Finishing Kick: Giants hope conclusion of their schedule carries them to the postseason

By Morris Phillips

Alex Dickerson’s wife is expecting the couple’s first child any day now. Complicating matters, his positive COVID test shut the Giants down Friday and Saturday as follow up testing procedures exercised the utmost caution for both the Giants and the Padres. At some point, Dickerson allowed the Giants to release his name, connecting him to the previously anonymous test within the team’s traveling party.

Then a false report printed by the USA Today claiming Dickerson contracted the virus from a family member while in San Diego (a meet up that is prohibited by the strict rules instituted by MLB for traveling clubs) caused the player–and his wife–a myriad of issues.

“When you’re dealing with pregnancy and COVID-19, it is not a good thing to make the assumption that I came in and went and broke protocol and saw family and friends when I’m only permitted to see my wife and she is the only person I saw, and she has been quarantining and on bed rest,” Dickerson said. “It caused a lot of problems, a lot of hate to come towards you and it was kind of unwarranted.”

The Giants had benefitted tremendously from avoiding issues and disruptions from the virus. Just maintaining their schedule as written was big, for them and the rest of the NL West. After all, makeup doubleheaders–regardless of the reduced length in innings–aren’t momentum builders.

That Dickerson’s positive test morphed into a false positive with no other positive tests was frustrating as well. The conclusion? Being a big league club on the road in 2020 isn’t the best. Nine of the 15 National League clubs have losing road records. Isolation and testing are a big contributor to that.

So as the Giants settle into their Seattle hotel on Monday night, two things stick out: the Mariners spent a day/night in the smoke-filled air on Monday, splitting a pair of makeup contests with the A’s. That’s 14 innings for the hosts and none for the Giants, who were idle. Even bigger, with 13 games remaining, these two will be the last two outside the Bay Area involving a hotel and the stringent protocols.

Starting Friday, the Giants play three games in Oakland, then eight at Oracle Park to end the regular season.

That schedule may be enough to keep the Giants from losing their grip on the eighth and final playoff spot, and possibly sending them to Dodgers Stadium for a best of three-game series that would generate a great deal of interest. It also would be their first postseason berth since 2016.

The Giants are 14-9 at home, while averaging better than five runs per game. They’ve struggled with the A’s and the Padres, but might be poised to take advantage of the Rockies.

Second game: A’s bounce back behind Mike Minor’s gem blank Mariners 9-0

The Oakland A’s Marcus Semien belted a three run homer comes home and is greeted by Tony Kemp and Khris Davis both who scored ahead of Semien in the fourth inning of the first game of the doubleheader vs. the Seattle Mariners (AP News photo)

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Oakland A’s, smarting from a rare bullpen meltdown in game one of the doubleheader with the Mariners on Monday, bounced back to trounce the M’s 9-0.

The A’s sent the veteran lefty, Mike Minor, out to the hill to subdue the M’s. Minor did his job as he pitched his best game of the year. Minor, an All-Star last season, went 0-5 with the Texas Rangers before being traded to the A’s.

Minor baffled the up-and-coming young Mariner team with a mix of fastballs, curves, and change-ups. He pitched a complete seven-inning game as he allowed just two hits and no runs. He struck out a season-high eight Mariners and walked only two.

The A’s grabbed an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Tommy LaStella, batting in the leadoff slot, was hit by a pitch. Marcus Semien walked to men on at first and second with no out. LaStella went to third when Robbie Grossman reached on a fielder’s choice. Semien was out at second. Grossman then stole second.

M’s starter Jimmy Yacobonis walked Matt Olson to load the bases. Mark Canha singled to drive in LaStella with the A’s first run. With the bases still loaded, Ramon Laureano blasted a shot to centerfield. The ball appeared to be high over the fence for a grand slam. Kyle Lewis, a contender for the AL Rookie of the Year, made a sensational leaping catch to Rob Laureano. The A’s lead 1-0

The A’s, in the top of the third, sent ten men to the plate as they put five runs on the board. Olson walked for the second time. Seth Frankoff was now pitching for Seattle. He retired Canha for the first out. After being released by the Colorado Rockies, Jake Lamb, signed as a free agent, doubled to send Olson to third.

