Warriors subdue Lakers to win final preseason game, 124-103

Photo credit: @warriors

By Jerry Feitelberg

SAN FRANCISCO — The Golden State Warriors downed the Los Angeles Lakers 124-103 to finish the preseason with a 2-3 record. People have to keep in mind that the preseason games are used to see how the new players will mesh with the returning veterans. The Warriors used many combinations in the first four games to see who they would keep on the roster. The process was complicated by injuries to several players. Kevon Looney, Willie Cauley Stein, Alec Burks, and Alen Smailagic did not play a single minute in the preseason. Will the two big men available, Marquese Chriss, taking advantage of the opportunity, earn a spot on the roster? The 22-year old big man will probably start at center next Thursday when the Warriors open the season against the revamped Los Angeles Clippers. The Warriors released Alfonzo McKinnie on Friday to make room for Chriss. The Warriors were up against the salary cap and had to either release McKinnie or trade a player. Golden State opted to release McKinnie.

As for Friday night’s game, the Warriors beat the Lakers for the first time this preseason. Perennial All-Star LeBron James did not play. The Lakers rested their other three big men. Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, and JaVale McGee all rested. The Lakers started Jared Dudley at the center position Friday night. Even with the big men on the Lakers’ bench, the Warriors began slowly. They trailed the Lakers 24-14 when they went on a 12-4 run late in the first period to trail by five 29-24. They outscored the Lakers 7-3 in the last minutes to close the gap to one 32-31.

Early in the second quarter, the Warriors grabbed the lead for the first time 41-40. Steph Curry led the Warriors’ offense as they finished the first half with a 16-point advantage 71-55. Curry hit a three as time ran out, and the crowd went crazy. Steph knocked down 22. D’Angelo Russell added 12, and Glenn Robinson had 10. The Lakers’ top scorers were Kentavios Caldwell-Pope with 17, and Zach Norvell had 16. The Warriors outscored the Lakers 40-23 in the second period.

The Warriors did not relinquish the lead in the third quarter. The Lakers, however, outscored Golden State by ten and finished the period trailing by six 94-88. The Warriors regrouped. D’Angelo Russell played well and drained a couple of threes. Curry re-entered the game with about six minutes left and made a four-point play to help cement the win. Curry knocked down a three and was fouled on the play. He made the free throw to put the Warriors ahead 113-94.  Steph made another three to make it 119-96. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr inserted his bench to finish the game.

Game Notes and Stats: Curry finished the night with 32 points. He made six three in 15 tries. He was on the court for 32 minutes of action. Marquese Chriss had a good night. He had 9 points, 7 boards, and 5 assists. Draymond Green also had 9 points. Green had 12 rebounds and 3 assists. He was on the court for 31 minutes. D’Angelo Russell tallied 29, and he, too, made six threes. Rookie Eric Paschall finished with 11 points and 7 rebounds. Glenn Robinson pitched in with 13 points and six rebounds.

The Lakers had four players in double figures. Caldwell-Pope had 25. Zach Norvell added 29, and he knocked down 5 threes. Rookie Devontae Cacok had a double-double. He recorded 16 points and 10 rebounds. Demetrius Jackson finished with 11 points and 9 assists.

Up Next: The Warriors open the season Thursday, October 24th, at the Chase Center in San Francisco. The LA Clippers will be their opponents. They will be led by Kawhi Leonard. The game will start at 7:30 pm.

Reign dominates Barracuda 5-0 in season opener

Photo credit: @sjbarracuda

By Marko Ukalovic

After have two successful pre-season games, the San Jose Barracuda received a rude awakening in the season opener. It was not the start the team wanted or expected as they were dominated by the Ontario Reign 5-0 on Friday evening at Toyota Arena.

Ontario (1-0) received goals from five different goal scorers in routing San Jose as they scored two goals in both the first and second period to take control of the game.

San Jose (0-1) did not come out flat as they peppered Reign goalie Cal Petersen with 41 shots, including 21 in the second period.

The Reign opened up the scoring midway through the first period when Brett Sutter was able to put a shot past Cuda goalie Josef Kornear at the 10:34 mark. Mario Kempe and Matt Luff received assists.

Sheldon Rempal fed a pass over to Martin Frk, who wasted no time putting the puck in the back of the net for a power play goal late in the first period for a 2-0 lead at the 18:37 mark. Jaret Anderson-Dolan received the secondary assist.

