Urban Blog: Arizona vs. Giants In-Game


Urban Blog: Arizona vs. Giants In-Game


UPDATED: 3:09 P.M.
Casilla, Romo Have Come a Long WaySAN FRANCISCO -- Santiago Casilla made a handful of appearances with the As in 2004, 2005 and 2006, then became a regular member of the Oakland bullpen for the next three years.The As gave up on him after last year, though, because he was a bit of a circus. You could trust him only so much, and if you trusted him to pitch in high-pressure situations, you likely would end up wondering how a guy with stuff that good could be that vulnerable.Ditto Sergio Romo, earlier this season. He has a slider that often defies physics, but in the first couple of months of the season his generally good work out of the Giants bullpen was obscured by a handful of high-profile failures.Sorry for bringing Manny Ramirez into this, but it serves to prove a point. The point is, Casilla and Romo are now two of the most trusted members of the pitching staff.Giants manager Bruce Bochy turned to Casilla today in the sixth inning, and he responded with two hitless, scoreless innings. Thereafter came Romo, who worked his way through the eighth in perfect style, striking out two of the three plugs he faced.Casilla walked off the mound after his second inning with the stoicism of Ben Stein. Romo punctuated his outing by bouncing off the mound and slapping his glove, getting the fired-up crowd further enflamed. Different ways to skin a cat, but the same paths into the hearts of Giants fans.UPDATED: 2:39 P.M.
Love Buster, Hate the Song
Its impossible not to dig Buster Posey. Hes just a good kid, and it pains me to no end to call him a kid because it reminds me that Im no longer even close to being a kid, and therefore totally irrelevant and old and the guy that hot young chicks mock after I innocently say hello to them in a grocery store.Whoa. Where were we? Oh yeah. Buster Posey.He just hit a bomb. A comic-book bomb. A how-can-you-not-vote-for-me-as-your-rookie-of-the-year bomb.Amazing player. Amazing kid. Level-headed, humble, gifted to the point of wondering why whatever forces dictate such things dont share the wealth a little more evenly.But can we please lose the song?You know the song. Who you gonna call? Ghost Busters!Were San Francisco, people. We have class. We have style. We dont rip off Harold Ramis in the name of honoring our stud ballplayers. Buster Posey? Love him. Love that he knocks balls out of the yard. Ghost Busters? Knock it off.
UPDATED: 2:17 P.M.
Torres Story Just Keeps Getting Better
Hey, forget about the ADD or ADHD or whatever it is that afflicts Andres Torrres medically. Even without that, hes a ridiculously good story, and it just got better when he homered to snap a 1-1 tie.I can dismiss the ADDADHD angle because I have ADHD, too. Its difficult, its a challenge, its not fun, its embarrassing at times. But its not something that stops you from living a normal life. I dont even take medication anymore; I make lists that help me keep my life on track.But this isnt about me. Its not about learning disabilities or chemical imbalances. Its about Torres. Its about a 30-something journeyman emerging as a key figure on a playoff team -- and yeah, I said it. The Giants are a playoff team. If they arent, I promise to eat six night-crawlers on the Public House patio, on camera, on Oct. 4. Theyre a playoff team in part because of Torres, who just electrified the crowd here with his 16th homer of the year. Think about it. Hes hit 16 homers. Thats three more than Pandoval!And whos more popular? Torres. Deservedly so.
UPDATED: 1:52 P.M.
Slip Slidin' Through Danger
MadisonBumgarner is trying to secure the first home victory of his career today, andit goes without saying that today would be a fine day to get er done.(Then why, if itgoes without saying, did I just say it? I didnt. I wrote it. Big difference.)Anyway, he justgave up the tying run, but if recent form holds, were but a Pat Burrell orJuan Uribe or Buster Posey home run away from the Giants reclaiming the leadand getting young Madison his long-lost first W at AT&T.If that happens,itll be because Bumgarner is throwing one of the dirtiest sliders Ive ever seen.There is aslurve slider, and there is a hard slider. The slurve is a little slower andloopier. The hard slider bites hard. What Bumgarner is featuring today is alittle bit of both.It loops hard,if that makes sense. Even if it doesnt to you, the important thing is that isdoesnt to the Diamondbacks, either. They look like one-legged pelicans withvision issues trying to catch flying fish right now. UPDATED: 1:38 P.M.
I wrote thismorning about Arizona starter Barry Enrights reluctance to pitch inside.Pablo Sandovaljust showed everyone why Mr. Enright doesnt like to go there.Enright tried tosneak a high fastball past the Panda, and the Panda pounced.A good 400-plusfeet later, the ball landed in McCovey Cove, and the standing-room-only crowd atAT&T Park went absolutely nuts. Fans have beenwaiting for six months for such a moment from the Round Mound of Very LittleSound, and they took the opportunity to get extremely loud. By the way,doesnt the name Barry Enright sound like the name of someone who grew upprivileged, in a silver-spoon type of way? Perhaps somewhere in the Hamptons,where he attended a super-exclusive private school that requires sweater vestsand extra-curricular activities such as rare-coin collecting?
And after that hewent to Brown, despite having crappy grades, because his Mummy used to date theheadmaster or something, and then he landed a role on General Hospital?Barry EnrightIII, Esq. Yeah, that sounds about right.
UPDATED: 1:22 P.M.
Huff's Dig Emblematic of Unexpected Giants "D"
Remember whenAubrey Huff dropped the very first ball thrown to him this spring? Remember howthat served as the jumping-off point to a lengthy discussion about how porousthe defense would be?Now look atHuff. He just dug a throw out of the dirt (low toss from Pablo Sandoval) to end the top of the second inning,and it should serve as the jumping-off point to a lengthy discussion about howgood the Giants defense has been this year.Im not sayingtheyre going to win multiple Gold Gloves. Fact is, they arent going to winany. But between Huff at first base, Freddy Sanchez at second, Andres Torres incenter field and Buster Posey behind the plate, theyve got four above-averagedefenders.Thats four morethan anyone expected.
UPDATED: 1:11 P.M.
Latest Rotation Change Fuels Pressbox Buzz
As Madison Bumgarner rolled through the first inning here, the pressboxremained abuzz over the Giants latest rotation change.Matt Cains beenmoved up to Friday, with Barry Zito bumped back to Saturday.If the Giantswin today, Fridays game is a potential clincher, so its understandable thatCain would be tabbed for that start. But part of the buzz is that the Giantsare putting all their eggs in the Friday basket.Bruce Bochy sayshes making the move to keep Cain on regular rest -- four days. But Cain hasbeen pitching on five days of rest lately because of all the Mondays off. The unspoken, ofcourse, is that Bochy doesnt trust Zito with Fridays game. But lets sayCain carves. He does that a lot. He has his whole career, and particularly thismonth. But hes also lost a ton of games in which hes carved, for one reasonor another.So lets sayCain carves and still loses. Now Saturday is by far the biggest game of theyear. Is anyone entirely comfortable with Zito making that start?And as good asJonathan Sanchez has been, lets say Zito loses Saturday. Sanchez, as we allknow, can be a bit of a mixed bag emotionally. Why not keepZito on the five days of rest on which hes been working recently and let himtake the rock Friday? If he loses, Cain is pitching the biggest game of theyear. Is that not more attractive?Maybe not.Obviously not to the Giants.Good thing theyhave Lincecum, on regular rest, ready for Monday. This could get dicey. --MychaelUrban