It was Lamb’s first hit as an Athletic. Laureano doubled to drive in Olson and Lamb. Catcher Jonah Heim singled to drive in Laureano make it 4-0. Third baseman Vimael Machin followed with a bloop single to left field. LaStella walked to load the bases. Semien reached on a fielder’s choice. Heim scored. Grossman then singled to drive in Machin with the A’s fifth run of the inning. The A’s lead 6-0.

The A’s put the game out of reach when they put three more runs on the board. With one out, Robbie Grossman singled. Mark Canha homered over the centerfield wall to make it 8-0. Jake Lamb, playing in his hometown of Seattle, blasted his first home run of the year to deep right field to up the score. The A’s win 9-0.

Game Notes- With the win, the A’s are now 30-18. They have twelve games left on the schedule. They travel to Colorado for games on Tuesday and Wednesday. They have an off-day on Thursday.

They resume play at home against the hard-hitting San Francisco Giants. The Giants are contending for a playoff berth, and the three-game set should be very entertaining. The A’s then travel to Los Angeles to play the NL West-leading Dodgers for three games.

The Mariners then come to Oakland to play the last four games of the year. There will be another doubleheader between the teams on September 26th. The final game of the regular season will be on the 27th.

First game: Mariners come from behind to stun A’s 6-5 in the first of two in Seattle

The Seattle Mariners Kyle Lewis is congratulated by teammates after hitting a two run fifth inning home run in the first game of the doubleheader on Mon Sep 14th at T-Mobile Field in Seattle (AP News photo)

By Jerry Feitelberg

The A’s arrived in Seattle to play a doubleheader with the Mariners before moving on to Denver to play two games with the Colorado Rockies. Just as the Portland, San Francisco, and Oakland, Seattle was covered with smoke from the forest fires in the western states. The air quality number was over 200. Major League Baseball had to decide on whether or not to postpone the game. They elected to play the game.

The A’s scored one in the second and four in the fourth to lead 5-0. A’s starter lefty Jesus Luzardo was pitching well. He gave up a solo homer in the fourth and then three runs in the bottom of the fifth as the M’s crept to within one run of tying the game. A’s manager, Bob Melvin, pulled Luzardo with two outs in the fifth. Yusmeiro Petit recorded the final out.

The Mariners put the game away in the sixth. Joakim Soria was on the hill for Oakland. With two out and a man on first, M’s designated hitter, Tim Lopes, doubled to drive in Phillip Irvin with the tying run. For Lopes, it was his third double of the game. Soria then walked the next three hitters to force in the M’s sixth run of the game.
The M’s brought in Yoshihisa Hirano to close out the game. He did his job and retired the side to preserve the win for the M’s.

Game Notes- The A’s line was five runs, six hits, no errors. The M’s line was six runs, nine hits, and two errors. Lefty Marco Gonzalez was the winning pitcher. Joakim Soria took the loss.
Luzardo pitched four and 2/3rds innings. He allowed four runs, seven hits, and three home runs. He struck out seven and did not walk a batter.
Marcus Semien led the A’s offense. He had two hits and drove in four with a single and a three-run homer.

The A’s dropped to 29-18 with the loss. The youthful Mariners now have won eight of the last eleven games and are 22-25. They trail the Houston Astros by one game in the race for the second spot in the AL West.

The A’s play game two of the doubleheader at 5:10 pm Monday

San Francisco Giants podcast with Morris Phillips: Padres give Giants the false positive in sweep

The San Diego Padres Wil Meyers (center) gets in on all the fun with a home run of his own and is greeted by teammates Abraham Almonte (left) and Manny Machado (right) Sunday at Petco Park in San Diego (AP News photo)

On the Giants podcast with Morris:

#1 After the Giants had two days off having Friday and Saturday off because a player had tested false positive on Thursday night they turned around and lost a Sunday doubleheader at Petco Park 6-0 and 3-1.

