Bay Area Topics
Giants NLDS Game 4
The San Francisco Giants stumbled at home in Game 3 of the NLDS, failing to bust out the brooms against the Washington Nationals in front of a what would become a subdued crowd at AT&T Park. Staff ace Madison Bumgarner practically threw the game away, chucking an ill-fated throw down the third-base line to enable the Nationals’ go-ahead three-run rally in the seventh inning. Bumgarner was solid, but his effort wasn’t good enough to propel the Giants to the NLCS on Monday night, forcing the orange and black into a dire situation despite having a two games-to-one series advantage.
Make no mistake: the Giants have zero intentions of packing their bags for the nation’s capital. Even though they remain confident in their ability to win on the road, it’s vital for them to take advantage of home field advantage in Game 4. Ryan Vogelsong will dictate whether the Giants are able to celebrate a series-clinching win in front of their fans, or if this squad is destined for yet another winner-take-all game on Thursday night.
Vogelsong isn’t renowned as being a prototypical big-game pitcher, but his postseason numbers are stout. The 37-year-old veteran owns a 3-0 record with a 1.09 ERA over 24.2 innings in four October starts. Each of his four postseason turns happened during the Giants’ 2012 title run. He’s nowhere near as efficient now as he was then, though.
Vogelsong has been a hard-knock loser for the Giants for most of the 2014 season. San Francisco lost three of Vogelsong’s six starts in August, despite the right-hander never allowing more than three runs. The wheels then came off in September. Vogelsong pitched past the sixth inning just once after August 29, allowing four runs or more in four of his five starts.
That can’t happen if the Giants expect to enjoy their third champagne shower in less than two weeks.
In an interview on the “Rich Eisen Show” on DirecTV, York dismissed a report from FOX’s Jay Glazer, who said Sunday that Harbaugh wouldn’t return to the 49ers in 2015, even if he wins a Super Bowl.
“That’s categorically not true,” York said.
In addition, York said the belief the relationship between Harbaugh and the front office has become nearly untenable is inaccurate. York indirectly acknowledged Harbaugh has bruised feelings during his three-plus seasons before referencing Harbaugh’s sterling resume: He has a 39-13-1 record with the 49ers and is the only coach in NFL history to reach a conference title game in each of his first three seasons.
His point: Winning trumps personality.
York agreed Harbaugh, who has referred to himself as “moody and complicated,” thrives amid tension and conflict.
“In terms about sustainability, every coach will move on at some point,” York said. “And I don’t think Jim is at that point.”
York termed the relationship between Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke as “very professional.” At one point, York said “they work well together.” He later amended that to “they work fairly well together.”
Kings Preseason Opener
In case you missed it (and you probably did, considering it wasn’t on TV in Sacramento) the Kings had their first preseason game last night. It was a decent game considering the circumstances, and now I have the glorious opportunity to overreact to everything we saw last night.
Michael Malone noted throughout training camp that he was going to be playing different lineups during the preseason, and the starters in game one won’t necessarily be the starters once the regular season begins. With that being said, the Kings started the game with Darren Collison, Ben McLemore, Rudy Gay, Jason Thompson, and DeMarcus Cousins. No real surprises there.
That unit didn’t play particularly well, especially in the first half. They looked like a team that didn’t know what they wanted to do offensively. Cousins didn’t get the ball nearly enough. Collison was in early foul trouble, but you could tell that he was making a conscious effort to promote ball movement with his play. This may sound like a positive, and it is to some degree, but he didn’t make himself an offensive threat. We all like the idea of a passing point guard (Collison isn’t necessarily that, but he played that way last night) however, Collison passed up a few shots he probably shouldn’t have. Ben McLemore also struggled early, missing a few jumpers the Kings are going to need him to hit, and his defense could have been better. Rudy Gay was hardly noticeable. I actually thought Jason Thompson was the Kings best starter in the first quarter. Like I said, not a great start.
Warriors Preseason Opener
Stephen Curry knows exactly how he’ll feel when he strolls back into the Staples Center on Tuesday for the Warriors’ first exhibition game of the 2014-15 season.
He won’t be able to help but to think back about his last season came to an end in a first-round Game 7 in that very same building.
“I know I will have some sour thoughts, because that was the last place I suited up last year,” the Warriors’ point guard said. “You understand the emotions you have, but it’ll probably be over really quickly, because I’m looking forward to this year.”
After just a week of training camp, the Warriors will play their first preseason game. Steve Kerr said he’ll open the game with Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, David Lee and Andrew Bogut – the group that combined to go 30-13 last season – but the new coach hasn’t decided how long he’ll play his starters.
For Kerr, Tuesday’s game against the Clippers and this week’s two games against the Lakers are merely an extension of training camp. He wants to give minutes to a lot of players and will focus on his team’s offensive execution and defensive principles, instead of scouting the Los Angeles teams.
According to Kerr, the first exhibition games will be mostly about conditioning and finding a rhythm. The final four or even as few as the final two exhibition games will look like regular-season rotations and the scoreboard will be taken more seriously.