Results tagged ‘ Tim Lincecum ’

Six good reasons to like San Francisco Giants’ rotation order of Cain, Bumgarner, Lincecum, Zito and Vogelsong

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Barry Zito throws during the first inning of Game 5 of baseball's National League championship series against the St. Louis Cardinals Friday, Oct. 19, 2012, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Barry Zito throws during the first inning of Game 5 of baseball’s National League championship series against the St. Louis Cardinals Friday, Oct. 19, 2012, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

So you’d think since we were advocating for Ryan Vogelsong to be the opening day starter that we’d be upset with Bruce Bochy’s announced rotation.

Bochy said the rotation will go like this:

  1. RHP Matt Cain
  2. LHP Madison Bumgarner
  3. RHP Tim Lincecum
  4. LHP Barry Zito
  5. RHP Ryan Vogelsong

But we don’t have any problem with this rotation, and here are six good reasons why we like this rotation.

NO. 1: Barry Zito earned the right to open the home opener when the Giants will hoist their 2012 World Series flag. It was Zito who saved the season in Game 5 of the NLCS with his gem in the fourth of the six elimination games the Giants faced last fall.

NO. 2: It sets up the right-left-right-left-right format in the rotation.

NO. 3: Putting Lincecum at the No. 3 slot instead of Vogelsong keeps Timmy’s fragile psyche in place. Vogey can handle being the No. 5 better than Lincecum, who has been the No. 1 guy the past four seasons.

NO. 4: The Giants have won the past 14 games started by Zito, and the Giants want to win their home opener.

NO. 5: Last weekend when Cain, Bumgarner and Lincecum started the season opening series in Arizona — not necessarily in that order — and the Giants lost all three games, it was Zito who pitched a shutout in his season debut in Colorado. Pitching in San Francisco will be much easier.

NO. 6: It’s sets up the rotation against the Cardinals exactly as it aligned in Games 5, 6 and 7 of the NLCS: Zito, Vogelsong, Cain.

Have you seen Tim Lincecum’s new haircut?

Last year, I put up a post about Tim Lincecum’s hair. It was prior to his second start of the season when he spent an off day in Denver getting a hair cut.

Image of Tim Lincecum posted on KNBR's Facebook page

Image of Tim Lincecum posted on KNBR’s Facebook page

Lincecum said last season he was going for the Tom Cruise “Ghost Protocol” look when somewhat trimmed down his flowing locks.

But the look Lincecum showed up with on Friday is something completely different. It’s more like Tom Cruise “A Few Good Men.”

We haven’t seen Lincecum’s hair THIS short since his 2007 rookie season. That was two Cy Youngs ago, and after last season, that seems like an eternity ago.

But it appears as if The Freak is looking for a fresh start.

And that’s a good idea after a forgettable 2012. Obviously, 2013 is a huge season for The Freak.

We’ll have more on that later.

Plenty of MVPs to go around for World Series champion San Francisco Giants

Commissioner Bud Selig hands San Francisco Giants’ Pablo Sandoval his MVP trophy after Game 4 of baseball’s World Series against the Detroit Tigers Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Detroit. The Giants won 4-3 to win the series. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, Pool )

Pablo Sandoval was the MVP of the 2012 World Series. And that was an easy call.

The Panda hit .500 (8 for 16) with three home runs, four RBI, a double and only two strikeouts. And, of course, he had the three-homer game.

But there were a lot of MVPs in the World Series for the Giants. Here are others:

RHP Tim Lincecum 4.2 IP, 0 hits, 0 runs, one walk, eight strikeouts

RHP Sergio Romo 3 IP, 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, five strikeouts, three saves

LHP Madison Bumgarner 7 IP, 2 hits, 0 runs, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts, 1 win.

RHP Ryan Vogelsong, 5.2 IP, 5 hits, 0 run, 4 walks, 3 strikeouts, 1 win

OF Gregor Blanco, 4-15 (.267), 3B, RBI, three great catches, great relay throw to Marco Scutaro to get Prince Fielder at the plate

C Buster Posey, 4-15 (.267), HR, 3 RBI, caught outstanding series, two shutouts.