Ontario didn’t waste any time increasing their lead just 22 seconds into the middle period. Kempe picked up his second asssit on the evening when he fed Rasmus Kapuri and he fired a shot past Korenar for his first goal of the season.

Once again the Reign scored a late goal to close out the second period. Lance Bouma scored his first goal of the season at the 17:40 mark. Bokondji Imama received the only asssist.

Anderson-Dolan completed the scoring with a power play goal of his own at the 18:48 mark of the third period. Nikolai Prokhorkin and Mikey Anderson received assists.

Petersen (1-0) stopped all 41 shots he faced for his first shutout of the season. Korenar (0-1) made 27 saves on 32 shots in sufferjng the loss.

GAME NOTES: San Jose went 0/4 on the power play. Ontario was 2/4.

UP NEXT: San Jose plays their home opener on Friday, October 11 as they host the San Diego Gulls at 7:00 pm at SAP Center.

A’s Don’t Help Themselves, Wild Card Race Tied After M’s 4-3 Walk-off Win

Photo credit: @Mariners

By Matthew Harrington

The Oakland A’s clinched a postseason berth Friday night, but it was hardly cause for celebration. By virtue of the Cleveland Indians losing earlier in the night, the A’s knew they’d be locked into a spot in the Wild Card game. The only question is where will that game be played?

The picture didn’t get clearer Friday. The A’s needed a win in Seattle to stay a game ahead of Tampa Bay for home field advantage in the do-or-die game, with the Rays winning earlier in the night. All signs were pointing up when Matt Olson hit a two-run homer in the seventh to give Oakland a 3-2 lead. But closer Liam Hendriks couldn’t hold on to the lead and the Mariners rallied to walk the A’s off 4-3 on a J.P. Crawford double. Now both Oakland and Tampa sit at 96 wins apiece.

Hendriks got a quick out before Mallex Smith singled. The A’s closer bounced back with a punchout of Dylan Moore, but Smith advanced to second and third base on wild pitches and scored easily on a Shed Long single to tie the game. Crawford then took a 3-2 pitch to left field on a line for the walk-off winner.

The A’s were trailing 2-1 heading into the top of the seventh after Seattle scored runs in the top of the first and third innings off Mike Fiers. Marcus Semien’s 33rd homer of the season in the leadoff spot was the lone as run off Justus Sheffield to that point. Matt Chapman singled off reliever Zac Grotz with one out in the seventh, then Taylor Guilbeau was called in to face Olson. Olson hammered a 3-2 count over the wall in left field to give the A’s the 3-2 lead. AJ Puk, Jake Diekman and Joakim Soria all pitched scoreless innings in relief of Fiers, who pitched five strong, but will most likely watch the Wild Card game from the dugout, thanks to the reemergence of Sean Manaea.

The Rays have yet to announce a starter for Saturday’s game against the Blue Jays, but Trent Thornton and his 5.00 ERA will await the Tampa hitters who will step up to the plate eagerly. For Oakland Brett Anderson takes the hill against Marco Gonzalez, who despite a 4.09 ERA has 16 wins to his credit.

Braves clinch division with 6-0 victory over Giants

Photo credit: @Braves

By Jeremy Kahn

When the Atlanta Braves were forced to switch divisions 25 years ago, the season before saw one of the greatest division races in the 25-year history of just two divisions per league.

Back then, the Braves won 104 games, while the San Francisco Giants won 103 and went home; because, there was no wild card.

Once again, the Braves are heading to the postseason after clinching their second consecutive National League Eastern Division championship with a 6-0 victory over the Giants at SunTrust Park.

Ronald Acuna, Jr., hit his 41st home run of the season, as the Braves officially eliminated the Giants from wild card contention in Bruce Bochys 25th and final season as a major-league manager.

Acuna was the star of the game, as he scored three runs and gave Mike Foltynewicz enough to pick up his eighth win of the season.

Foltynewicz went eight innings, as the Braves won their 19th division title, tying the New York Yankees for the most in major-league history since the MLB introduced division play in 1969.

Freddie Freeman got the Braves going in the bottom of the first inning, as he hit a sacrifice fly to give the Braves and Foltynewicz the only run that he would need. Ozzie Albies then added a run-scoring single to stretch the lead.

Acuna and Brian McCann each hit two-run home runs in the fourth and sixth innings respectively to finish off the scoring, and clinch the division for the Braves.

