Urban: Giants' Sandoval stepping up huge


Urban: Giants' Sandoval stepping up huge

August 22, 2011


Follow @MUrbanCSN
Mychael Urban

Just in case you forgot to do so in the giddy aftermath of Sunday's game-winning homer, now would be a really good time to step back from the ledge and appreciate everything that Pablo Sandoval means to your 2011 Giants.As desperately as it was needed, the home run was almost beside the point. The point is that he was standing in the batter's box at all.In the 11th inning. Having previously been in the same box, batting left-handed against left-handed pitching -- more or less an out waiting to happen.Why would he put himself in such a position? Because he senses the desperation of the situation, and because he desperately wants to be part of the solution.RECAP: Sandoval to the rescue, Giants avoid sweep
It's called leadership, and it's a part of Sandoval's game that we've never really seen before. Now we're not only seeing it, but we're seeing it in its most pure form.We know all about Sandoval's personality and how it filters through the clubhouse. He's a big kid. He's almost always "up." His enthusiasm, energy and joy are infectious. You take one look at the guy and feel better about your place in the world. He'll smile at you. He'll tease you. He'll make up a handshake for you. That kind of thing matters in baseball. It might not sound like much, but it is. Baseball is an absolute grind, and anything that lightens the mood and reminds its professional practitioners -- especially at this time of year -- that it is a child's game and extremely fun and lucrative to play at this level is a highly welcome respite.But having a sunny disposition only goes so far. Attitude probably ranks third on the list of sports needs. At the root, any athletic endeavor is about performance first and foremost, with guts a close second. Fortunately for the Giants, Sandoval is killing it on all three fronts.RELATED: Pablo Sandoval stats
Sunday's homer served as a nice little bow to the package, but the bow was just a bow -- an impressive visual. The package has been there all along, and it's loomed larger than ever in the past week.The foot injury he suffered last Monday night alone could have shelved him for the rest of the week. Nuh, uh. Too many people on that shelf already, he decided. His team needed him. He played -- demanded to play -- the next day.
Then the shoulder started barking, limiting him to one-side swinging. Missed one game. (You reading this, Mr. Beltran?)
Two games later, Sandoval wins one with an extra-innings homer, records the final out of the game on defense and makes a bee-line for the trainers' room so he can strap it on and try to do it all over again Tuesday, Wednesday and for the rest of what remains of his scuffling team's season-gone-wrong.That's performance. That's guts. And that's why when the Giants gather 'round to vote on the Willie Mac Award next month, they'd better vote for Pablo.

Joerger shakes things up, Cauley-Stein responds with big game


Joerger shakes things up, Cauley-Stein responds with big game

SACRAMENTO -- Faced with demotion, you have two options, sulk or come out swinging. Willie Cauley-Stein chose option two Friday evening at Golden 1 Center.

After starting all 14 games to begin the season, Cauley-Stein found himself relegated to the second unit against the Portland Trail Blazers. The 7-footer looked energized by the move and made one play after another as the Kings came away with the 86-82 victory.

“I felt free - period,” Cauley-Stein said following the win. “Both offensively, defensively. I’m quarterbacking on defense. I’m getting to make plays on offense. I just feel liberated. I feel like it’s unlocking.”

The third-year big began the 2017-18 campaign with back-to-back double-doubles, but hadn’t notched double-figures in rebounds since. Over his previous eight games, the Kings’ starting center was averaging just 4.3 boards per game.

Against Portland, Cauley-Stein played sparkling defense, hit 9-of-17 from the floor for a team-high 22 points and hit the glass for 10 boards. He skied above the Blazers bigs for a rebound with 3.4 seconds remaining and his second free throw attempt sealed the win for a Kings team in desperate need of a win.

“Willie’s a hell of a player, obviously,” veteran big Kosta Koufos said. “He’s really athletic, he’s a special talent.”

Koufos and Cauley-Stein made a devastating defensive duo for Sacramento. Both bigs showed on the high pick-and-roll and avoided fouling the Blazers high-powered guards.

“That’s a crazy defensive lineup right there, me and Kosta play really well together,” Cauley-Stein said. “I’ve been waiting for that lineup since we started.”

Damian Lillard scored 29 points, but he shot just 9-of-25 from the field and 5-for-14 from long range. C.J. McCollum knocked down 8-of-15 from the floor, but he missed all four of his 3-point attempts as Sacramento closed out and pressured the shooter all night long.

Cauley-Stein wasn’t the only starter to find himself on the bench to start the game. Dave Joerger turned to a dual point guard backcourt, using De’Aaron Fox and George Hill side-by-side, while bringing rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic in with the second unit.

Playing off the ball for long stretches, Hill responded to the move with 14 points and five assists in 27 minutes. Fox had a quiet offensive night, but his defense on both Lillard and McCollum was inspired.

“We can both attack and he’s a great shooter so that really helps me,” Fox said of Hill. “He’s a mentor on the court. It’s a lot easier to play with him then to watch him play.”

Sacramento held Portland to just 37 percent shooting overall and 28 percent from behind the arc. They pressured the Blazers in the backcourt and slowed the game to screeching halt.

With the win, the Kings snapped their three-game losing streak and improved to 4-11 on the season. They jumped a plane for Portland following the game where they’ll face the same Trail Blazer team Saturday in a rare back-to-back against the same team.

The Kings likely be without the services of shooting guard Buddy Hield, who left the game in the fourth quarter with a sprained right ankle. Hield limped into the locker room on crutches following the victory and the initial indications point to him missing the rematch.

A's hire Matt Williams as third base coach


A's hire Matt Williams as third base coach

OAKLANDThe Oakland A’s named Matt Williams as third base coach on Bob Melvin’s coaching staff for the 2018 season, the club announced today.

Williams spent five seasons on the Arizona Diamondbacks coaching staff as first base coach (2010) and third base coach (2011-13, 16) and also managed the Washington Nationals for two seasons.  He was named National League Manager of the Year by the BBWAA in his first season as manager in 2014, guiding the Nationals to a 96-66 record and an NL East title.  He went 83-79 in 2015 for a 179-145 (.552) record in two seasons as manager.

Williams played 17 seasons in the majors with San Francisco (1987-96), Cleveland (1997) and Arizona (1998-2003).  He was a .268 career hitter with 378 home runs and 1218 RBI in 1866 games.  Williams was a five-time All-Star and won four Gold Gloves as a third baseman.

A's Media Services