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Urban: Giants have the momentum, A's have arms

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Urban: Giants have the momentum, A's have arms

May 19, 2011
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Mychael UrbanCSNBayArea.com

When in doubt, go the easy route: blame the Cubs.Specifically, blame Chicago. The Windy City's inclement weather Sunday blew away the opportunity to watch what was lined up as the three most exciting pitching matchups in the Bay Bridge Series' recent history. Without Sunday's rainout, which pushed Tim Lincecum's scheduled start to Monday, the expected trio of sellout crowds at AT&T Park this weekend would have been treated to Lincecum vs. Oakland ace Trevor Cahill in Friday's opener, Jonathan Sanchez vs. Brett Anderson in a battle of nasty southpaws on Saturday, and stoic Matt Cain vs. spastic Gio Gonzalez in Sunday's finale.No. 1s, No. 2s and No. 3s squaring off for Bay Area bragging rights. What a story it could have been.That said, it's not like the matchups we'll see instead are dogs. The A's are still trotting out the best three pitchers on what might be the best young staff in the American League. The Giants' new No. 5, Ryan Vogelsong, has plenty of momentum heading into his meeting with Cahill. Lincecum vs. Anderson should be a doozy, and there's something quite appealing about Sanchez vs. Gonzalez, two lefties with no-hit stuff but occasionally combustible command of the mental side of the game.PODCAST: Battle of the BayWho has the edge? That's a tough one, but if you happen to think momentum actually means anything in such situations, the Giants seem to have the upper hand.They're coming off a 3-3 road trip that started 1-3 and ended with a two-game sweep of their real rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers -- with both victories of the thrilling, good-to-the-last pitch variety. On Wednesday, Cody Ross hit a tie-breaking homer with two out in the ninth to give San Francisco an 8-5 victory. Thursday saw Nate Schierholtz turn in the Giants' defensive play of the year, a diving catch to end the game with the bases loaded, securing a 3-1 victory for previously winless Madison Bumgarner, picking up shaky closer Brian Wilson and covering for Ross himself, whose approach to Rod Barajas' looping single into left field with two out and nobody on was probably a tad too cautious for some tastes.Given the myriad injuries the Giants have suffered of late, a road split was big -- don't expect the A's, who long ago cornered the market on debilitating injuries, to have much sympathy -- and pushed the defending world champions' record over their past 15 games to an impressive 11-4.Returning to the shores of McCovey Cove will feel awfully good to the Giants, too. Their previous homestead featured six wins in six games against six sellout crowds.
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The A's? They just got swept in a two-game series by the worst team in baseball, the Minnesota Twins -- at home in Oakland.But you know what most baseball people say about momentum. It doesn't mean a thing. Momentum is that day's starting pitcher. And the A's have one of the best in the game going Friday in Cahill, whose stuff makes that of Vogelsong look pedestrian by comparison.So it's not going to be easy for the Giants by any stretch. The trio of A's pitchers working this weekend has more than enough potential to repeat the three-game massacre that Oakland slapped on struggling San Francisco in Oakland last season, when the Giants scored a not-so-grand total of one run in the series that serves as the impetus to take a flier on recently released Pat Burrell. It should be noted, though, that this edition of the A's is every bit as capable of seeing the tables turned. They're every bit as bad offensively, for the most part, as the Giants were at this time last season.COHN: Predicting the Bay Area's best pitchers in 2016
Then again, the Giants aren't exactly a juggernaut, either. They have, however, displayed the ability to step up their game against particularly tough pitchers.They beat Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley in L.A. They've handled Ubaldo Jimenez fairly well, too, although this year's Jimenez is a shadow of last year's.Can they do the same against Cahill, Anderson and Gonzalez? We'll know by Sunday evening. It should be a hell of a series either way.If it's not, it'll be for one of two reasons. One, of course, is the weather in the Windy City. The other is this whole end-of-the-world, rapture business. And truth be told, that's probably the Cubbies' fault, too.

CJ McCollum would never sign with the Warriors to win a title, 'that's disgusting'

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AP

CJ McCollum would never sign with the Warriors to win a title, 'that's disgusting'

CJ McCollum is continuing to make headlines.

The Blazers guard was recently in China and made an apperance on China Central Television.

He was asked the following question:

"Maybe in the future, the Warriors would become a team that everybody when he became a free agent would join them, get a championship, and then go to another team ... what do you think?"

McCollum's response:

"I would never do anything of that nature. I think that's disgusting. It's disgusting. I would never do that," McCollum declared. "I'm not built like those guys. I was raised differently.

"I think some players will take that route. But most guys have too much pride, want to really win on their own or in their certain organizations and aren't just gonna jump the bandwagon."

Oh my.

Obviously, not every star free agent wants to sign with the Warriors, nor is it possible for every star free agent to come to Golden State.

It's unclear if McCollum's strong feelings are aimed towards future players who join the Warriors, or if he's directing his words at Kevin Durant and/or DeMarcus Cousins.

Based on his podcast conversation with Durant, it seems like it's probably some of both...

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Brawl notes: Giants confused by Hundley's ejection, umpire explanation

Brawl notes: Giants confused by Hundley's ejection, umpire explanation

LOS ANGELES — When Major League Baseball eventually comes for the umpires, replacing them with pitch-tracking technology, perhaps they’ll explain the switch with a simple phrase.

“Watch the tape.”

That’s about all Eric Cooper had to say late Tuesday night when a pool reporter asked why Nick Hundley had been ejected despite not throwing any punches at Yasiel Puig. 

“Watch the tape,” Cooper said. “You’ll see why he had to be ejected.”

Well, not really. First of all, Hundley was wearing a catcher’s mask, so it was hard to tell what he was saying to Puig. Hundley and Puig went face-to-face, but it was Puig who twice shoved Hundley, with the catcher reaching out both times to block the move. The Giants were baffled that Hundley was ejected after a long conversation between the umpires. 

“I don’t get it, either, to be honest,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We’ll see what the (umpires) report says. You’re going to defend yourself.”

Hundley said he’s not concerned about any discipline from the league.

“I was defending myself. He was defending himself. I don’t see why it should go any further than that,” he said. 

--- This fight escalated quickly but there wasn’t actually much action, with one exception. As Hundley was being held back, Puig ran back in, threw a few teammates out of the way, and tried to punch Hundley. He ended up slapping his mask with an open hand as Hundley was being held back. 

“I saw him coming,” Hundley said. “Unfortunately I wasn’t able to defend myself in that spot, being tangled up with someone else. The league will look at that. That’s something that’s up to the league to discipline somebody. That’s not my job to enforce any behavioral things.”

--- Hundley was held back, and essentially tackled, by first base coach George Lombard. He later came out onto the top step of the dugout and had a brief conversation with Lombard. Hundley said he was checking to make sure Lombard didn’t get hurt in the altercation. 

--- Lost in all that, Andrew Suarez had his best start in over a month. Suarez gave up some loud contact, but threw six shutout innings. He got all four strikeouts with his fastball and said that was the plan. 

“I’ve noticed a lot of teams are spitting on my sliders lately,” he said. 

Suarez went heavy with the heater in two-strike counts and had a big night. He also won bragging rights. Suarez and Manny Machado have been playing on the same fields since they were eight, and while Machado hit the ball hard twice, he didn’t get a hit off Suarez.