Sharks dominate Ducks for two wins in two nights

Sharks dominate Ducks for two wins in two nights


ANAHEIM -- Mikkel Boedker had two goals and an assist, Joe Thornton had a goal and an assist, and the San Jose Sharks beat the Anaheim Ducks 6-2 on Sunday night.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Kevin Labanc and Melker Karlsson also scored for the Sharks, who have won five of six. Aaron Dell stopped 33 shots.

Rickard Rakell and Ryan Getzlaf scored for Anaheim. John Gibson stopped only 17 of 22 shots and was replaced after giving up his fifth goal. Anaheim had a four-game home winning streak snapped.

Four goals came in the third period. First, Anaheim pulled within one when Ondrej Kase stole the puck from behind the net and quickly fed Getzlaf, who fired it past Dell.

One minute later, the Sharks answered when Thornton's slap shot went in.

Boedker's second goal gave San Joe a 5-2 lead, and Karlsson's goal on goalie Ryan Miller made it a runaway.

The Ducks first found the net in the final minute of the second period, but that took a two-man advantage and a bit of luck.

Rakell was camped a few feet below the crease when he snapped a shot. San Jose's Justin Braun stuck out a stick, but it deflected the puck off the back of Dell's arm and into the net.

It was Rakell's team-high 17th goal this season.

San Jose appeared to take a commanding 3-0 lead on a power play in the second period. Boedker fired a shot from the top of the right circle that whistled past Gibson.

The Sharks took a 2-0 lead early in the second period when Anaheim's No.1 line turned the puck over. Thornton snapped it out to Labanc, who popped free for a breakaway. He beat Gibson on his short side for his fifth goal.

The Sharks took a 1-0 lead late in the first period on a nifty give-and-go when Tomas Hertl skated down the far side and sent a pass through the legs of Anaheim's Brandon Montour and right to Vlasic in front of the net.

Vlasic snapped it past Gibson for his seventh goal of the season.


Sharks: Return to San Jose on Tuesday night to play the Jets.

Ducks: Remain at home to play the Rangers on Tuesday night.

49ers veteran expected to play in Pro Bowl thanks to Eagles


49ers veteran expected to play in Pro Bowl thanks to Eagles

Veteran 49ers left tackle Joe Staley is expected to benefit from the Philadelphia Eagles’ trip to the Super Bowl.

Staley, originally chosen as an alternate, is expected to be named to his sixth Pro Bowl to take the place of Eagles Pro Bowl tackle Lane Johnson.

The Pro Bowl will be played Sunday, Jan. 28, in Orlando, Florida. Members of the Super Bowl participant Eagles and New England Patriots will not play in the All-Star game. The Eagles advanced to the Super Bowl on Sunday with a 38-7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

The other Pro Bowl offensive tackles representing the NFC are Dallas’ Tyron Smith and Los Angeles’ Andrew Whitworth, who replaced Washington’s Trent Williams.

Staley got off to a rough start last season as the 49ers opened on a nine-game losing streak. The idea of his career coming to an end began to creep into his mind, he said recently on the 49ers Insider Podcast.

But Staley said he had a talk with coach Kyle Shanahan that got him refocused for the remainder of the season. The 49ers finished with a five-game win streak to finish with a 6-10 record, and Staley played well down the stretch.

“I’m so far gone from where I was in that moment early in the year that I’m just focused on next year and, hopefully, years after that,” said Staley, 33, an 11-year NFL veteran. “I feel like I can still play.

“I think this last half of the season I played some of the best football of my career. I feel very confident in what we’re doing schematically with the people surrounding us, and it shows in my own play.”

Staley would join fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who was the only 49ers player named to the Pro Bowl when the teams were announced in last month.