Tyler Beede was the hard luck, as he gave up seven hits on those six runs in six innings of work and he saw his record fell to 5-10 on the season.

Josh Tomlin came on in the top of the ninth inning, as he closed out the game for the Braves, who celebrated on the field after Acuna caught Alex Dickersons fly ball for the final out.

Mike Yastrzemski picked up three of the four Giants hits on the evening, as they fell to 74-80 on the season.

UP NEXT: Johnny Cueto continues his comeback from Tommy John surgery, as he looks for his second win for the season for the Giants. Cueto will be making his third start of the season.

Max Fried goes for his 17th win for the Braves on Saturday evening.

Texas Tough: Homerin’ A’s finish sweep of the Rangers with 6-1 win

By Morris Phillips

Winning the final six games of a seven-game road trip was exactly what the playoff-hopeful A’s needed to move clear of the Indians and Rays in the hunt for the top wild card spot in the American League.

Except that it wasn’t. Now 30 games above .500 for the first time all season, the A’s are leading the race, but certainly not home free. Upon their return to Oakland for Monday’s home game against the Royals, their mission’s not complete.

So what’s next? Just keep it up for 12 more games.

“We have our eyes on hosting a wild-card game,” said Matt Chapman, who homered for the 34th time in the ninth inning, setting the franchise record for home runs in a season with 244.

“We know this time of year you have to win a lot of games and they’re doing it at the right time,” said manager Bob Melvin.

Sean Manaea turned in his third, straight fantastic start, limiting the Rangers to three hits and a walk in six innings. One day after Mike Fiers departed early due to numbness in his pitching hand, Manaea’s outing was exactly what Oakland needed, another indication that the big lefty could play a significant role in a postseason rotation.

Manaea hit the first batter he faced, then allowed a base hit, but settled in quickly after that, inducing Willie Calhoun to hit into a double play. Come the second inning, Manaea was cruising, on his way to retiring 16 of the last 18 batters he faced.

The A’s provided Manaea the working cushion he needed in the fourth when Marcus Semien hit a two-run homer and Seth Brown added a two-run double.

Sean Murphy knocked in a run, and Jesus Lazardo pitched the final, three innings as the A’s also got vital contributions from their youngsters, participating in their first playoff push.

Semien’s 30th homer gave the A’s a trio of 30-homer guys (Chapman, Matt Olson) for the first time since 2001. The A’s bashed 20 home runs in their six-game win streak, all coming after the club was embarrassed in a 15-0 loss to the Astros on Monday.

Now six games after they were shut out and humbled, the A’s have put themselves on the doorstep of a second, consecutive playoff appearance. The journey from last year’s humbling, lightning fast postseason to the possibility of a return all starts with the A’s losing to the Yankees in New York in October.

That one-game playoff at Yankee Stadium was unsatisfying, and maybe gives the A’s their biggest advantage in navigating the season’s final two weeks. Given last year’s experience, the A’s won’t want to go on the road in the one-game playoff.  They’ll be doing whatever they can to host the game and win it, which will allow them a real, postseason experience.

Winning six straight on the road after losing 15-0 may be the best illustration of how they will react.

On Monday, the A’s will turn to Tanner Roark in a matchup with Kansas City’s Glenn Sparkman at 7:05p.m.

 

 

 

Niners look to ride great defense to second win

Photo credit: ninersnation.com

By Jeremy Harness

The 49ers didn’t bring their best offense to the party last Sunday, but the defense stood out and made a statement, and that was enough to get a win on the road to open the 2019 season.

In order to make the travel a little lighter, the team is staying in Youngstown, Oh., this week in preparation to face the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium this Sunday.

The Bengals had a very good showing on the road at Seattle, although they did come out of it with a loss. Quarterback Andy Dalton threw for more than 400 yards against the Seahawks defense, and receiver John Ross had a breakout game with two touchdowns.

So the 49ers defense will have a challenge on its hands, particularly in the secondary. A year ago, the secondary struggled in coverage, but 2019 seems like a different year, particular after a pair of pick-sixes against Tampa Bay in Week 1.

The Niners, however, have been dealt yet another injury setback at the running back position. Tevin Coleman suffered a high ankle sprain last Sunday and will not play against the Bengals. He is said to be out a couple of weeks ago, but based on the nature of a high ankle sprain, expect Coleman to miss a significantly longer amount of time.