#2 Morris in the front game the Giants were shutout by the pitching of Mike Clevinger 6-0, Clevinger who went seven innings and gave up just two hits and the Giants looked like they couldn’t lay any lumber on him.

#3 The Giants held the Padres slugger Fernando Tatis Jr to 0-3, Manny Machado got a hit and run, Austin Nola and Jake Cronenworth both scored twice in the front game. The Padres seem like they get a different hero everyday.

#4 The Padres took the second game Padres starter Garret Richards pitched 4.1 innings gave up only one run and two hits and the Padres pitching staff of Tim Hill, Drew Pomeranz, and Trevor Rosenthal kept the Giants off balance shutting them out for the rest of the way. Padres win 3-1.

#5 The Giants have Monday off which means it’s the Morris Giants day off report and play the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Field for a two game series starting Tuesday night. Pitchers for Tuesday for the Giants a pitcher to be named later and for the Mariners Ljay Newsome (0-0 ERA 3.24).

Catch Morris every Monday for the Giants podcasts at http://www.sportsradioservie.com

MLB podcast with Larry Crino: Gunman caught before KC-Pittsburgh game; Lamb to take Chapman’s place in A’s line up ; plus more

The scene outside of Arrowhead Stadium as police answer the call of an active shooter before the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Kansas City Royals game over at Kaufman Stadium on Saturday (@KCStar photo)

On the MLB podcast with Larry Crino:

#1 Larry, Kansas City Police had the game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals delayed on Saturday because of an active shooter in the vicinity of Arrowhead Stadium shots were fired the suspect was arrested he found with two guns and a knife. The area was on lockdown and the Pirates bus to Kaufman Stadium was delayed.

#2 The Oakland A’s Matt Chapman was such a key factor in the A’s line up but now he will miss the rest of the season due to hip surgery Chapman hit .232, 22 runs scored and 33 hits. The A’s are brining in third baseman Jake Lamb from the Arizona Diamondbacks who has five hits, no homers and is batting .116 will he be the answer for Chapman?

#3 Larry the LA Dodgers are in San Diego to open up a three game series the Padres just got done playing a doubleheader against the Giants who had a setback of a false positive test. The Padres are a force to reckon with with Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr both hitting over .300 and mighty pitcher Mike Clevinger.

#4 On Saturday Dodger fans greeted the Houston Astros arriving by bus at Dodgers Stadium beating garbage cans and calling them everything you could think of when they arrived in the parking lot. One thing the Astros can be glad about these fans were getting no where inside the stadium.

#5 Larry, What has happened to the New York Yankees they have lost five of their last 11  games, it’s the middle of September it’s getting late early their five games behind first place Tampa Bay they have won their last three games but their hoping to see post season.

Join Larry each Monday for the MLB podcast at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Earthquakes earn point in 0-0 draw with Galaxy

The San Jose Earthquakes Oswaldo Alanis (4)  and the Los Angles Galaxy’s Jonathan Dos Santos (8) meet before their match at Avaya Stadium in San Jose on Sun Sep 13th, 2020 (@SJEarthquakes photo)

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE, Calif- The difference between two extra points is a matter of inches.

For the San Jose Earthquakes that was the case as a potential game winning goal in the final minutes was waved off due to an offside call that resulted in a 0-0 draw with their SoCal rival the Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday evening at Earthquakes Stadium.

In the 89th minute of the match, Marcos Lopez centered a ball into the middle of the box where Andy Rios was able to kick it past Galaxy goalkeeper for what would have been a 1-0 lead for San Jose. However Rios left a split second too early and was flagged for offsides, negating the goal.

San Jose, despite picking up a point, remains winless in five consecutive games (0-3-2) since coming back from the bubble in Orlando. LA’s three-game winning streak was snapped but their point streak continued at four games.

The second installment of the California Classico of the season featured quality scoring chances by both teams throughout the match, however both goalkeepers played spoilers as they kept the ball out of their nets.

