Ron Agostini

Ron Agostini: Skidding Giants have that odd-numbered-year look

Reading time, two minutes:

▪ The Giants’ losing streak is the longest in April by a reigning world champion in more than 50 years. Question: Has management bought into this odd-numbered-year theory?

▪ You know the Giants are skidding when they score in the seventh, ninth, 10th and 12th ... and still lose.

▪ Funny, but the Diamondbacks and Rockies aren’t exactly intimidated by that Matt Duffy-Joaquin Arias-Gregor Blanco lineup.

▪ Hunter Pence eventually will return. But can he swing a magic wand?

▪ The Athletics are the first American League team since 1910 to throw four shutouts in their first nine games. Billy Beane again has reinvented the wheel. You can watch him do it again next year.

▪ Cal’s 2-0 baseball win over No. 3-ranked UCLA on Thursday night turned into a Stanislaus District highlight reel: Winning pitcher Daulton Jefferies (Buhach Colony), UCLA infielder Kevin Kramer (Turlock) and Cal freshman catcher Brett Cumberland (Turlock).

▪ Kramer sat out last season due to injury after his major contribution to the Bruins’ 2013 NCAA title.

▪ If you tour the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame you’ll note one of its inductees: Dave Ashleigh, former Modesto Junior College swimming and water polo coach.

▪ About another UCLA grad: Modesto’s Suzy Powell-Roos, the three-time Olympian, and husband Tim are expecting their first child in September. The family discourages any discus gifts at the baby shower.

▪ And while we’re thinking about the Bruins: A get-well to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar after his quadruple-bypass on his 68th birthday.

▪ A Cal State San Bernardino senior who’s finishing a solid career: Infielder and leadoff hitter Nicole Nobbe (Golden Valley, Beyer).

▪ No one on the planet has played better golf over the last six months than Jordan Spieth. He affirmed it at the Masters.

▪ Rory McIlroy beat Spieth over the last 45 holes, but: McIlroy hasn’t yet put together four good rounds at Augusta National.

▪ About Tiger Woods: He needs to practice and compete, and not just once every month or so. But is his worn-down physique up to the task?

▪ One of the late Bob Piccinini’s favorite sayings: “If you’re gonna be a bear, be a grizzly.” Folks, he was a grizzly.

▪ Former Patriots star Aaron Hernandez will spend the rest of his life in a prison only a few miles from Gillette Stadium. Wonder if he’ll hear the cheers.

▪ The United States defeated Mexico 2-0 this week on a slippery pitch in the Alamadome. The country might be ready for an official soccer home like Wembley or Estadio Azteca.

▪ The retirement of Steve Nash jogged the memory to the coach who recruited him at Santa Clara: Dick Davey (Ceres).

▪ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll sold his Washington state home for $6.1 million. All because he didn’t hand off the ball to Marshawn Lynch?

▪ The exact second Ivan Rabb signed, Cal basketball again became relevant.

▪ The Oklahoma City Thunder front office is uncertain about honoring the final year of the contract of coach Scott Brooks (East Union), like it was his fault Kevin Durant missed 55 games.

▪ The Thunder might be tempted to fire Brooks after the Warriors jettisoned Mark Jackson for Steve Kerr, then went 67-15.

▪ A larger truth: The Thunder already would have won a championship had it not traded James Harden in 2012.

▪ Steph Curry is the MVP of the NBA because he passes the eye test. Who’s been better, more successful and more fun to watch? No one.

▪ Who will recover faster, the Giants or the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw (5.84 ERA going into Friday night’s start)?

▪ The smart money probably is on Kershaw. The Giants have that odd-numbered-year look.

▪ Didn’t they also have that look last July?

Bee staff writer Ron Agostini can be reached at ragostini@modbee.com or (209) 578-2302. Follow him on Twitter @ModBeeSports.

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