Time to Play 'Guess the Giants Lineup'


Time to Play 'Guess the Giants Lineup'

Jan. 12, 2010GIANTS PAGE

Based on recent comments by general manager Brian Sabean and president LarryBaer, the Giants seem fairly comfortable with the notion of Buster Posey beingthe starting catcher on Opening Day. So lets assume, for the sake of todaysexercise, that the latest round of "interest" in Yorvit Torrealba doesnt leadto anything.In other words, were assuming that the team the Giantshave now, offensively, is the team with which theyll try to snap their playoffdrought.Whats the lineup? Heres the way I think it might shake out:1. Aaron Rowand, CF
Hes obviously notthe prototypical leadoff man, but its the spot in which he was most productivelast season, primarily because he made subtle approach changes when leadingoff. When he wasnt leading off, he was a straight hacker, and nearly anautomatic out. Besides, there is no prototypical leadoff man on this teamunless Eugenio Velez or Andres Torres is starting, and in this lineup theyrenot.2. Freddy Sanchez, 2B
A No. 2 hitter should be a high-average man who can handlethe bat well. He needs to hit behind runners when appropriate, drop down somebunts, run a little bit and be something of a gap-to-gap RBI guy in the eventthat the bottom of the order sets the table for him after the first inning.This is Sanchez to a T.3. Pablo Sandoval, 3B
The third hitter should be your best hitter, and Panda isthat for the Giants, hands-down. You want him to bat in the first inning, everygame. This is the biggest no-brainer in the lineup.4. Aubrey Huff, 1B
Your cleanup hitter need not be a high-average orhigh-on-base guy, but he needs to be a good RBI guy with above-average pop.Huff, even in a down year, drove in 85 runs last season, and that would havemade him second in RBIs on the 2009 Giants. He should at least be able to dowhat Bengie Molina did last year, and unlike Molina, he can score from secondon a single more often than not. 5. Mark DeRosa, LF
The No. 5 hitter should be a decent RBI guy, too, of course.Ideally, hed have more pop than DeRosa, but its not like DeRosa is a Punch-and-Judy type. Hes a smart, experienced hitter who has a decent track recordwhen it comes to situational hitting. 6. Nate Schierholtz, RF
I still cant figure out why the Giants dont think morehighly of this guy. Hes a very good hitter, and hes proven it at every level.Hes not a big power guy, but hes an excellent all-around player who drivesthe ball on occasion and runs well and runs smartly. Its time to plug him inand leave him alone. If he can get his OBP up, hed be a good No. 2 hitter --with Sanchez leading off -- if Rowand falls flat up there. 7. Edgar Renteria, SS
Heres hoping that his struggles last year really were tiedto his failing health, because hes been a very good hitter at times during hiscareer. If he gets back to being that, youre looking at a nice bottom of theorder.8. Buster Posey, C
Nobody doubts this guys talent, and Im all for startinghim right away. The dude was the Minor League Player of the Year, for cryingout loud. Cut him loose, bat him down low to minimize the pressure hes likelyto place on himself, and let him take whatever lumps come his way. The kidsthe real deal. Lets see it right now.So there you go. Not all that bad, is it? Not amazing, but probablybetter as a whole than last years offense -- as long as certain guys pull moreweight than they did last year and others make modest improvements. My lineup is just one option, though. What do youthink? Id love to see this turn into a raging debate, so leave your thoughtsbehind. If you havent registered, it only takes a minute. So haveat it. Tell me Im dumb and why youre smarter. Tell me Im smart and whyyoure smarter. Or just tell me what you think. Looking forward to hearing fromthe die-hards.
-- Mychael Urban

DeRozan fined by NBA for comments made after Raptors' loss to Warriors


DeRozan fined by NBA for comments made after Raptors' loss to Warriors

Following Toronto's 127-125 loss to the Warriors on Saturday night, Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan wasn't happy.

His team had almost erased a 27-point deficit and he felt like the officials were helping the Warriors.

"It's frustrating being out there feeling like you're playing 5-on-8. Some of those calls were terrible, period," DeRozan told reporters after the game.

As you might imagine, the NBA wasn't thrilled with thoses comments and fined DeRozan $15,000 on Tuesday for public criticism of the officiating.

DeRozan's incident is the latest in a long list of greivances between the players and the officials. The two sides met face-to-face in late December and plan to meet again during All-Star weekend in February to discuss the growing tension.

Who is now the Warriors' biggest rival?


Who is now the Warriors' biggest rival?