San Jose controlled the possession battle in the first half with a 56.7%-43.3% edge. Their defensive play was a major upgrade after a humiliating 7-1 loss to Seattle just three nights earlier.

Galaxy goalkeeper David Bingham was the man of the first half stoning away two quality scoring chances by the Quakes.

First in the 18th minute off a free kick by Jackson Yueill, Bingham punched Yueill’s ball back into the middle where Guram Kashia’s first attempt was kicked away by Bingham. Kashia recovered the ball and his second attempt sailed wide left.

Then in the 34th minute, Yueill received the ball from 12 yards out and his shot was knocked aside to the right by Bingham resulting in a corner kick San Jose failed to cash in.

Los Angeles controlled play in the final five minutes of the first half. Efrain Álvarez came within inches of breaking the deadlock when his left footed shot from 20 yards out hit the right post in the 42nd minute.

In the second half, it was Quakes goalie Daniel Vega’s turn to play heroics as the Galaxy controlled play in a 23 minute stretch from the 57th minute to the 80th minute of play.

Sebastian Lletget’s header from the center of the box was saved by Daniel Vega in the 75th minute. It was one of LA’s best chances to score but were left frustrated.

San Jose ended up winning the possession battle 56.6%-43.4%.

Both Bingham and Vega finished the match with two saves a piece.

GAME NOTES: San Jose had six corner kicks. Los Angeles had eight.

The Galaxy were issued two yellow card during the match Daniel Steres received one in the 17th minute for a dangerous tackle on Shea Salinas and Julian Araujo received at the end of the match for persistent infringement . San Jose’s Nick Lima received a yellow card in the 3rd minute of the match for unsporting behavior.

San Jose is 0-1-1 against the Galaxy this season and are 4-2-2 in their last eight matches.

UP NEXT: San Jose hosts the Portland Timbers on Wednesday 9/16 at 6:30pm at Earthquakes Stadium.

Giants swept by Padres in twin bill 6-0 and 3-1

San Francisco Giants pitcher Logan Webb throws against the San Diego Padres in the first inning of the second game of the doubleheader on Sunday at Petco Park (AP News photo)

By Jeremy Kahn

Trying to make the playoffs for the first time since Bruce Bochys last season as manager of the San Diego Padres, they moved closer their goal.

The Padres won both games of the doubleheader against the San Francisco Giants, as Mike Clevinger threw a two-hitter for his second career shutout in the first game, as the Padres defeated the Giants 6-0 at Petco Park.

Greg Garcia and Wil Myers each hit two-run singles off of Johnny Cueto, who lost for the first time in the shortened season and is now 2-1.

Jurickson Profar came up with the big hit in the second game, as he hit a go-ahead single ni rhe bottom of the fifth inning to help the Padres sweep the doubleheader over the Giants.

The second game of the doubleheader was part of a makeup after what turned out to be a false positive test of Covid-19 for San Diego native Alex Dickerson, who played on Sunday.

Dickerson received news of the positive test just moments before Fridays game. He was pulled from the field and eventually placed in isolation at Petco Park, as both Friday and Saturdays games were postponed.

Major League Baseball and the players union said Sunday morning that the test was originally positive was actually a false positive.

Profar executed what is called a Butcher Boy, where he showed bunt and then hit away off of Sam Selman and the single bounced off of Evan Longorias glove into left field that scored Jake Cronenworth to score the eventual game-winning run and then Manny Machado hit a two-out run-scoring single to give the Padres their sixth straight win, as the Padres swept the doubleheader with a 3-1 victory.

Mike Yastrzemski put the Giants on the board, as he hit a double with two outs in the top of the second inning to give them a 1-0 lead. Unfortunately, that lead did not last long, as Myers hit his 12th home run of the season in the bottom of the second inning to tie up the game.

Tim Hill won for the third time without a loss, as he was able to get the Giants out in order in the top of the fifth inning before Profar and Machados run-scoring singles.

