Vogelsong, Zito set to start twin bill at Wrigley


Vogelsong, Zito set to start twin bill at Wrigley

June 27, 2011
GIANTS (44-34) vs.CUBS (32-46)Coverage starts at 10:30 a.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
(AP) -- If not for the stellar pitching of Ryan Vogelsong, the San Francisco Giants might not be atop the NL West.If not for an injury to Barry Zito in mid-April, Vogelsong might not be a part of the starting rotation.Vogelsong looks to continue his dominance while Zito will make his first start in 2 12 months in Tuesday's day-night doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.Zito (0-1, 6.23 ERA), who will start the nightcap, opened this season as the No. 4 starter but only took the ball three times. He left his start against Arizona on April 16 with a right foot sprain and was put on the disabled list for the first time in his career.Zito's trip to the DL opened the door for Vogelsong (5-1, 1.86), and the journeyman right-hander has taken full advantage of his opportunity.Vogelsong has yielded two runs or fewer in 10 of 11 starts and has a major league-best 1.23 ERA since May 8. He allowed a run, four hits and a walk in seven innings of a 5-1 victory against Minnesota on Wednesday.Vogelsong, who made his major league debut in 2000, played in Japan from 2007-09 and was in the minors last season, is now receiving strong consideration for a spot on the NL All-Star team."We have some time here, and I don't want to get ahead of ourselves," manager Bruce Bochy told the Giants' official website. "This guy's pitched great. That's how well he's thrown, to have his name mentioned."The Cubs are fully aware of how well Vogelsong has pitched.Vogelsong allowed seven hits and struck out seven in a rain-shortened, 3-0 complete-game win at Wrigley on May 14. The game was called in the seventh inning.It also rained the following day, and the opener of the doubleheader is a makeup from that postponement.San Francisco (44-34) arrives in Chicago riding a five-game winning streak after dropping a season-high five in a row.The Giants capped a sweep of Cleveland with a 3-1 win Sunday, as Aubrey Huff drove in his team-leading 39th run. San Francisco, last in the majors with 265 runs, is 19-5 when Huff has an RBI.The Cubs (32-46) are coming off a 7-3 win over Colorado on Monday, a makeup of an April 27 rainout.Carlos Pena and Aramis Ramirez each homered twice as Chicago, 11 12 games out in the NL Central, won for the third time in nine contests.Although the Cubs are struggling, Vogelsong and Zito will have to be careful pitching to Pena and Ramirez.Pena leads Chicago with 16 homers and has gone deep seven times in the last 11 games. He is batting .316 with two home runs in 19 at-bats against Zito but hasn't faced the left-hander since 2006.Ramirez has hit six of his eight homers in the last 19 games and is 8 for 16 in his last four."I'm more comfortable," Ramirez said. "I'm driving the ball more."Ramirez is 5 for 12 with two homers against Vogelsong and 4 for 10 with a homer and double versus Zito.Zito is 1-3 with a 4.84 ERA in six starts against Chicago.The Cubs will send Doug Davis (1-6, 5.01) to the mound in the opener and Rodrigo Lopez (0-1, 6.59) will take the ball in the second game.Davis gave up four runs and eight hits in five innings in Wednesday's 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox, as the Cubs fell to 1-7 in the left-hander's starts.Davis made his Cubs debut opposing Vogelsong last month, allowing three runs and four hits in five innings.Lopez has worked primarily out of the bullpen for Chicago. In his lone start against Houston on May 30, the right-hander permitted six runs and 10 hits over 4 2-3 innings but did not receive a decision in a 12-7 loss.He is 0-3 with a 6.97 ERA in six starts against the Giants.

GMs have taken all the fun out of Trade Deadline day


GMs have taken all the fun out of Trade Deadline day

The NHL trade deadline came and went Monday night when the Washington Capitals went chips-in on St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.

(For the record, the actual details of the trade are so absurdly complicated that all you will be permitted to know here is that the Caps got Shattenkirk).

But the fact is that, yet again, all the air rushed out of Wednesday’s trade deadline balloon for the hockey media, and the poor sods on set to babysit all the deal-lets and non-deals will weep bitterly as their phones spit out hour after hour of non-information.

At least that’s the way it is playing now. Maybe Pittsburgh will finally close that long-rumored (well, by me, anyway) Sidney Crosby-for-Phil Di Giuseppe deal, but that’s not the way to bet.

But the trade deadline has been slowly but surely dying as general managers find far greater advantage in making their deals away from the time crunch and the persistent phone calls from other general manager, agents and worst of all, media weasels.

For example, the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans broke the NBA trade deadline as well as the All-Star Game by doing the DeMarcus Cousins deal four days early and midway through the first half, in that order.