This means that Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert, who flashed in Sunday’s game, will be expected to get most of the snaps against Cincinnati.

Speaking of high ankle sprains, defensive end Nick Bosa is still feeling the effects of his injury – which kept him out most of training camp and all of the preseason – and only played a handful of snaps on Sunday. He did not practice on Wednesday and is questionable for the game at Cincinnati.

The Bengals are missing a few key pieces, too. Receiver A.J Green will not play Sunday while still recovering from an ankle injury he suffered early in the preseason, while Bay Area native Joe Mixon is questionable with an ankle injury of his own, which he sustained against Seattle.

He didn’t practice Wednesday and is listed as day-to-day.

Dubon goes 3-for-4 in Giants’ 5-4 win over Dodgers

Photo credit: mercurynews.com

By Jeremy Kahn

On a night where the Los Angeles Dodgers honored Bruce Bochy, the San Francisco Giants put a stop to the Dodgers clinching the National League West.

Mauricio Dubon went 3-for-4 and drove in three runs, as the Giants defeated the Dodgers 5-4 at Dodger Stadium.

With the loss, the Dodgers magic number to clinch their seventh straight National League West Division Championship at four.

This was a win that the Giants desperately needed if they want to have a chance to get into the National League Wild Card.

Prior to the win against the Dodgers in the opener, the Giants were in a big time slump, as they lost eight out of 10 and 12 out of their last 16.

Clayton Kershaw was not his usual self for the Dodgers, as he lost for the third time in a row and was frustrated when he was pulled from the game in the top of the fifth inning by Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.

Kershaws frustrations boiled over into the dugout, as he was seen kicking the cooler, throwing his hat and glove after Roberts pulled him.

Dubon tied up the game, as he hit his second home run of the season, a solo blast off the left field pole.

Kevin Pillar drew a walk that was the end of the night for Kershaw, and his replacement Dylan Floro did not help Kershaw at all.

Evan Longoria grounded out, but after an intentional walk to Buster Posey, pinch hitter Mike Yastrzemski hit a two-run double that gave the Giants the lead for good. After an intentional walk to Belt, Dubon hit a two-run single that gave the Giants a 5-1 in the top of the fifth inning.

Things got interesting in the bottom of the ninth inning, as A.J. Pollock hit his third home run of the game off of Giants closer Will Smith to narrow the Giants lead down to 5-4.

Russell Martin then came off the bench and walked, but then Smith struck out Will Smith swinging to pick up his 32nd save of the season.

Jeff Samardzija won his 10th game of the season, as he went six innings, allowing three runs, not walking a batter and striking out three.

Two of those three hits allowed by Samardzija were solo home runs by Pollock. Kershaw lost for just the fifth time this season against 13 wins, as he went just four innings, allowing three runs, walking three and striking out six.

NOTES: Bochy received an autographed Sandy Koufax jersey, as the Dodgers honored the longtime Giants manager who will be retiring at the end of the 2019 season after a 25-year managerial career. In his career between the San Diego Padres and the Dodgers, Bochy is now 219-204.

Trevor Gott was transferred to the 60-day injured list with a right elbow strain. Johnny Cueto will throw a bullpen session this weekend in Los Angeles after experiencing tightness in his back.

UP NEXT: Tyler Beede will start Saturday for the Giants, while the Dodgers will counter with Tony Gonsolin. Game time scheduled for 6:10 p.m.

Niners kick off 2019 campaign, but questions remain

Photo credit: sacbee.com

By Jeremy Harness

The 49ers will head to Tampa to open the season, against a beatable opponent in the Buccaneers, but there a few things that will need to be answered.

The first thing is whether or not the defense will be better. On paper, it appears they are poised to make a big stride. The 49ers drafted defensive end Nick Bosa with the second overall pick, but he missed all of the preseason with a high ankle sprain. However, he practice in a limited fashion Wednesday and appears to be on track to play Sunday afternoon.

Meanwhile, free agent pickup Dee Ford, a fellow pass rusher, practiced in full on Wednesday, and he is expected to be on the field to face the Bucs offense.

With these two on the field, the 49ers pass rush should be considerably better than it was in 2018, but now it’s time to show it on the field.

The 49ers have bolstered the running back position in the offseason by picking up Tevin Coleman, and as it turns out, he will be counted on more than was expected at the beginning of training camp.