Clevinger went seven innings in the first game for the Padres, as he struck out seven and walked just one.

Cueto gave up six runs, four earned and allowed six hits in 5.1 innings of work and lost for the first time this season.

NOTES: These two teams play each other the final three games of the season at Oracle Park from September 25-27; however, Major League has yet to decide when the other game will be made up that was postponed this weekend.

Giants reliever Trevor Gott was placed on the 10-day injured list with inflammation in his pitching elbow, and is retroactive to Thursday.

Kevin Gausman was scratched from his start, as he developed an elbow issue while playing catch and will undergo an MRI.

UP NEXT: After an off-day on Monday, the Giants will open a two-game series against the Seattle Mariners on T-Mobile Park on Tuesday night.

Lynn, Rangers stymie the A’s, 6-3, in series finale

By Morris Phillips

The A’s are having a great season, but they didn’t have a great afternoon.

Texas’ Lance Lynn had a lot to do with that difference. But the A’s can still envision a triumphant return in October to the Rangers’ new ballpark for an unconventional World Series.

Lynn retired 17 batters in a row an pitched into the seventh inning of the Rangers 6-3 win that earned them a split of the four-game series. Lynn was dominant in spots, fortunate in some others, as he struck out 10, walked two, and allowed just one hit in the first six innings.

“They are a good team,” Lynn said of the A’s. “They have a deep lineup. They make you work for things, and today, I was able to kind of counter what they were doing early and get through seven.”

A pair of one-out base hits in the seventh left Lynn vulnerable, but he recovered, striking out Ramon Laureano, then getting a lunging stab of Jonah Heim’s liner from Isiah Kiner-Falefa to preserve a 4-1 lead.

“If that sneaks through, (Lynn’s) potentially out of the game,” manager Bob Melvin said. “That was a key play in the game.”

Jeff Mathis’ two-run homer off Lou Trivino in the bottom of the inning put the game out of reach. The A’s created a bit of uncertainty with single runs in the eighth and ninth, but ultimately couldn’t generate enough offense with only six hits, including Tommy La Stella’s solo shot with the A’s trailing by five.

The Rangers played the 26th game in their new ballpark–winning for just the 13th time–and homered three times in a game there for the first time. While the last place Rangers have broken even at home, their season has self-destructed due to 17 losses in their 21 road contests thus far.

The A’s lead over the second-place Astros is six games with 14 remaining, pending the result of the Astros-Dodgers game Sunday night. And while that might be cause for comfort, the A’s schedule is not. They split a doubleheader on Saturday, and will travel to Seattle for a makeup twinbill on Monday, before they start a two-game set at Colorado on Tuesday. In all the A’s will play 10 games in seven days, their busiest stretch since June 1966.

“It’s all on the road. It’s all lumped together. And not much time, and we’re traveling all over the place to do it. But other teams have done it too,” Melvin said.

Frankie Montas pitched into the sixth inning, but allowed seven hits and four runs, all coming on homers by Derek Dietrich and Rougned Odor. Montas will travel home for the birth of his child before rejoining the team later in the week.

Hopefully, the child birth serves as a reset for Montas, who has seen his ERA balloon from 1.57 to 5.86 since August 8. Montas is next scheduled to face the Giants at the Coliseum over the weekend.

The A’s received some sense of what their postseason will look pending the players association’s approval of the league’s proposal for an expanded playoffs. As the AL West champion, the A’s would host a best-of-three opening round with all three games at the Coliseum. While not the crapshoot of a single wild card game, the brief series likely would be against an experienced playoff opponent in the Indians or Yankees.

If the A’s survive, they would advance to an ALDS in either Los Angeles (Dodgers Stadium) or San Diego (Petco Park) and then an ALCS in Los Angeles.

The League winners would then gather in Arlington for a single site World Series at the brand new Globe Life Field. That series would end no later than October 30.