And though this wasn’t actually a trade, the Golden State Warriors broke the market back in July by maneuvering their way for the prize of the summer – Zaza Pachulia.

Oh, and the other guy.

In short, the general managers seem to have figured out the simplest way to foil the pressures of the trade deadline – by ignoring the deadline and acting ahead of time, creating their own spoiler alerts by spoiling everyone’s fun before they were fully alerted.

And that leaves the rest of us faced with an empty day of blather after we’ve all gone to the trouble of doubling down on beer and chips.

Ultimately the idea behind the coverage of a trade is to break the news of the trade whenever it happens. And the idea of the trade from the general manager’s view is to better the team and minimize the chance of being fired.

All laudable goals, by and large.

But a trade deadline without some recognizable trades is just another day when you can’t fake working, and who needs that?

What’s needed here then is a trade deadline with teeth and real tangible punishments for everyone involved. I mean, we have chips and guacamole to think of.

For instance, there is no reason why the leagues couldn’t install rules that say that no trade can be announced even to any of the principals (players, agents, medioids, et. al.) except on the day of the deadline. Any teams involved in a deal that breaks the embargo is fined a massive amount of the owners’ (as in both teams’ owners) money.

To make this work, the teams would have to agree no trade could be made between, say, Thanksgiving and the deadline. Or Christmas, depending on how you feel about tryptophan overdosing. But the point is, nothing could get done until the agreed-upon deadline, and it could only be announced to anyone on the day of the deadline.

This is profoundly unfair to the players, of course, but that little issue has never bothered management before when the alternative was money.

It is also not much fun for the media, which has to twiddle its opposables floating rumors that can’t be proven or disproven except on that one day when everyone works from midnight to midnight, wired to the eyelids on six-buck coffee and enough green tea to turn a gall bladder into a souvenir ash tray.

No, this is about making a worthwhile and ironclad trade deadline for the good of the sport, and the business.

Okay, this is about our amusement.

We all like trade deadlines. It gives order to the market, and it centers everyone’s focus on one hyper-adrenalized day to watch out for double-, triple- and quadruple-crosses from general managers wanting to jump each others’ action in search of their own personal Shattenkirks.

It spikes Verizon stock, it makes lots of business for movers and real estate vultures, it provides cheap and disposable fame for about two-thirds of the players in the league, and it makes everyone involved look like twitchy red-eyed zombies on television.

It beats the Bachelorette every time, because among other things it looks a lot more like parents do when they’ve been up all day and night with the colic farms.

In short, a trade deadline is a precious thing not to be discarded just because it’s inconvenient for a few suits and about-to-be-moved employees.

So yeah, Kevin Shattenkirk could have held another day or so. You know, for the good of the game.


Curry blames weatherman for career-worst 0-for-11 from 3-point range

Curry blames weatherman for career-worst 0-for-11 from 3-point range

In the wake of a 119-108 Warriors win over the 76ers Monday night in Philadelphia, Stephen Curry had a ready explanation for his 0-of-11 shooting 3-point distance.

He didn’t properly account for the change in weather.

“The weatherman said it’s like a low-pressure system that was coming in (and) I forgot to adjust to the thickness of the air,” he told reporters at Wells Fargo Center.

Curry’s comment may open to interpretation, but it was clear his sense of humor remained intact even after a career-worst shooting night beyond the arc.

He wasn’t the only Warrior finding it difficult to score from deep. Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green combined to go 5-of-20. The Warriors were 6-of-29 from deep, their second-lowest total of the season.

“It’s weird,” he said. “Not to discredit anything they did. The first half we had a lot of open looks that didn’t go in. Klay made a couple down the stretch. KD made one. Draymond made one from the corner.

“Other than that we still took really good shots that didn’t go in. But for us to still have moxie to withstand that and still pretty much have the lead the whole game and allow our defense to get us a win tonight was kind of our M.O.”

Given that Curry owns the single-game record for triples (13) as well as the single-season record (402), it was most alarming that he couldn’t find at least one. And he had opportunities.

“It happens but you have to try and find other ways to impact the game,” he said. “I was trying to get to the paint a little bit more and just try to make plays. One thing is I don’t get down on myself. Obviously, that’s why I got 11 of them up. I still have confidence the next one is going in and that will stay the same tomorrow.”

The Warriors face the Wizards Tuesday in Washington. In Curry’s last appearance at the Verizon Center, last Feb. 3, he went for 51 points. He was 11-of-15 from deep.

“What I love about Steph is he went 0-11 tonight from three but you wouldn’t know it if you looked at his face,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He never loses confidence; he never hangs his head. It is a sign of a guy with ultimate confidence in his ability and the awareness that it is one of those nights.

“He is likely to come out tomorrow and make about seven in a row at some point. So that’s what I love about Steph. He keeps playing.”