LHP Barry Zito, 5.2 IP, 6 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, 1 win, 1-2, RBI

LHP Jeremy Affeldt, 2 IP, 0 hit, 0 run, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

SS Brandon Crawford, 3-12 (.250), RBI, stolen base, outstanding defensive shortstop

A Cy Young winning night in Game 1 of the World Series

Game 1 of the 2012 World Series featured three Cy Young Award winners, and one of them got rocked.

San Francisco Giants’ Barry Zito tips is hat to the crowd after being removed from the game during the sixth inning of Game 1 of baseball’s World Series against the Detroit Tigers Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

It wasn’t Barry Zito.

It wasn’t Tim Lincecum.

It was Justin Verlander.

On an amazing night at AT&T Park, Zito had another amazing outing. Zito gave up one run on six hits and one walk in 5 2/3 innings, striking out three.

Zito didn’t want to come out with two outs in the sixth, after throwing 81 pitches.

Eighty-one pitches to get through almost six innings?!?!? From Zito!?!? He needed 76 to get through 2 2/3 in Cincinnati two weeks ago.

But in the past two postseason starts, Zito has been efficient with his pitches. He’s stayed in the strike zone, pitched to contact and trusted his defense.

On Wednesday, they helped him out. Gregor Blanco made two very nice sliding catches on sinking liners off the bat of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. He got Dmitri Young to hit into a double play with a chop off the plate that was fielded nicely by Buster Posey.

When Zito averages fewer than four pitches per batter faced, good things happen.

In Game 5 of the NLCS, he averaged 3.97 pitches per batter. In Game 1 of the World Series, it was 3.52. In Game 4 of the NLDS vs. the Reds, it was 4.75.

In his final five starts of the regular season (all Zito wins, four of which were quality starts, the other one out from a quality start), Zito averaged 4.15, 3.81, 3.54, 3.78 and 3.88.

And then there was Tim Lincecum, who retired all seven batters he faced in 2 1/3 innings of relief, striking out five of them.

In Lincecum’s one postseason start, he gave up four runs on six hits with three walks and three strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. In his four postseason relief appearances, he’s given up one run on three hits with one walk and 14 strikeouts in 10 2/3 innings pitched.

“For me, it’s just getting mentally locked in,” Lincecum said. “When I’m starting, I fall off. I start thinking about the wrong things. When I’m in the bullpen, I’m just out there, just thinking about getting outs.”

Clearly, the bullpen is the place for the Freak this October. And Bochy was brilliant to leave him there.

If there was one complaint about Bochy’s usage of Lincecum, it’s that I would have rather seen Lincecum not used in Game 1 to nurse a 6-1 lead when there were only 10 outs to get.

I felt like the Giants could have managed the relief innings Wednesday with the likes of George Kontos, Jeremy Affeldt, Jose Mijares and Santiago Casilla.

I would have felt much better with the Freak in the pen in Game 2, behind the out-of-whack Madison Bumgarner.

After Lincecum had only needed 19 pitches to get four outs, I thought Bochy should have gone to another reliever after the Giants added some insurance runs. But Lincecum came back for the eighth. Apparently Bochy made a commitment not to use Lincecum on back-to-back days, however many pitches he used.

But Bochy’s thought process probably was that it was better to use a committee of 4-5 relievers in the event of another meltdown by MadBum in Game 2, given the day off on Friday, than to use the pen heavy in Game 1.

We’ll see if he’s right.

Or ever better, we won’t have to see … provided that Bumgarner can give the Giants 5 or 6 quality innings. But that’s something we haven’t seen a lot of in the past two months.

NLDS Game 4: San Francisco Giants 8, Cincinnati Reds 3

San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Tim Lincecum throws against the Cincinnati Reds during Game 4 of the National League division baseball series, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/David Kohl)


Game 1: Reds 5, Giants 2
Game 2: Reds 9, Giants 0
Game 3: Giants 2, Reds 1, 10 inn.
Game 4: Giants 8, Reds 3
Game 5: Giants (Cain) vs. Reds (Latos), 10:07 a.m. Thursday (TBS)

For the 13th consecutive time, the Giants won a game started by Barry Zito.