SAFEWAY OPEN: Cink roars back to win

Stewart Cink takes a swing on the second tee in the final round at the Silverado North Course. Cink was the winner of Sunday’s Safeway Open PGA Golf Tournament in Napa. (AP News photo)

By Jeremy Harness

A lot has happened since Stewart Cink’s last win on the PGA Tour, which came at the Open Championship in 2009, when he upended the legendary Tom Watson.

His wife, Lisa, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016, and then Stewart himself was diagnosed with skin cancer. Both, however, have since been given clean bills of health, but it took a lot of courage to get to this point.

Fast forward to this weekend, as Cink shot rounds of 65 on Saturday as well as Sunday, and he came away with the win at the Safeway Open, with his birdie at the par-5 18th being the decisive blow.

He got off to a nice start and never really turned off the momentum. He recorded back-to-back birdies at the fourth and fifth holes and the followed that up with birdies at the eighth as well as the ninth.

He added a chip-in for birdie at the par-3 11th before going birdie back-to-back at the 15th and 16th holes.

However, he did suffer a hiccup at the par-4 17th, as he could not get up and down and dropped a shot. He got that shot right back at the final hole, as he hit two good shots and wound up just past the back fringe.

He pulled out a putter and got it to about four feet and then drained the birdie putt to give himself a two-shot lead with two groups left on the course.

“Well, it has been emotional,” Cink said. “You can’t go wire to wire in the FedExCup year without winning the first one, I would like to point that out right now. In a way that was kind of a goal this week. No, it’s been an awesome time. My son Reagan caddying for me, Lisa was here. This is a really special place, I love being in Napa and I just had a really phenomenal time this week. And on top of that my golf ball was pretty agreeable most of the way, so it was a really great experience top to bottom all week.”

At that point, there were only two guys with a chance to tie Cink, Brian Stuard and Harry Higgs. Higgs was two back and needed an eagle, and his chance evaporated when his third shot landed way right of the hole.

“I would have loved to have hit a tee ball in the fairway on 18. I felt like I needed 3, especially seeing Stewart in the fairway when we got back to that tee,” Higgs said. “I can’t believe the putt on 17 didn’t go in. I was back and forth between does it straighten at the hole, does it keep breaking. I hit it exactly how I wanted to.

“All in all, super positive week obviously. Had a chance to win, great start to a new season. I felt like this was a really, really good chance, and it was nice to be in it at the end versus the last time I finished second.”

As for Stuard, who was four back when Cink sank his final putt, he needed even more. His chance fell through when his birdie attempt at the 17th burned the edge.

Aces clinch #1 seed in playoffs with 86-84 win over Seattle

Photo credit: AP Photo/Mike Carlson

By Shawn McCullogh

It came down to the final day of the regular season, but the Aces finally caught the Seattle Storm.

In a game in which the winner gets the number one seed in the WNBA playoffs, the Aces rallied past Seattle, 86-84, at the IMG Bubble in Bradenton, FL.

Las Vegas trailed 79-74 with just 5:11 remaining in the game and went on a 10-0 run to secure the win.

A’ja Wilson and Dearica Hamby each dropped 23 points, while Danielle Robinson added 13.

Each team finished the regular season with an 18-4 record, but the Aces won the tiebreaker having won both games against Seattle.

This marks the first time since 2008 that the franchise has finished the season with the best overall record (then the San Antonio Silver Stars).

The Aces will enter the WNBA playoffs with a double bye and will play the lowest seed remaining from the first two rounds of the playoffs.  Las Vegas will play a best three out of five series starting on Sunday.

Las Vegas Aces – http://aces.wnba.com


Game Notes:

  • The Aces shot just 43.5% from the field.
  • Dearica Hamby went 4 for 6 from 3-point range.
  • A’ja Wilson finished the season ranked second in scoring (20.5), while leading the league in blocked shots (2.00), and finishing sixth in rebounding (8.5).


Game Starters:

F – 22 A’ja Wilson
F – 35 Angel McCoughtry
C – 4 Carolyn Swords
G – 15 Lindsay Allen
G – 21 Kayla McBride