We interrupted the traditional "Week In Review" format last week to talk about the best- and worst-case scenarios for the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics, and only twice did I mention defense. I wrote how no Giants fans want to see Aaron Rowand in center instead of Andres Torres, and how Josh Willingham's left field defense may become a problem for Oakland with Hideki Matsui currently entrenched as the team's DH. Well, Rowand's 3-for-6 with a HR and his defense has been fine, and Willingham's been perfect so far in left field. Small sample size sure, but if the kind of defense played by both teams thus far continues, more balls are going to be kicked on Bay Area infields this summer than during a San Jose Earthquakes practice.
(Yes, that's going to be the last mention of the Quakes in this edition of the Week In Review. If you're so inclined, check out Quake, Rattle and Goal for writers who actually know things about the MLS.)
The Giants lost three of four in Los Angeles, in a series featuring several defensive misplays by the defending champs and 5 errors. The A's committed 5 errors in their first GAME, and 7 in a series where the Seattle Mariners took two games out of three.
What in the name of Don Nelson is going on around here?
Is this just a fluke occurrence over such a small sample size that to draw concrete conclusions from last weekend would be criminal? Or are the pitching-and-defense mission statements both teams seem to have adopted only half correct? It's probably a little bit of both. Daric Barton had the highest UZR of any first baseman in baseball last season, and he committed an error in each of the Athletics' first three games. Kevin Kouzmanoff committed two errors (which, admittedly, isn't exactly the best way to determine a defender's prowess) over the weekend, but he was one of the top defensive third basemen last season. Aubrey Huff's defensive struggles are accurately depicted by this chalk/tape outline Pat Burrell and Dan Runzler drew on the Dodgers' right field grass, but he's only had a few days to prepare to play a completely different position than he had all Spring. Pat Burrell and Miguel Tejada -- well let's just say the jury's still out.
The Attack Was Vile. The Dodgers' Reaction Was Almost As Bad
- Overshadowing a great game and Opening Day in general was a vicious attack of three Giants fans by two supposed Dodgers fans, which ended with Bryan Stow of Santa Cruz in a medically induced coma, with part of his skull removed to reduce swelling.
- For a well-reasoned and completely justifiable questioning of Frank McCourt's complete non-response to this attack, read Steve Dilbeck's blog post from the L.A. Times. McCourt, regardless of whether or not he's dealing with a divorce case, has botched this entire situation. Truly emblematic of the worst owner in Dodgers history.
- While the Warriors recently became a member of the rapidly growing group of teams that has beaten the Dallas Mavericks recently, most fans are turning their attention to the NBA Draft. It's conceivable that Kemba Walker of UConn could go to the Warriors (who without any lottery luck would draft 11th), giving them yet another diminutive combo guard. However, more than one site that indulges those of us who are mock-draft-addicted has the Warriors taking Jonas Valanciunas, a 6-11 or 7-0 (depending on which listing you believe) center from Lithuania.
- The San Jose Sharks passed the 100-point threshold with a 4-2 win over Anaheim, pushing their record to an unbelievable 21-4-3 since the All-Star break.
- The Sharks' consistent offense is the main reason for their torrid second half. After getting shut out seven times in their first 43 games, they've scored a goal in each of their last 35 games. Actually, the Sharks have scored at least 2 goals in every game but one (a 2-1 loss in New Jersey on Feb. 11) during that span.
- This extremely thorough and well-written FanPost on Niners Nation has me almost completely convinced the 49ers should pick Ryan Mallett. I already loved his accuracy, feared his Bengie Molina-esque footspeed, and ignored off-the-field concerns including rumors of drug use -- along with the general bashing any high profile college football player withstands after transferring schools. But if Mallett and his ridiculous arm are a perfect fit for Jim Harbaugh's offense, why not take a flyer on the guy if they can get him in the late first/early second round?
- Louis Murphy got pulled over for playing his music too loudly, then got arrested for possession of Viagra without a prescription. Absolutely no truth to the rumor that there's an octogenarian NFL team owner in the greater East Bay region currently tearing apart his medicine cabinet, wondering where he put his "little blue pills."