But like in a few other of the Zito’s previous 12 starts, the Giants won not because of him, but in spite of him.

Zito exited after 76 pitches in 2 2/3 innings, giving up two run on four hits, four walks. One of the runs the Reds scored off Zito came on three successive walks.

George Kontos came to clean up Zito’s mess in the third. When two Reds reached on infield singles in the fourth, Jose Mijares got Joey Votto, then Tim Lincecum entered.

This was the Tim Lincecum from Sunday’s game. The Tim Lincecum of the 2010 playoffs. The Tim Lincecum of the 2008 and 2009 Cy Young seasons.

Lincecum pitched 4.1 innings, giving up one run on two hits with no walks and six strikeouts.

He threw 55 pitches, 42 for strikes.

That goes with two scoreless innings he threw Sunday.

Combine the two relief efforts:

6.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 hits, 0 BB, 8 K. 80 pitches, 59 for strikes.

If you compare that line with any of Lincecum’s starts this season, in some ways there’s no comparison.

Number of Lincecum starts this season with zero walks? None.

Number of Lincecum starts in which Lincecum allowed three or fewer hits: Three. But in all three, he walked four.

So what’s the difference between Lincecum start and Lincecum out of the pen? Timmy didn’t really say.

“Right now, I fee like times are different,” Lincecum told the San Jose Mercury-News. “We’re playing to get to the NLCS and further. So I feel that, with that motivation, I don’t think about the difference between starting and being in a bullpen situation. It’s just that I’ve got to get my outs and do my job.”

On the flip side of the game, the Giants’ offense finally woke up.

For a team that had four runs on 10 hits in the first three games, the Giants broke free for eight runs on 11 runs on Wednesday.

Home runs from Angel Pagan in the first and Gregor Blanco in the second gave the Giants’ an early 3-1 lead they would not relinquish.

In the seventh, Pablo Sandoval launched a long, two-run home run that measured an estimated 422 feet to seal the deal. I didn’t see where it landed, but it was headed to the Ohio River.

Since this is MoreSplashHits, we celebrate splash hits, even near splash hits on the road.

So here’s the video.

Now the Giants have become the first NL team to fall behind 2-0 in the Division Series to force a Game 5 by winning two road games.

They’ve already made history once, why not do it again, by becoming the first NLDS team to advance after falling behind 0-2.

Stunning: Ryan Vogelsong to start Game 3 for San Francisco Giants

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong pitches to the San Diego Padres during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 28, 2012 in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

I’m stunned. Absolutely stunned.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy announced Sunday who will start Game 3 in Cincinnati: Ryan Vogelsong.

After Vogelsong pitched last week in Los Angeles — his third consecutive solid start after a very rough patch in August and early September — I felt Vogelsong was the best option for Game 3.

He has allowed one earned run in 17 innings over his last three starts. He’s back to the Vogelsong of old.

Tim Lincecum has just been to inconsistent this season, especially of late.

In his final two starts of the regular seasons, Lincecum got tagged for 11 earned runs in 10 innings.

And Barry Zito is, well, Barry Zito.

I felt best about Vogelsong in Game 3, regardless of the situation. I’m sure most Giants fans feel the same way.

I just wasn’t sure if Bruce Bochy would feel the same.

Bochy’s M.O. over the years have been to go with players who have success in the past — not necessarily in the present.

We saw it all last year when he sided with a struggling Aubrey Huff, instead of Brandon Belt. And there have been numerous others examples.

With Bochy, sometimes it seems more about loyalty than results.

I thought Bochy would go with Lincecum in Game 3, and Zito in Game 4, with Vogelsong coming out of the pen.

There is some logic to that strategy as Vogelsong is probably the best suited of the three to work out of the pen.

Bochy did not announce who would pitch Game 4, “but we have a pretty good idea of what we want to do,” he said.

