A's look for the 'big hit' vs. Pineiro, Angels


A's look for the 'big hit' vs. Pineiro, Angels

May 16, 2011
LA ANGELS (22-19) vs.
A's (20-20)

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

OAKLAND (AP) -- Joel Pineiro has been pitching well for the Los Angeles Angels since coming off the disabled list. Facing the Oakland Athletics gives him a good opportunity to continue that.

Pineiro gets the ball for the Angels on Monday when they open a two-game set in Oakland.

A sore shoulder caused Pineiro (2-0, 1.33 ERA) to miss the first month of the season, debuting against Tampa Bay on April 30. He's looked fully healthy since his return, giving up three runs and 15 hits in his first 20 1-3 innings.

The right-hander allowed two runs in 7 2-3 innings of a 6-2 win over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday.

"Joel mixed up his pitches, changed speeds, pitched well," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He really has four pitches he can use, and when he mixed them up, he can be effective."

Pineiro went 1-0 with a 1.57 ERA in three starts against the Athletics (20-20) last year. The Angels (22-19) won all three.

Los Angeles dropped two of three at Texas over the weekend, closing the set with a 5-4 loss Sunday. The Angels stranded 11 baserunners, finishing the weekend 3 for 31 with men in scoring position.

"We didn't do enough," Scioscia said. "We have to pick up the pieces of that game. ... It's no barometer of things to come. We know what we need to clean up and do better."

The Los Angeles bullpen has also been shaky, blowing three saves in five chances and posting a 7.36 ERA over the last seven games.

Timely hitting has been a problem all season for the Athletics, who have scored three runs or fewer in eight of their last 11. They lost two of three to Chicago over the weekend, including a 4-3 defeat Sunday.

Trevor Cahill suffered his first loss of the season and Oakland stranded 10 on base.

"The big hit, when we needed it, eluded us," manager Bob Geren said.

REWIND: White Sox tags A's Cahill with first loss

Coco Crisp is batting .167 in his last 10 games, but had three hits in the final two games of the weekend series, including a home run Sunday.

On Monday, the Athletics will hand the ball to Brett Anderson (2-3, 3.21), who will take his fifth crack at defeating the Angels. The left-hander is 0-2 with a 4.68 ERA in four career starts versus Los Angeles.

Anderson surrendered four runs, six hits and four walks in 4 2-3 innings of a 7-2 loss to Texas on Tuesday. It was the second time in three starts Anderson gave up at least four runs - both against the Rangers. He has a 1.65 ERA in his other six starts.

Erick Aybar, who is 0 for 7 against Anderson, is looking to extend a 13-game hitting streak during which he's batting .373. He went 3 for 11 in last month's series versus the A's.

The Angels won two of three in that set but dropped six of 10 in Oakland last season, scoring two runs or fewer six times.

Young Warriors fan brought to tears after getting surprised with tickets


Young Warriors fan brought to tears after getting surprised with tickets

Christmas came early for one young Warriors fan. 

Posting a video to Twitter, Charles Hinkle Jr. surprised his nephew with Warriors tickets on Friday. Hinkle's Twitter location shows the family is from Hollywood, Fla.

The reaction says it all. 

And the smile confirms it: best Black Friday ever.

The Warriors play the Heat in Miami on December 3 at 4 p.m. PT. The Warriors played the Heat twice last season. They won their first contest in Oakland and then later fell in Miami.

Remember me? Raiders face Broncos with offensive architect on other sideline


Remember me? Raiders face Broncos with offensive architect on other sideline

ALAMEDA – Raiders offensive coordinator Todd Downing is running a system Bill Musgrave installed in 2015.

Downing has put his stamp on it since being promoted from quarterbacks coach last winter and certainly has a different play calling style, but he didn’t burn it to the ground and start fresh.

“Honestly tweak-wise, there’s not a lot of tweaks,” Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said. “Game plan wise and things, we do things a little different. We call things differently now obviously because he’s in the division. But route concept-wise and things like that, we do a lot of the same similar stuff. Any time there’s a change, a coach is always going to have their tweaks.”

Even so, Musgrave might feel like he’s looking into a mirror Sunday afternoon when the Raiders play Denver at Oakland Coliseum. He’ll watch his offense work from the other sideline, calling plays from Mike McCoy’s selections.

This odd arrangement stems from Jack Del Rio’s decision to let Musgrave’s contract expire after two years as Raiders offensive coordinator. He promoted the in-demand Downing to that post, which left Musgrave to gain employment as Denver’s quarterbacks coach. He was promoted to OC on Monday, when McCoy got fired after Denver lost its sixth straight.

Fans didn't love Musgrave when he was in Oakland. They long for him now. The Raiders ranked sixth in total offense and seventh in scoring last year. Now they're 21st and 20th, respectively, in those categories. 

Having Musgrave calling plays for the enemy adds some intrigue to the matchup, though this isn’t a mentor-protégé matchup. Count Scott Linehan and Mike Tice as Downing’s primary professors. Those influences stand out most in Downing’s style, but Musgrave’s influence as a play caller exists in a small dose.

“I think there are elements of it. I won’t say personality traits, but maybe nuances of the game that you naturally talk to through as a coordinator and quarterback coach,” Downing said. “So, those experiences are kind of lived through the other coordinator. We were together for two years. I have some other influences that probably shape my play calling more than that.”

There’s a high level of respect between the two men, and Downing certainly appreciates his time working under Musgrave.

“He’s a very detailed guy. He likes to simplify and let the guys go execute. That was certainly something that I respected about the way he went through a game plan process. If there was something that wasn’t working itself out through the course of the practice week, we’d eliminate it or not run it on Sunday. Definitely picked that up.

“He has a broad scope understanding of offense. Being a quarterback as he is, or a former quarterback as he is, he’s not just a pass game guy. He has a good understanding of the run game and a good respect for the guys upfront being able to move the line of scrimmage. Definitely something that I admire and wanted to emulate.”

Downing and Musgrave won’t face each other directly. That’ll be new Raiders play caller John Pagano.

He took over Tuesday after Ken Norton’s firing, but doesn’t mean he’s new to the matchup. Pagano was the Chargers' defensive coordinator from 2012-16, and faced Musgrave twice a year the past two seasons. Musgrave won every matchup.

Pagano might look at Denver’s scheme and Musgrave’s tendencies when trying to silence the Broncos on Sunday.

“You always have to understand what he’s about and what little things pop into my head from seeing him, but you still have to go based off of what you’re seeing right now, the film that you’re seeing, the plays you’re going off of,” Pagano said. “You have to be prepared for everything. He does a great job and he always has those guys ready to play and there is always going to be something new.”