans were a lot like Asfans; not too many of them, but smart and passionate and generally nice.Now Im staying in a different hotel and quickly discovering that thoseexperiences while following the As were atypical Arlington.The typical Arlington experience is a series of 15-minute cab rides, nomatter where you want to go. Its a funky, spread-way-out township inwhich everything is, according to anyone you ask,about 15 minutes away. Waffle House? Fifteen minutes away. A good hole-in-the-wall BBQ joint?Fifteen minutes away. Walmart? Fifteen minutes away. Mellow place tograb a pop? Fifteen minutes away.The ballpark? You got it. Fifteen minutes away from the hotel.The ride in to the park today was an eye-opener, too. The closer wegot, the redder it got. Blue is one of the Rangers colors, too, butpeople seem to like the red better. Its a bigger color, and they dothings big here.Theyre doing the World Series big, too. At least the Rangersbandwagon is big. For the final couple of miles before we reached theparking lot, all we saw were tailgate parties. It was like a festival.It was a festival.The parking lots were ridiculously packed, and apparently the townshipof Arlingtons law against the sale of liquor in stores doesnt stopanyone now on the Rangers bandwagon. I saw fewer drunks back when Idhit Pioneer Days in Chico State as a college kid.As I pulled my orange-tinted tie out of my backpack once we parked, Iimmediately heard a challenge to mine and the Giants masculinity. Asleast I think thats what I heard. The dude who said it was so hammeredhe sounded like he had piping-hot marbles in his mouth.I couldnt get into the park fast enough, lest things get uglier still. It was a long walk, though.About 15 minutes, in fact.

Vogt's defensive cameo comes straight out of left field

Vogt's defensive cameo comes straight out of left field

OAKLAND — Stephen Vogt made an unexpected appearance in left field Wednesday night, and his performance got approval from a pretty good outfield authority.

Former A’s teammate Josh Reddick was watching from the Houston Astros’ dugout and thought the catcher-by-trade handled himself very well.

“I was talking to (Houston manager) A.J. (Hinch) and I said, ‘It’s gonna be interesting because you know at least one ball’s gonna get to him,’” Reddick said. “You start laughing because four of the five that were hit that inning were hit to him.”

With the A’s bench short-handed, manager Bob Melvin sent Vogt to left after he pinch-hit for Rajai Davis, and indeed Vogt got a workout throughout the top of the eighth. That added a bit of levity to a 5-1 loss that otherwise provided the A’s very little to cheer about.

They were bottled up by Astros right-hander Mike Fiers and four relievers as the Astros won their ninth in a row at the Coliseum and their third straight in this four-game series. A’s starter Sean Manaea was rolling through five scoreless innings before Houston blitzed him for three runs in the sixth. The Astros tacked on a couple more late runs against Oakland’s bullpen and that was enough on a night the A’s mustered just four hits total.

After Vogt delivered an RBI groundout that scored the A’s only run in the seventh, Melvin wanted to keep Vogt’s left-handed bat in the lineup, so he asked the veteran catcher if he could handle left.

“I said yeah, absolutely,” Vogt said.

It’s easy to forget that Vogt came up through the Tampa Bay Rays’ system playing a lot of outfield, and he played more than a dozen games in the outfield in 2014 for the A’s, mostly in right.

He sure got tested. The Astros’ first four hitters of the eighth all hit balls in Vogt’s direction. He got a routine fly from Brian McCann, a difficult low liner off the bat of Yuli Gurriel that he smothered for a single, a double from Alex Bregman that he did a good job cutting off and a sacrifice fly to the warning track from Jake Marisnick.

“I had the adrenaline shot run up and I was loose and ready to go,” Vogt said. “Obviously I was a little more focused than probably your average outfielder out there. I’m glad the first one came to me, otherwise I would have been sweatin’ it for a while.”

Vogt has lost time recently behind the plate against right-handers to Josh Phegley, who has done an effective job controlling the running game. And though you shouldn’t by any means expect to see Melvin running Vogt to the outfield often, you also shouldn’t assume it won’t happen at all.

At some point, the A’s figure to call up catcher Bruce Maxwell as part of the crop of young players they’re trying to give more time too. If the left-handed hitting Maxwell were to share catching duties with Phegley, and if the A’s were to trade Yonder Alonso (again, we’re talking ‘ifs’ here), it’s conceivable Vogt’s left-handed bat could be put to use at spots other than catcher, perhaps at first base or, in a pinch, even the outfield.

His old teammate thinks he could pull it off.

“I remember him playing in right in ’14 when I was (injured),” Reddick said. “He did a pretty good job out there, it’s not like he’s foreign to it. He knows what he’s doing.”

No need for Warriors fans to fret over NBA's projected lower salary cap

No need for Warriors fans to fret over NBA's projected lower salary cap

There is no need for the Warriors fan to grow anxious with the news Wednesday night that the NBA salary cap and luxury tax threshold will be roughly two percent lower than initially projected.

For one, those players committed to returning are not likely to change their minds.

For two, the cap/tax figures also will influence other teams that might target members of the Warriors, such as Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.

Even with the lower numbers, reported by multiple outlets, Kevin Durant remains in line for a raise from the $26.5 million he made last season, and he already has made clear his intentions to accept less than the $31.8 million the Warriors could’ve paid him.

With the cap expected to be about $99 million instead of the roughly $101 million originally forecast, that figure falls between $30 million and $31 million.

Durant’s willingness to be flexible -- designed to help the team in its attempts to retain Iguodala and maybe Livingston -- remains the most significant factor for the Warriors as they proceed. Even if Durant takes 10 percent less than, say, $31 million, he still would get a modest increase.

Stephen Curry, who also has announced his intention to re-sign with the Warriors, still could receive about $35 million in Year 1 of a five-year contract worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 million.

When the numbers are that astronomical, losing a small percentage is not such a crucial factor.

The Warriors surely knew the cap/tax figures would take a hit. Both figures are impacted by revenue generated through the playoffs, which featured only 79 of a possible 105 games.

Only two series -- Jazz-Clippers and Celtics-Wizards -- went the full seven games and eight of the 15 series ended in five or fewer games, including five sweeps.

The Warriors accounted for three of those sweeps.