That’s because Jerick McKinnon, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL, suffered a major complication with the same knee, and he has since been placed on season-ending injured reserve, meaning that the man the 49ers so coveted will go two full seasons without playing in a single regular-season game.

The team still has depth at the position, with Coleman and Matt Breida expected to split the carries, while Raheem Mostert, who had a breakout game against Oakland last season before breaking his forearm in the same game, will back them up and is expected to play mostly on special teams.

The 49ers have more injury issues, as receiver Jalen Hurd is dealing with a back problem, and he has been ruled out of Week 1 and could miss a few more weeks. Receiver Trent Taylor will also be out of Week 1, as he is nursing a foot injury.

Center Weston Richburg (knee) and receiver Dante Pettis (groin) practiced in a limited fashion Wednesday, but their status for Sunday’s game is uncertain.

Smith leads Seahawks to exhibition victory 17-15

Photo credit: @AroundTheNFL

By Jeremy Kahn

With their last exhibition game of 2019 season, the Oakland Raiders faced an old AFC West rival in a road game.

Geno Smith threw two touchdown passes in the first half, helping the Seattle Seahawks to a 17-15 victory over the Raiders at CenturyLink Field.

Smith, who played his college ball at West Virginia will most likely make the Seahawks and will be the backup to Russell Wilson.

Terry Wright was on the receiving end of Smiths first touchdown pass, as he snared a 39-yard pass from the right-handed veteran.

Jacob Hollister caught the final touchdown pass from Smith, as he was on the receiving end of a 11-yard toss.

All in all, Smith went 4-for-7 for 107 yards and those two touchdowns for the Seahawks and head coach Pete Carroll.

Mike Glennon started the finale, and went 9-for-13 for 78 yards and the Raiders ended up with a field goal on one of his drives.

Nathan Peterman went 20-for-27 for 158 yards, as he helped the Raiders get back into the game, when James Butler scored on a three-yard touchdown run; however, Peterman was sacked by Branden Jackson on the two-point attempt with 103 seconds remaining.

The Raiders were unable to secure the onside kick, and the Seahawks spoiled the Raiders attempt at an undefeated 2019 preseason.

UP NEXT: With the exhibition season now over, the Raiders will get ready for their 60th season opener against the Denver Broncos on Monday September 9, at the Coliseum. Game time will be at 7:20 p.m. on ESPN.

Giants have rare Friday night off

Photo credit: bleacherreport.com

By Jeremy Kahn

With the San Francisco Giants being off on a Friday night, it is a rare sight for the Orange and Black.

According to Elias Sports Bureau, this first time that the Giants have been scheduled for a Friday night since April 9, 2004.

Just one night prior to the last Friday off, the Giants lost to the San Diego Padres 4-3 in 10 innings in the first ever game at Petco Park and the manager for the Padres on that night is current Giants manager Bruce Bochy.

That season, Barry Bonds won his fourth consecutive National League Most Valuable Player and seventh overall.

Bonds won the Batting title that season, as he batted .362, hit 45 home runs and drove in 120 runs. He also walked a major- league record 232 times, including a record 120 times intentionally.

In the Giants home opener against the Milwaukee Brewers on April 12, 2004, Bonds tied his godfather Willie Mays for third place on the all-time home run with 660. The next night, Bonds passed his godfather with home run 661.

Five months later, on September 17, 2004, Bonds became the third player ever to hit 700 home runs, as he hit off of Padres pitcher Jake Peavy in a 4-1 Giants victory at SBC Park.

Pedro Feliz and Marquis Grissom each hit 22 home runs, while Ray Durham hit 17, Michael Tucker hit 13, while J.T. Snow hit 12 and Edgardo Alfonzo and A.J. Pierzynski added 11, as the Giants ended up with a grand total of 183 home runs on the season.

Jason Schmidt led the pitching staff with 18 wins, and current bullpen coach Matt Herges led the team with 23 saves.

The Giants season came to an unfortunate end, when Steve Finley hit a dramatic grand slam off of Wayne Franklin in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Los Angeles Dodgers the National League Western Division Championship with a 7-3 victory at Dodger Stadium.

The loss stopped the Giants streak of making the postseason at two, as they made the postseason three times in the first four years after the opening of their sparkling new home, then known as SBC Park. That was the first year that the ballpark at 24 Willie Mays Plaza was known at SBC Park after being named Pacific Bell Park.