Earlier we discussed how the Golden State Warriors have seemingly moved beyond hating on NBA officials (three technical fouls in 18 days is a stunning reversal of their formerly disputatious form), but we may have forgotten one new reason why they have found a more Buddhist approach to the cutthroat world of American competitive sport.

They lack someone new to hate.

Their much-chewed-upon rivalry with the Los Angeles Clippers actually lasted two years, and now the Clippers are busy trying to prevent military incursions into their locker room from the Houston Rockets. Their even more famous archrivalry with the Cleveland Cavaliers seems to be imploding – with the total connivance of the Cavs themselves – before our eyes. Even cutting off their hot water made them laugh when two years ago not letting the Warriors' wives get to the game on time torqued them mightily.

And since we know that you locals desperately need a bête noire for your heroes (even though their biggest foe is actually their own attention spans), let us consider the new candidates.


The Rockets have been among the Warriors’ most persistent contender/pretenders, having faced them in both the first round of the 2017 postseason and the conference finals in 2015. Both ended in 4-1 Warrior wins as part of a greater piece – Golden State is 19-4 against the Rockets in the Warriors’ bad-ass era, 10-2 at home and 9-2 on the road, and has finished an aggregate 59.5 games ahead of the Rockets in the past three and a half years.

Hateable players for Warrior fans include James Harden and Chris Paul, while Rockets fans loathe Draymond Green and Kevin Durant and work their way down from there.

RIVALRY RATING (out of 32,353): 19. The Rockets need to win a playoff series before even matching the Clippers, who as we all know came and went in a moment.


The previous platinum standard in Western Conference basketball, the Spurs have never really gone away, though they have aged. Their pedigree is not in dispute, and Steve Kerr has essentially become the next generation of Gregg Popovich. It is hard to create a rivalry out of such shamelessly mutual admiration.

Hateable players for Warrior fans include . . . uhh, maybe Kawhi Leonard for winning two Defensive Player Of The Year Awards instead of Draymond Green, though that’s not much to go on, frankly. Spurs fans hate Zaza Pachulia for stepping beneath Leonard and ending last year’s series before it started.

RIVALRY RATING (out of 23): 1. If they didn’t have to play against each other, I suspect these two teams would date.


The Thunder’s 3-1 collapse in 2016 is all but ignored now because the Warriors did the same thing one series later, but lifting Kevin Durant was quite the consolation prize for Golden State, and the definitive finger in the eye for the Thunder, who turned their team over completely to Russell Westbrook, for good and ill. Even with the additions of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony are still trying to relocate their stride.

Hateable players for Warrior fans include Westbrook and Anthony for defining the I-need-the-ball-in-my-hands-to-function generation, and owner Clay Bennett for Seattle SuperSonics nostalgics. Thunder frans hate Durant, followed by Durant, Durant, Kim Jong-un, Durant, leprosy, Draymond Green’s foot, and Durant.

RIVALRY RATING (out of 440): 220. Westbrook is a human lightning rod, Anthony is the antithesis of what Warriors now regard basketball (they’d have loved him a quarter-century ago), and Stephen Adams for getting his goolies in the way of Green’s foot. Plus, some savvy Warrior fans can blame OKC for extending their heroes to seven games, thus making the final against Cleveland that much more difficult. This could work, at least in the short term.


Damian Lillard is a much-beloved local. Plus, the Blazers have never interfered in the Warriors’ universe save their 1-8 postseason record. There are no truly hateable players on either side, though Stephen Curry threw his first mouthpiece in Portland, and Green is a perennial.

RIVALRY RATING (out of 1): 0.


The new pretender to throne, with the Eastern Conference’s version of Kerr in Brad Stevens. Even better since taking advantage of Kyrie Irving’s weariness with LeBron James, and until proven otherwise the team the Warriors should most concern themselves with.

Hateable players for Warrior fans include Irving, who made the only shot in the last five minutes of Game 7 of the 2016 Finals, while Celtics fans hate Durant for not signing with them.

RIVALRY RATING (out of 67.7): 26, though this will rise if the two teams meet in the Finals. The last time they did, Bill Russell owned basketball.


Still too remote to adequately quantify, though Toronto, Miami and Milwaukee are clearly difficult matches for the Warriors. If you put them together, Kyle Lowry, Demar DeRozan, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Hassan Whiteside with Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe coming off the bench, coached by either Eric Spoelstra or Jason Kidd, would make a fun team for the Warriors to play against. Probably not functional, but fun.

And finally:


Some decade the two teams’ geographical proximity will matter, but for now, they remain essentially two full professional leagues away from each other. We just mentioned them so Kings fans wouldn’t feel any more slighted than they already do.