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8:45PM

A’s: Ten in a row and a place in the NY Times

By Art Spander
For Maven Sports

OAKLAND — These are great times for the Oakland Athletics. And their winning streak, now 10 games and not to be dismissed, isn’t the only reason.

Read the full story here.

Copyright 2019, The Maven 

10:18PM

Giants: Now even Bochy seems discouraged

SAN FRANCISCO — Even the manager sounded depressed. For good reason. Yes, Bruce Bochy, eternal optimist, from whom there’s almost never a discouraging word, who rarely says anything downbeat about his players, even when their play seemingly demands it, was sounding all too negative.

These San Francisco Giants, the team Bochy will suffer through this one last season, is playing the sort of ball that is intolerable and, the way it is missing grounders, virtually indefensible.

Now, before end of May, it is legitimate to believe the Giants have reached the end of the road.

Two days ago, they were pathetic, losing — collapsing, if you will — to the Arizona Diamondbacks 18-2. Embarrassing. And then Saturday, the D-Backs again scored in double figures, thumping the Giants 10-4.

The only difference is that Saturday, when the announced attendance was 31,551 at Oracle Park, the fans stayed to the end, enjoying the sunshine and breezes if not the result of a fourth straight loss and fifth in six games.

“It’s hard to put a positive spin on this one,” agreed Bochy.

Other than mentioning the defense of Kevin Pillar, who Saturday was in right, and started a remarkable double play by catching a ball, throwing to Joe Panik who then fired to Brandon Belt to get the runner trying to return to first. Otherwise, the D-Backs would have had more than two runs in the inning.

Not that it really mattered. Arizona just kept slamming balls off and over the fences we’re told are too distant at Oracle — at least for the Giants. The game began, boom, with a Ketel Marte triple off Andrew Suarez. And away they went.

Oh, how times have changed. Five seasons ago the Giants won their third World Series in a stretch of five years. Now they’re not only in last place, they’re boring — other than an inning or three.

No one expected miracles when Farhan Zaidi took control of baseball operations at the end of last season — it was an old team with a poor farm system — but he could have worked some sort of transaction to keep everyone interested.

The former baseball commissioner, Bud Selig, used to advise fans that the entire idea is to provide hope — to keep everyone believing that a team is going to be up there in the final days of the schedule, Right now, the Giants appear to be without hope.

The starting pitching is getting pummeled. The offense is minimal, which is a nice way of saying terrible. The Giants scored three runs in the seventh, although when you’re trailing 10-1 that’s just window dressing. They did get runners on before that. And failed to bring them home.

“We couldn’t keep the line moving,” said Bochy.

How do you fix this mess? Zaidi warned last summer, when he came from the Dodgers to take over the Giants, that he did not believe in the quick fix, although even if he did — you know, signing a zillion-dollar free agent such as Bryce Harper — it was beyond the realm of possibility.

The Chicago Cubs, where tradition and the ballpark, “beautiful Wrigley Field,” were enough to fill the seats, and Houston Astros, who had no tradition but did have a lot of talent in the minors, were willing to go through a complete rebuilding — and each won a World Series.

But places like New York, Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco won’t accept a tear-down and rebuild. They won’t accept losing either. You have to at least be competitive. Or season tickets will tumble along with the ball club.

Bochy did point out the Giants have a fine defensive outfield, anchored by Pillar and Steven Duggar, who Saturday made another one of his airborne catches. Added to those two as of Saturday when he was called up from Sacramento is Mike Yastrzemski, who Giants partisans can only wish will remind all of baseball of his grandfather.

Carl Yastrzemski, now 79, played his entire magnificent career (Triple Crown, Hall of Fame) with the Red Soxand when Mike was in high school gave him a few lessons on the art of hitting. Mike was 0-for-3 Saturday, but that was only Day One.

Maybe the kid comes through. Maybe he doesn’t. For sure it will be more enticing to follow his progress than the lack of progress of his new team, the San Francisco Giants.

9:37PM

Koepka seems as much a contradiction as a champion

By Art Spander
For Maven Sports

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — Brooks Koepka seems as much a contradiction as he is a champion, someone whose fame doesn’t seem to match his game, a golfer who has won more big events in a shorter time other than Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods but hasn’t connected with the people.

Read the full story here.

Copyright 2019, The Maven 

8:34PM

PGA crowd ‘loves me,’ says the Thai Jazzman

By Art Spander
For Maven Sports

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — He’s not going to win. The PGA Championship, that is. But he’s winning friends. Which is as rewarding as a birdie putt. “People shouting ‘love you,’” said Jazz Janewattananond. “They love me.”

Read the full story here.

Copyright 2019, The Maven 

7:13PM

Spieth’s 66 is a reminder of what used to be

By Art Spander
For Maven Sports

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — Such a wonderful, awful, rewarding game is golf. You have it, well, not mastered but at least enough under control that the scores are low and your hopes are high. And then?

Read the full story here.

Copyright 2019, The Maven 

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