Urban: Series bigger for Philly than Giants


Urban: Series bigger for Philly than Giants

July 26, 2011


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Mychael Urban

PHILADELPHIA -- It's a big series, no question. But to whom is it bigger?Virtually every bit of evidence points to this three-game rematch of last year's National League Championship Series being a bigger deal to the Phillies and their fans.RECAP: Phillies pound Zito, Giants drop opener 7-2
Especially their fans. Good lord, are these Philly phans phired up.How do you know this is a big damn deal here? The local media is all over it, and that in itself makes it big. Sports-talk radio, even with the return of the NFL, was smothered in Phils-Giants chatter late Monday and all of Tuesday. Same deal on the tube. And based on how many satellite trucks were parked outside Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday, you'd think it really was the NLCS.

The fans are all over it, too, adding to the electric atmosphere not just at the park, but in the entire City of Brotherly Love and the surrounding areas. On Monday night at about midnight, in a local watering hole, the Braves were on the big screens -- but the Giants were on the patrons' minds."Revenge is gonna be sweet, bro," said a 33-year-old Philly native who goes by the name Deli Dave, wears a green Phillies lid that looks older than him and drops "bro" at the end of virtually every sentence. "The Giants got lucky last year, bro. Everybody knows it, bro. You know it, right, bro? Tell me you know it, bro."Having been told that his partner in conversation, his newfound bro, did not believe in luck when it comes to a seven-game postseason series, Deli Dave turned tail and left wide open for interpretation his final, disgusted statement on the issue: "Bro!"Yet Deli Dave, cartoonish as he might seem, isn't far off a fair representation of Phillies fans when it comes to this series. They're kind of nuts about the whole thing, as if last year's NLCS loss still hurts, as though Ryan Howard's strikeout happened days ago rather than months. That's why, when Raul Ibanez's three-run homer during the Phillies' four-run first inning against Whipping Boy Zito landed in the bleachers, the roar of the crowd sounded more like a mass catharsis than standard baseball joy.Oh, and the Giants fans brave enough to wear their team colors for the series opener? Heckled harder than they were last fall."Brutal," said Jordan Hallery, a Philly resident who grew up just outside of San Francisco and still bleeds and wears orange and black. "I don't mean to be dramatic, but wow. It was a little scary how mad some of these people are at anything associated with the Giants."And that was before the game even started.Meanwhile, Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval, lounging just outside the visitors' dugout before batting practice, was asked if this particular series felt bigger than usual.The look he shot before responding was essentially a non-verbal, "Bro!""Just another game, just another series," said the Panda. "No big deal to me, man."It is a big deal to some of the people in uniform, mind you. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, after his club beat Zito with three homers despite having to juggle its lineup when Tim Lincecum was scratched about 90 minutes before the scheduled first pitch, called it a "great way to start a big series."Over in the losing clubhouse, ever-eager Andres Torres played the anti-Sandoval."It's big for us, too," he said. "Last year is over."Ah, but is it? Not to Philadelphia, it's not.

How seven Giants prospects performed in the 2017 Arizona Fall League


How seven Giants prospects performed in the 2017 Arizona Fall League

The Arizona Fall League came to an end for seven Giants prospects on Thursday as the Scottsdale Scorpions (12-17-1) came up short from playing in Saturday's championship game. 

Let's take a look at how these seven names fared against some of the top young talent in all of baseball. 

The Hitters

As the Giants are linked to trade targets in center field like Billy Hamilton and Jackie Bradley Jr., a young in-house option only helped his case in the desert.

Steven Duggar likely would have seen the AT&T outfield this season, but his season was hindered by injuries, keeping him to only 44 games between three levels. With the Scorpions, Duggar took advantage of his opportunity with more at-bats. 

Duggar left Arizona with a .263/.367/.421 slash line over 20 games. The speedy lefty also stole nine bases and hit three home runs. Even if the Giants go for an experienced glove in center field this offseason and keep Duggar, the 24-year-old has also played 135 games in right field during his minor league career. 

For the second straight year, the Giants sent catcher Aramis Garcia to the AFL. And he's sure to be coming home much happier this go around with an up-and-down campaign.

Splitting time behind the plate with three other catchers, Garcia appeared in 13 games and slashed .259/.293/.333 and hit one home run. Garcia struggled to get one base with only one walk to 10 strikeouts, but showed his natural ability to drive runs in with 10 RBI. 

Rounding out the Giants' trio of bats they sent to Arizona is arguably their top prospect, but his time in the AFL was cut short. Chris Shaw only played in five games and hit .158. He dealt with a sore shoulder.

The Pitchers

The Giants sent two starting pitchers (Tyler Beede and Joan Gregorio) and two relievers (Tyler Cyr and D.J. Snelten) to the AFL. 

Pitching for the first time in nearly three months, Beede showed exactly why he's the Giants' top pitching prospect. Beede went 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in four starts, but his final three show the potential he's full of -- 14 innings pitched, three earned runs, a 1.93 ERA, 10 strikeouts and only one walk. 

Gregorio, who was suspended this season for Performance Enhancing Drugs, pitched in eight games (three starts) for Scottsdale. He left with a 1-0 record and 5.87 ERA. In Triple-A, Gregorio went 4-4 with a 3.04 ERA this year over 13 starts. The 25-year-old presents an interesting arm that can help sooner than later in the bullpen. 

Cyr's stats don't look pretty (0-1, 5.63 ERA, 8 IP), but he's catching some attention. The right-hander was named to the Fall Stars Game and is most likely to start 2018 in Triple-A after converting 18 saves at Double-A in 2017. 

Snelten, a 6-foot-7 lefty, impressed in eight appearances out of the bullpen. He didn't allow an earned run until his final outing of the fall, bringing his ERA from a perfect 0.00 to 2.25 in 12 innings pitched.

After combining for a 2.20 ERA to go with an 8-1 record between Double-A and Triple-A in 2017, Snelten is a name to know as the Giants look to find more lefties for their bullpen.

Former 49ers quarterback takes over under center for Cardinals


Former 49ers quarterback takes over under center for Cardinals

TEMPE, Ariz. — Blaine Gabbert will get his first start for the Arizona Cardinals when they play the Texans in Houston on Sunday.

Coach Bruce Arians announced the decision after Friday's practice.

Drew Stanton, the starter the last two games, bruised his knee early in the Thursday night loss to Seattle last week. He stayed in the game but has been limited in practice all week.

Arians said it will be a game-time decision as to whether Stanton or recently signed Matt Barkley would be Gabbert's backup.

Gabbert will be making his 41st NFL start. He has a 9-31 record. He signed with Arizona last offseason and was the third quarterback until Carson Palmer broke his arm against the Los Angeles Rams in London and was lost for the season.