Leading Off

Leading Off: Are Giants, A’s headed for wild-card games?

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• The Giants and A’s have been going in opposite directions – the Giants have won 10 of their last 13; the A’s have lost 19 of their past 28 – and it’s looking more likely if they both make the playoffs it will be as wild-card teams. The Giants, still very much in the hunt for the National League West title, have a sizable lead over Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Milwaukee for the top wild-card spot. The A’s, after losing a big lead in the American League West, are in a fight with Kansas City or Detroit – one will win the Central – and Seattle for one of two spots. If the A’s and Giants both land the top wild-card spots, they will host the play-in games, presumably on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.

• The Raiders and 49ers had two of the top performances by rookies in the opening week of the NFL season. The Raiders’ Derek Carr completed 20 of 32 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday’s 19-14 loss to the Jets and should be a candidate for Rookie of the Year if he continues to play well. The 49ers’ Carlos Hyde, backing up Frank Gore, gained 50 yards on seven carries and scored a touchdown in a 28-17 victory over the Cowboys. Hyde should get plenty of carries, especially if the 49ers reduce Gore’s workload to keep him fresh for the playoffs. Saints receiver Brandin Cooks, another rookie with local connections (Lincoln High in Stockton), had an impressive debut, too, with seven catches for 77 yards and a touchdown.

• The Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins has been entertaining to watch during Team USA’s run in the FIBA World Cup, averaging 13.6 minutes, 9.7 points and five rebounds in seven victories. It turns out he’s just as entertaining off the court. Cousins was asked by a European journalist, “Do you know where Slovenia is?” Cousins quickly replied, “No, do you know where Alabama is?” Cousins’ question about his home state drew a good laugh.

Tom Couzens


Today’s poll

Which team will win more games this season ?

• A’s

• Giants

To vote, go to sacbee.com/sports

Wednesday’s results

Who should win the N.L. MVP Award ?

• Buster Posey: 39%

• Clayton Kershaw: 46%

• Giancarlo Stanton: 11%

• Other: 4%

Total results: 122

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