A's hope to maintain home advantage vs. Giants


A's hope to maintain home advantage vs. Giants

June 18, 2011

GIANTS PAGE GIANTSVIDEOA'S PAGE A'SVIDEOCoverage starts at 6:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California
(AP) -- AT&T Park and the O.co Coliseum sit just across the San Francisco Bay from each other, but lately it seems home-field advantage has meant everything when the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics get together.The host has won the last 10 games in the Bay Bridge Series, which should be good news for the A's as they try to match a season high with a fourth straight overall win Saturday night against the visiting Giants.Only twice in the rivalry's last 16 games since 2009 has the road team come away with a victory, an advantage San Francisco (39-31) made count with a three-game sweep last month on the west side of the bay.The series shifted to Oakland on Friday night, and the A's (31-40) had both the last at-bat and the last laugh. Conor Jackson had three singles and Oakland took advantage of seven strong innings from rookie Graham Godfrey in his home debut to top Tim Lincecum and the Giants 5-2."We don't have guys that are going to hit 50 home runs ... so we have to manufacture runs any way we can," Jackson said of his team, which has a major league-low 38 homers.The A's have gotten three straight wins from their starting pitching after a 14-game stretch in which their rotation went 0-11. Saturday's starter Guillermo Moscoso (2-3, 3.91 ERA), however, has lost his last three decisions.The first came June 4 in one of the his two relief appearances of the season. Moscoso returned as a starter three days later, giving up two runs over five innings of a 4-0 loss at Baltimore. On Sunday, he surrendered five runs over 6 1-3 innings while falling 5-4 to the White Sox.Despite those struggles in Chicago, interim manager Bob Melvin was pleased with his right-hander."He keeps the ball down, locates, throws breaking balls behind in the count, throws changeups to right-handers as well," Melvin said. "I was extremely pleased."Moscoso's first look at San Francisco couldn't come at a much better time. The Giants, who have six position players on the disabled list even after Pablo Sandoval's mid-week return, have averaged an NL-low 2.79 runs since June 3.That's put the onus on their starting pitching to be even better than usual, but manager Bruce Bochy's rotation has a 5.19 ERA in its last six outings.Five walks were a big issue for Lincecum in Friday's opener, and control issues also tend to plague probable Saturday starter Jonathan Sanchez (4-4, 3.47).The left-hander allowed five free passes Sunday against Cincinnati, the third straight outing he's issued at least that many. He held the Reds to two runs over six innings, but left without a decision in San Francisco's 4-2 victory.Sanchez has allowed an NL-high 50 walks through 14 starts - 11 more than he had at the same point a year ago.He's lost his last two starts in Oakland - walking eight in 12 1-3 innings - and is 1-2 with a 2.84 ERA in four career starts in the Bay Bridge Series.Jackson is 10 for 21 with two homers against Sanchez, but those numbers are a bit deceiving. Nine of those hits came from 2006-2008, and Sanchez has retired him nine times in 10 chances since.

Cowboys expose 49ers' biggest weakness in bashing: Talent


Cowboys expose 49ers' biggest weakness in bashing: Talent

If there is such a thing as being “due” in sports (and there actually isn’t, so you can probably stop reading now), the San Francisco 49ers had Sunday coming to them.
After all, the anomaly of being the “best winless team in football” based on margin of defeat lasts only so long until the “winless” part trumps the “best” part, because even the Los Angeles Chargers – the previous “best bad team in football” – aren’t the Chargers all the time.
So it was that the Dallas Cowboys exposed every weakness the 49ers have with the simplest thing there is.
The Cowboys did everything they wanted, but only whenever they wanted it, in a 40-10 dope-slapping that could actually have been worse than it was. The 49er offense was properly stymied (again), gaining only 290 yards (4.5 yards per play) and the defense was thoroughly Elliotted (as in Ezekiel-ed, who averaged 8.1 yards in his 27 touches). San Francisco’s warts were rubbed until they glowed, and if not for the fact that head coach Kyle Shanahan already knew where they were, he’d have been shocked to see how visible they were.
And therein lies the takeaway from another day at Not-So-Great-America. It turns out that the 49ers weren’t very good at much of anything before Sunday except just how far away they are from what Shanahan and general manager John Lynch believe is their destiny. C.J.  Beathard remained the rookie quarterback he is, and Carlos Hyde's hard-won 68 rushing yards led to no scores. Indeed, San Francisco's only touchdown came on a four-yard improv sprint from Beathard, who is by no means a running quarterback except in abject flight.

