Urban: NLCS Playoff Blog, Game 4


Urban: NLCS Playoff Blog, Game 4

Oct. 20, 2010

UPDATED: 7:32 p.m.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Whoa.Id have posted this update a few minutes earlier, but AT&T Park was shaking so hard I couldnt pin down my keyboard.When Pablo Sandoval shrugged off what appeared to be a very big and badcall against him by tagging a two-run double in the bottom of the sixthinning, it capped the greatest single mini-drama of an at-bat Ive seenin a long, long time.With runners at second and third with nobody out thanks to duh CodyRoss, the beleaguered Panda pulled a ball down the right-field linethat appeared to catch paint. It was immediately ruled foul, drawing ahowl of protest from Sandoval and an angry sprint out of the dugoutfrom Giants manager Bruce Bochy.Its not a reviewable call, though (yet), so it stood, and the sellout crowd roared its displeasure. Moments later, Sandoval sent a pitch roaring into the arcade aboveMcCovey Cove way foul this time with a look of utter disdain on hisface before bitterly swatting his bat with his hand.The man was not going to be denied. You could see it on his face. Thiswas not the cuddly, infectiously happy Kung Fu Panda. This was an angryand determined Panda, ready to kick some serious ass.And he did, drilling a high fastball into the left-center gap to givethe Giants a 5-4 lead, and as he pulled into second base he imploredthe ape-nuts crowd to go full-throat gorilla, lifting them upfiguratively if not nearly literally with both arms, up and down once,twice, three times with feeling.And up the crowd went. And went. And the Giants giddy dugout of grown men went with them.Just a phenomenal moment. For Sandoval, for Giants players, for Giants fans.And dont think there werent some wide-eyes folks from Philly in thispress box shaking their heads in awe, trying their best to conceal thatyes, it was a pretty phenomenal moment -- at least to witness -- forthem, too.

UPDATED: 7:10 p.m.

SANFRANCISCO -- Was the result of the Madison Bumgarner-v-Joe Blantonmatchup the same, or the opposite, of what came out of Tim Lincecum v.Roy Halladay?In terms of hype, pretty dissimilar. Lincecum-Halladay is the Policeheadlining in their prime; Bumgarner-Blanton is Oingo Boingo headliningcounty fairs on the way down from the middle of the musical mountain.But unlike Lincecum vs. Halladay, which was nice but not nearly asnuclear as wed been led to believe, Bumgarner-Blanton came pretty closeto living up to the advance billing. Or did they live down to it?Tomayto, tohmahto.In failing, both, to get out of fifth inning, both looked very much like the No. 4 starters they are.

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.

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