49ers

Giants test Lee, taking aim at Phillies' streak

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Giants test Lee, taking aim at Phillies' streak

Aug. 4, 2011

PHILADELPHIA (71-39) vs.
GIANTS (62-49)

Coverage begins at 6:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The big-name acquisitions recently made by the Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants were intended to improve both clubs' chances in the race for the NL pennant.

However, only one of these teams has looked like a playoff contender of late.

After snapping a five-game skid, the Giants try to prevent Cliff Lee and the Phillies from matching a season high with their seventh consecutive victory Thursday night at AT&T Park.

With the majors' best record and an eight-game lead in the East, Philadelphia (71-39) could be headed to a fifth consecutive division title. The Phillies have averaged 6.7 runs during a six-game winning streak, five with All-Star Hunter Pence in the lineup.

"We've collectively been putting pressure on the other team, getting guys on base and driving guys in when we need to," outfielder Raul Ibanez told the Phillies' official website.

Pence, 1 for 4 for with an RBI in Wednesday's 8-6 win at Colorado, has hit .286 (6 for 21) with three RBIs since being acquired from Houston on Friday.

"I've been pretty fortunate to jump on the team with the best record in baseball," Pence said.

There's little doubt that the right-handed hitting Pence is providing ample protection in the lineup for slugger Ryan Howard, who is 9 for 22 (.409) with four homers and nine RBIs the last five games. Howard hit his 24th home run and had four RBIs on Wednesday.

Pence was not with the Phillies when they dropped two of three at home to the Giants (62-49) last week. Though Philadelphia has lost seven of nine regular season games at AT&T Park and went 1-2 there in last year's NL championship series, San Francisco has dropped eight of 13 and avoided a season-high sixth consecutive defeat with an 8-1 win over Arizona on Wednesday to take a one-game lead over the Diamondbacks in the West.

"I was starting to worry," said Giants infielder Orlando Cabrera, who was acquired from Cleveland on Saturday.

Cabrera, 3 for 15 in four games with his new team, drove in three runs and All-Star Carlos Beltran had three hits with an RBI as the Giants matched their run total from the previous five games. After going 1 for 14 with six strikeouts in his first three games since coming over from the New York Mets last Thursday, Beltran is 7 for 16 (.438) without a strikeout in his last four.

URBAN: Beltran plays MJ for a day

"We have good hitters in our lineup," said Beltran, batting .205 with a homer and five RBIs versus Philadelphia in 2011. "Sometimes we get caught up in trying to do too much."

Beltran is 1 for 8 against Lee (10-7, 3.14 ERA), who faces the Giants in the regular season for the first time since his first stint with the Phillies in 2009. Lee is 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA in the regular season versus San Francisco, but went 0-2 with a 6.94 ERA in the World Series with Texas last season.

After he allowed one run in 42 innings while going 5-0 in June, the left-hander went 1-2 with a 4.91 ERA in five July starts. That lone victory came after he gave up four runs and fanned 11 in 7 2-3 innings of a 7-4 win over Pittsburgh on Saturday.

The Giants will counter with a left-hander of their own in Madison Bumgarner (6-10, 3.80), who allowed three runs in 4 2-3 innings of the Giants' 6-5 win in Game 4 of the NLCS in his only previous start against the Phillies. He also threw two scoreless innings during the pennant-clinching Game 6 victory at Philadelphia.

Bumgarner had allowed five runs over 21 2-3 innings while going 2-0 in his first three starts after the All-Star break before he surrendered seven - including five in the first - in four innings of a 7-2 loss at Cincinnati on Saturday. He has yielded 18 first-inning runs this season.

Roger Goodell: 'What we are trying to stay out of is politics'

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USATSI

Roger Goodell: 'What we are trying to stay out of is politics'

NEW YORK — The NFL is not changing its national anthem policy to require players to stand during the national anthem.

Commissioner Roger Goodell and several owners said Wednesday at the league’s fall meetings that altering the language from “should stand” to “must stand” was not discussed.

New York Giants owner John Mara noted that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones “spoke at length” to the other owners about the anthem issue. Jones has said any Dallas player who doesn’t stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” would not be playing.

Goodell reiterated that the league and its 32 clubs “believe everyone should stand for the national anthem. It’s an important part of our policy and the game. It’s important to honor our flag and our country and I think our fans expect that.”

Asked about any owners who threatened discipline for players who didn’t stand, Goodell said the owners didn’t discuss it.

“There was a fair amount of conversation and I think our clubs see it the same way. I can’t deal with hypotheticals,” Goodell said.

Reminded that President Donald Trump tweeted again Wednesday about the demonstrations during the anthem, Goodell said there was nothing unpatriotic about his league.

“Everyone feels strongly about our country and have pride,” he said, adding the NFL is “not afraid of tough conversations.

“What we are trying to stay out of is politics.”

Goodell noted that only six or seven players are still kneeling or are involved in protests.

“We hope we will continue to work to put that at zero,” he said.

On Tuesday, in an unprecedented move for a league meeting, a group of 11 owners and more than a dozen players met for more than two hours at NFL headquarters. Among the topics discussed was enhancing the players’ platforms for speaking out on social issues.

“I understand the way they feel about these issues,” Goodell said Wednesday. “We feel the same about patriotism and the flag and I believe our players feel that way. We have a great deal of support for the efforts of our players.”

Gameday: Can Kings slow down Rockets from beyond the arc?

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AP

Gameday: Can Kings slow down Rockets from beyond the arc?

Sacramento rebooted the franchise at the trade deadline last season and begin anew this season with veteran additions Vince Carter, George Hill and Zach Randolph to compliment a bevy of young players. 

Houston reloaded in the offseason, adding nine-time All-Star Chris Paul and a veteran defenders P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute. They put on a show against the Warriors and look like one of the best the Western Conference has to offer once again. 

BETTING LINE 

Rockets by 8

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Kings defense vs. The 3-pointer -- Houston launched an incredible 180 3-point attempts versus Sacramento last season, hitting a robust 75 (41.7 percent) of those shots. It’s a new-look roster for the Kings, but they’ve had very little time to develop defensive chemistry. Dave Joerger and his staff will game plan to slow the Rockets perimeter game, but Mike D’Antoni has a deep group that comes at you in waves.

WHERE THEY STAND 

Kings: 0-0

Rockets: 1-0

INJURY REPORT 

Kings: SG Bogdan Bogdanovic (right ankle sprain) out, PF Zach Randolph (tooth) questionable

Rockets: PG Chris Paul (bruised right knee) questionable

SERIES HISTORY 

The Rockets swept the Kings last season 4-0, including a 135-128 victory in the final week of the season. Houston leads the all-time series 124-88 and they hold an 83-42 advantage during the Sacramento-era. 

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE ROOKIES - The Kings walk into the 2017-18 campaign with five rookies on the roster, four of which should see time early in the season. De’Aaron Fox is the headliner, but don’t be shocked if Justin Jackson, Frank Mason and Bogdan Bogdanovic play important roles on this team.

ROTATIONS - With 10 new faces on the roster, Joerger needed more than an abbreviated training camp and six preseason contests. Expect the coaching staff to try different looks throughout the first 20 games of the season as they search for answers.

BALANCING THE ROSTER - Joerger has five veterans and 10 players with two years of experience or less. If he goes with the vets, fans will call for the rookies. If he plays the rookies and the losses stack up, fans will call for his head. It’s an unenviable position that will require patience and a little faith.

QUOTE

“I’m expecting a high-paced game. I feel like our fans are going to come out, they’re going to give us a lot of energy, playing a team as good as Houston is.” -De’Aaron Fox