Giants

Zito self-critical despite improvement in second start

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Zito self-critical despite improvement in second start

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Barry Zito worked three scorelessinnings in his second start of the spring Saturday against the Brewers.In his first action since giving up two runs on four hits in two inningsagainst the Dodgers on Tuesday, the Giants high-priced lefty was perfect otherthan hitting a batter and allowing one infield single. He threw 30 of his 45pitches for strikes.The batter he hit was none other than San Francisco native Nyjer Morgan, whodrew the ire of Giants fans last season by making some mildly obscene gesturesaimed at the AT&T Park bleachers.Morgan, the second batter of the afternoon, took a Zito curveball to the headand stayed in the game as a baserunner before being pulled as a precaution inthe bottom of the 1st inning.

It was a curveball so I mean sometimes you just throwthrough it, Zito said.The only other blemish on Zitos pitching line was an infield single by MatGamel.I actually felt like my timing was better Tuesday just as far as the ballbeing down and pouring strikes in the zone, Zito said. Results were a littlebetter today, but its not really about that for me, its about lining up thepitch and having everything be on time.With no radar available at Scottsdale Stadium and the scouts guns out ofeyesight, its difficult to pinpoint how hard Zito was throwing, but he was inthe strike zone and kept the Brewers lineup off balance using all of hispitches.Despite a solid spring pitching line on Saturday, Zito was self-critical in hispostgame comments.I felt like I couldve been better being down in the zone with the fastball,he said. If you look at strike ratio and how many balls were down in the zone,today was not as good as last game. But there were other positives today.One such positive for Zito was the ability to work on his windup.Right now when Im in the windup its just trying to getthat timing down, he said. I didnt throw out of the windup a lot thisoffseason, so Im just working on making some adjustments. I got to throw outof the windup a lot more today, which is good.
Bruce Bochy had no issue with the outing when told that Zito himself said he wasn't as sharp.He may not have felt as good, but he did anice job," Bochy said. One breaking ball got away from him, but overall I thought he threwstrikes and did a nice job. Now the starters will go back to their normal rest and wellstart stretching these guys out.
With a split squad game against the Cubs, the Brewerslineup wasnt filled with a lot of star power on Saturday. Rickie Weeks and Aramis Ramirez playedin Milwaukees other game and Ryan Braun didnt see action at all.The only projected Brewer starters in the lineup against Zito were CarlosGomez, Morgan and Gamel. Brooks Conrad, who Giants fans may remember as theAtlanta second baseman that made three errors in Game 3 of the 2010 NLDS, hit third for the Brewers.The Giants pitchers were not blessed with immense run support in 2011, andZito was no exception. But Saturday in Scottsdale, the Giants teed off on theBrewers early on and gave Zito a 2-0 cushion in the second, andexpanded the lead to 10-0 an inning later. Yeah, that was great, Zito said of watching his offensebat around and put double digits on the board for him.Zito wasnt very talkative at his locker after the outing,providing reporters with the modern athletes most dependable cliche.I take it one day at a time, he said. Thats one thing Im not going to dois get too far ahead of myself. Just come back tomorrow and keep on working onwhat I got to do and just take that approach.

Dodgers crush Cubs in Game 5 to reach 2017 World Series

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Dodgers crush Cubs in Game 5 to reach 2017 World Series

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO -- Enrique Hernandez put a Hollywood ending on an LA story three decades in the making.

Fueled by Hernandez's home run trilogy, Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers are finally going to the World Series.

Hernandez homered three times and drove in seven runs, Kershaw breezed through six crisp innings and Los Angeles ended the Chicago Cubs' title defense with an 11-1 victory in Game 5 of the NL Championship Series on Thursday night.

"It feels good to hear World Series," Kershaw said. "It's been a long time coming for this team."

After years of playoff heartache, there was just no stopping this group of Dodgers. With Kershaw firing away at the top of a deep pitching staff and Justin Turner anchoring a tough lineup, one of baseball's most storied franchises captured its first pennant since Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda managed Los Angeles to its last championship in 1988.

The Dodgers will host the New York Yankees or Houston Astros in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night. The Yankees have a 3-2 lead in the ALCS heading into Game 6 at Houston on Friday night, so one more New York win would set up another chapter in an old October rivalry between the Yankees and Dodgers.

The Dodgers made the playoffs eight times in the previous 13 seasons and came up short each time, often with Kershaw shouldering much of the blame. The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner took the loss when Los Angeles was eliminated by the Cubs in Game 6 of last year's NLCS at Wrigley Field.

He was just OK in his first two starts in this year's postseason, but Los Angeles' loaded lineup picked him up each time. Backed by Hernandez's powerful show in Chicago, Kershaw turned in an efficient three-hit performance with five strikeouts in his sixth career playoff win - matching Burt Hooton for the franchise record.

When Kenley Jansen retired Willson Contreras on a liner to shortstop for the final out, the party was on. The Dodgers poured out of the dugout and mobbed their dominant closer near the mound, and a small, but vocal group of Los Angeles fans gathered behind the visitor's dugout and chanted "Let's go Dodgers! Let's go Dodgers!"

Report: Giants interview Chili Davis about becoming new hitting coach

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Report: Giants interview Chili Davis about becoming new hitting coach

Chili Davis spent the first seven years of his big league career with the Giants where he made two All-Star teams and hit 101 home runs. 

Fast forward 37 years from his debut in 1981, and Davis may now be the one teaching Giants how to hit balls over the wall in 2018. The Giants met with Davis Thursday about becoming the team's new hitting coach, according to The Mercury News

The only problem is, there is no open vacancy on the Giants' coaching staff. 

Current hitting coach Hensley Meulens is a candidate for the Tigers' head coaching vacancy, but reports surfaced Thursday that former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire will take that role. Meulens could become a candidate to manage another team or take a different spot on the Giants' staff. 

The Giants' offense sputtered in 2017. Overall, the offense ranked 23rd in batting average (.249), 29th in runs scored (639) and last in home runs (128). By comparison, the Pirates were the next worst team at hitting home runs in 2017 and still launched 23 more long balls than the Giants. 

Over his 19-year career, Davis hit 350 home runs. He has spent the last three years as the Red Sox's hitting instructor.