Next week in Philadelphia figures to be no less grisly, if you’re waiting for that magic moment when “0” becomes “1.” That is, of course, unless Washington exposes the Eagles as less than what they seem, which is very often the case in the new parity-gripped NFL.

But there are subsequent get-well games at home against Arizona and then at New York against the Giants the week after, so whatever dreams you might have about them running the table backwards and getting the first overall pick in the draft are still light years from realization.
This is, however, another healthy reminder that the job to be done is at least two more years in the undoing before the doing can actually begin. Not that the players or coaches needed another lesson, mind you – they know.
But maybe you needed it, just to keep your delusions in check. Maybe the people who were “due” were all of you.
But that’s unfair, too. You didn’t undo this franchise. All you did was believe, and there’s nothing wrong with that – as long you know there will be more days like this before your team starts handing out the 40-10’s.
In the meantime, there is beer.

Three things you need to know from 49ers' 40-10 loss vs Cowboys


Three things you need to know from 49ers' 40-10 loss vs Cowboys

SANTA CLARA -- Three things you need to know about the 49ers’ 40-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 7 on Sunday:

1. A major step backward
So much for the 49ers’ somewhat-impressive streak of close losses.

There was nothing encouraging about what transpired in the 49ers' worst loss at Levi’s Stadium. It was also the franchise's worst home loss since Mike Singletary's team absorbed a 45-10 thumping against the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 11, 2009.

Was there anything positive to take from this game?

“No, not right now,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “It was disappointing. I think all three phases, players and coaches, we’ve got to play better than that, a lot better to give ourselves a chance to win.”

The competitive nature of the 49ers’ past five games was one thing. But with a big home loss on such an emotional day, it is fair to say that the honeymoon is over for Shanahan and general manager John Lynch. The 49ers looked like a team devoid of any leadership, and brings more scrutiny onto the organization’s decision last week to release linebacker NaVorro Bowman.

Now, the 49ers face a crossroads. With another cross-country trip ahead, the 49ers have to regroup in a hurry in order to avoid another embarrassing blowout against the Philadelphia Eagles.

2. Beathard’s first start
Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard certainly was not the reason the 49ers got blown out. In his first NFL start, he showed a lot of toughness, which was to be expected. He was sacked five times. But most of those sacks could have been avoided. He has to get rid of the ball quicker, especially on three-step drops.

Beathard also showed some promise, too. He let the ball fly deep for Marquise Goodwin, who caught four passes for 80 yards. Beathard completed 22 of 38 passes for 235 yards.

Beathard accounted for the 49ers’ only touchdown with a 4-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. There seems to be little doubt it was in the best interest of the organization to begin evaluating what it has for the future with the permanent switch from Brian Hoyer to Beathard.

3. Dwight Clark’s Day
The 49ers, of course, did nothing to evoke any memories of the great teams on which Dwight Clark played. Well, they did look a lot like Clark’s first team with the 49ers.

The 49ers of 1979 lost their first seven games of the season. This year’s team matched that start for the worst beginning to a season in franchise history.

More than 35 of Clark’s teammates off the 1981 Super Bowl team were in attendance to honor a pay tribute to Clark, who is battling ALS. Now in a wheelchair and considerably lighter, Clark delivered some poignant remarks at halftime.

Clark, 60, told his old teammate, Keena Turner, who works as vice president of football affairs, that all he wanted was to see some of his old teammates.

“And the 49ers heard that and flew all these players in, so I could see them one more time,” Clark said.