Odds against them, Giants lean on Lincecum


Odds against them, Giants lean on Lincecum

Sept. 14, 2011

SAN DIEGO (63-86) vs.
GIANTS (78-70)

Coverage begins at Noon on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Tim Lincecum is doing his best to finish strong in what has been a frustrating season for himself and the San Francisco Giants.

The right-hander hopes to avoid a third straight loss when the Giants try to complete a three-game sweep of the visiting San Diego Padres on Wednesday.

Faced with the possibility of finishing with a losing record for the first time in his five-year career, Lincecum (12-12, 2.68 ERA) remains positive as San Francisco's season appears set to end without the chance of defending its World series title. Injuries and an offense that has scored the fewest runs (503) in the majors are key reasons the Giants (78-70) trail Arizona by 8 12 games in the NL West.

"This is probably the toughest part of the year because you've got to grind out the rest and maybe see what happens," Lincecum told the Giants' official website.

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Lincecum has received two runs or fewer of support in 19 of his 30 starts. San Francisco has scored just five runs while he's gone 1-3 with a 3.18 ERA in his last five outings. The Giants scored in the first inning Friday when Lincecum allowed a run in eight innings and did not factor in a 2-1 loss to Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers.

"We're lucky if we score one (run) for him," catcher Chris Stewart said.

The Giants got by with little offense in a 2-1 win over San Diego on Aug. 24, as Lincecum allowed a run, four hits and five walks in a eight innings to improve to 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA against the Padres this season.

He looks to continue that success while trying to help San Francisco to a fourth consecutive home win over San Diego (63-86), which has dropped 16 of 19. Mark DeRosa lined a single off the glove of Orlando Hudson in the 12th inning to give San Francisco its third straight win, 3-2 on Tuesday.

"This was a must-win if we are to have any chance," said DeRosa, who has three RBIs in his last two games. "We've just got to keep grinding, keep winning. You never know, a team can slip up."

Carlos Beltran and Pablo Sandoval each had three hits for the Giants, who are third in the wild-card race, 6 12 games behind leader Atlanta.

"Sure, the odds are going against us a little bit," manager Bruce Bochy said. "But you never give up hope. We have to hit the field every day with that mindset, trying to win ballgames."

While Beltran is 5 for 9 in the series, Sandoval is batting .419 (13 for 31) with eight RBIs in his last eight games. The two have combined to bat .393 with 21 RBIs versus San Diego in 2011.

Scheduled San Diego starter Mat Latos (7-13, 3.72) has allowed two runs and struck out eight in seven innings in each of his last two starts while going 1-0 in those contests. His latest outing resulted in a 3-2 loss at Arizona on Friday.

"I have good confidence in the slider, curve ball too," said Latos, whose teammates have scored just 66 runs in his 28 starts.

The Padres have totaled 10 runs while he has posted a 2.77 ERA without a decision in two starts versus San Francisco in 2011. Latos has a 1.33 ERA in four career starts at AT&T Park.

Padres outfielder Chris Denorfia is 13 for 25 in seven games since coming off the disabled list with a hamstring injury.

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.