Raiders

Giants' skid continues after three-hit effort in D.C.

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Giants' skid continues after three-hit effort in D.C.

May 2, 2011BOXSCORE GIANTSVIDEOMLBPAGE MLBSCOREBOARD
WASHINGTON (AP) Miguel Tejada knew his none-on, two-out fielding error in the seventh inning led to the only two runs in the San Francisco Giants' 2-0 loss to the Washington Nationals on Monday night.Still, Tejada was incredulous when his miscue was brought up after the game, telling a reporter: "You asked me the question like we lost the game because of that ball?"OK, Miggy. Everyone knows why the Giants are losing games - a lot of them - these days.Put simply: The World Series champions are having a really rough time at the plate.
URBAN: Two at-bats speak to Giants' troubles
"There's not much we can do if we're not hitting," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We're awful right now. We know it."The latest opposing starter to take advantage was Tom Gorzelanny (1-2), who allowed only three hits in eight innings Monday - his longest outing in more than 3 12 years. Michael Morse and Jerry Hairston Jr. drove in runs after Tejada's error, helping the Nationals win for the fourth time in their last five games.San Francisco, meanwhile, has lost eight of its last 11, scoring a total of 23 runs in that span."You can put it on the offense," said Aubrey Huff, who went 0 for 3 and is hitting .190 for the season. "We're not doing anything offensively - including myself. We're all struggling. I'm the worst of it."He has plenty of company.The Giants were shut out for the third time in their last six games, including twice during this series, when Washington took three of four. Jason Marquis pitched the Nationals to a 3-0 victory Friday."We feed off each other's outings," Gorzelanny said.He gave up Aaron Rowand's double leading off the game and single in the third, as well as Cody Ross' single in the eighth. Drew Storen pitched the ninth for his sixth save in six chances, closing out a game that took just 2 hours, 2 minutes - the fastest nine-inning game in the majors this season, according to STATS LLC."Mixing in and out. Changing speeds quite a bit. Trying to keep guys off-balance. I wasn't trying to trick guys. I was trying to let guys hit the ball," Gorzelanny said. "My defense played outstanding out there. Guys made terrific plays. That's obviously key to an outing like this. You don't just mow down guys as a pitcher."He retired 15 consecutive batters during one stretch and was helped by a diving catch by center fielder Rick Ankiel on Tejada's sinking liner in the fifth.Bochy was asked whether Gorzelanny's performance surprised him."Nothing surprises me right now. We're struggling right now. We're seeing some well-pitched games against us," he said. "I think teams are catching us at a good time. There's no getting around that."Madison Bumgarner (0-5) retired Washington's first 12 batters and didn't allow an earned run but wound up with the loss because of two unearned runs in the seventh, his last inning. He allowed four hits."It's a shame we couldn't get him a win tonight," Bochy said.The first Nationals player to reach base was rookie catcher Wilson Ramos, hitting cleanup on a day off for first baseman Adam LaRoche. Ramos doubled to start the fifth and was sacrificed to third, but Bumgarner got out of it by striking out Morse and Hairston.After those back-to-back Ks, those two Nationals had a chat, and the veteran Hairston encouraged the younger Morse, pointing out: "Sometimes you have your good months, sometimes you have your bad months. But you have to keep grinding. He did that. He picked himself up and got a huge hit for us."Indeed, that part of the lineup was trouble for Bumgarner in the seventh. Ramos reached on a ball that went off Tejada's glove at third; it originally was ruled a single, then changed to an error after the game. That was followed by three consecutive hits for Washington: Ian Desmond singled, Morse hit an RBI single and Hairston hit an RBI double.After coming through there, Hairston said, "We looked at each other and kind of smiled."NOTES: It was Military Appreciation Night - something that first was planned in the offseason - and the Nationals offered free tickets to active or retired military personnel. The announced attendance was 15,342; the Nationals said they couldn't say yet how many free seats were provided. ... Gorzelanny hadn't lasted eight innings in a game since Aug. 12, 2007, when he threw a shutout for the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Giants.

How John Pagano plans to impact Raiders defense: ‘There is always room for change’

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USATSI

How John Pagano plans to impact Raiders defense: ‘There is always room for change’

ALAMEDA – John Pagano can’t implement his scheme in a week. He can’t import his plays and preferences cultivated during five seasons as Chargers defensive coordinator. Full offseason programs and training camps are required for that.

Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. was fired on Tuesday. Pagano will call his first Raiders game five days later against Denver at Oakland Coliseum. The Raiders’ assistant head coach – defense believes he can impact how the Silver and Black does business.

“There’s always room for change and there’s always room for doing things better,” Pagano said Thursday. “Without telling you our game plan, it’s about how we go out and execute the call, bottom line.”

Head coach Jack Del Rio said the Raiders weren’t playing fast enough. They weren’t creating enough turnovers, weren’t doing well enough on third down and weren’t regularly affecting the quarterback due to a lack of both rush and coverage.

That’s why Norton had to go.

Pagano’s first objective, which must get accomplished in a few days, is getting the Raiders to play with confidence. Then he can add some design wrinkles with some of his personality.

“You have to have that ability of going out there, knowing your assignment and playing faster,” Pagano said. “It’s not to say that there have been times where we’ve simplified things, but taking the thinking out of the game and making them react is, I think, most important. Going out there and playing fast and that’s doing the little extra things, the attention to details of studying and getting those things processed. See ball, go get ball.”

That last sentence sums up how Pagano wants his guys to play. He’s a quality play caller and creative blitzer with a knack making simple plays look complex. He can find and exploit opposing weak links. His defenses have always been good creating pressure and turnovers alike. The Raiders need more of both.

To do that Pagano wants to relieve a player’s mental burden and keep them focused on using talent well.

“The one thing I’ve always stressed and always been about is technique, fundamentals and unbelievable effort,” Pagano said. “I think those three things can get you home.”

The Raiders haven’t been home much as a defense. They’re tied for last with 14 sacks. They’re dead last with six turnovers. They’ve gone 10 games without an interception, the longest single-season drought in NFL history.

A lack of big defensive plays has killed the Raiders this season. It obviously increases points allowed. Good field position has been hard to come by. The offense has to earn everything the hard way. That’s a recipe for losing football, a maddening turn after the Raiders finished second with 30 takeaways last year.

Pagano has a chart listing “MOPs,” short for missed opportunities. There have been many, especially in a secondary he oversaw before this week.

“I talked to these guys this week about we need to do simple better,” Pagano said. “What is simple? It’s fundamentals of covering. It’s tackling. It’s communicating. It’s catching the ball when it comes. We’ve had opportunities. It’s not like we’re out there struggling and straining to dive and layout for the thing. It’s hit us in the hands where we’ve had many, many opportunities.”

Missed opportunities have also plagued a pass rush featuring reigning defensive player of the year Khalil Mack. Pagano brought up a moment early in Sunday’s lost to New England, when Treyvon Hester forced a fumble near three teammates that the Patriots somehow recovered.

Pagano’s goal is to improve performance. Players must buy in to do that. Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin headline a large group close to Norton, one with enough pride and professionalism to get behind a new playcaller in Pagano, who could be here long term.

“There is a human element to this,” Pagano said. “We are family. It’s sad any time a member of your family gets dismissed or something. At the end of the day, we have the Broncos coming in here on Sunday and we have to get our minds right to go play this game. That’s something that they’ve done a great job with this week, truly focusing in on what we need to do.”

Jordan Bell: Rookie year with Warriors 'like being a freshman all over again'

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AP

Jordan Bell: Rookie year with Warriors 'like being a freshman all over again'

Warriors rookie Jordan Bell made an instant impact for the team this season. But as of late, his playing time has dwindled. In four of the Warriors' last five games, Bell has been inactive. 

“It's just the life of a rookie,” Bell said to The Athletic. “That's what Steve Kerr always tells me. It's not because I'm playing bad. Just gotta be professional about it and stay ready. It's like being a freshman all over again.”

While Bell wants to be on the court with his teammates, what he appreciates most from Steve Kerr is his communication. Kerr is always honest about when he won't play Bell and he keeps the former Oregon Duck encouraged. 

“He talks to me about it every time he sees me,” Bell said. “Lets me know I'm not going to be active. Keep doing what you're doing, you're doing good. But it still f------ sucks. You're playing well and it doesn't mean anything because you're younger. It sucks, but you got to be professional about it.”

Bell has played in 12 of the Warriors' 18 games this season. The 22-year-old is averaging 3.2 points and 2.2 rebounds per game over 8.3 minutes per game. 

The Warriors bought the 38th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft from the Chicago Bulls and selected Bell. On Friday night, the Warriors, and perhaps Bell, play the Bulls for the first time this season.