Translation: Barry Zito pitches Game 4. But Bochy is leaving that option open, depending on what happens in Games 2 and 3.

The Giants have won the last 11 games in which Barry Zito has started, dating back to Aug. 7 in St. Louis. Zito was 5-0 in his last five starts, allowing eight earned runs in 30.2 innings (a 2.35 ERA). And the Reds have several key left-handed bats in their lineup.

Bochy said he talked to Lincecum and he’s ready to do anything he can to help the team, which Bochy said includes coming out of the pen.

Again, another sign that Zito is the Game 4 option.

But Lincecum out of the pen? I’m not so sure about that.

Lincecum posted a 7.64 ERA this season in the first inning of games. That doesn’t speak to a lot of confidence of him coming out of the pen. He’s struggled to find his rhythm early.

So is Lincecum only an option to pitch as an innings eater in the event the Giants fall behind big early in the game?

If so, it seems like a waste of a roster spot. But he is a two-time Cy Young winner. Although those trophies don’t get you any outs this October.
So it’s Ryan Vogelsong in Game 3, Barry Zito probably in Game 4, Matt Cain in Game 5. And Tim Lincecum in the pen.
I bet you Chris Lincecum, Timmy’s daddy, is going nuts right about now.

Five good reasons the San Francisco Giants can win without Melky Cabrera: Pitching wins championships

Pitching wins championships. It’s an overused cliche. But when it comes to the Giants, it’s true.

Pitching drove them to the 2010 World Series title. It kept the team’s head above water when it lost Buster Posey in 2011. And it can keep the Giants driving toward the postseason in 2012.

As of Aug. 16, the Giants’ team ERA of 3.66 ranks fifth in the National League. But it does not compare to the 3.20 ERA of 2011 or the 3.36 of 2010.

However, if you remove Tim Lincecum’s numbers from the team ERA, it sits at a more comparable 3.38.

Now, we don’t suggest the Giants remove Lincecum from the rotation. We just use that stat to point out that the team’s ERA has been inflated by Lincecum’s dreary first half of the season.

Since the All-Star break, Lincecum has a 3.33 ERA, right in line with what the rest of the staff has produced for the season.

So if Lincecum can continue to pitch like he has since the All-Star break — and the Giants’ weaker schedule should help him do that — the Giants should have the pitching to keep them in the race.

San Francisco Giants 7, Philadelphia Phillies 2: Tim Lincecum is all smiles after Freaky Friday

San Francisco Giants’ Tim Lincecum pitches in the second inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Friday, July 20, 2012, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)


Tim Lincecum talked about some funny things that were going on out on the mound Friday.

But unlike the funny things in his many of his previous starts this season, the Freak was able to laugh of Friday’s freaky stuff.

The first funny thing came in the third inning when Lincecum fielded a comebacker, threw to Buster Posey at first, then started to walk toward the dugout.

One problem: there were only two outs, and the Philadelphia fans let him know it.

“They all together were like ‘What the hell is this guy doing,’ ” Lincecum told the San Jose Mercury News. “I was like ‘All right, I’m an idiot for a minute. Now let’s go back to the mound.”

The second incident, which Lincecum admitted was less funny than the first, came when his foot slipped off the rubber while starting to deliver a pitch to Ryan Howard. The resulting fall led to a balk, which allowed Shane Victorino to score the game’s first run in the fourth inning.

But unlike earlier this season, Lincecum was able to pitch around the mishap and limit the damage to one run.

His Giants’ teammates would reward him with a five-run sixth inning that included a grand slam by Brandon Crawford, and Lincecum had his first road win since April 23.

It’s his second quality start of the season on the road (the first coming in that near disaster in Oakland).

It was his second consecutive quality start — only the second time he’s done that this season. Since the All-Star break, he’s allowed two earned runs in 15 innings with 17 strikeouts and three walks.

“I’ve got two outings that are good behind me, and now it’s about working on that next one,” he said. “I’m not saying by any means that this is: ‘I’m back.’ I’m just trying to get back to that consistency.

“I can use this as my springboard.”

Friday’s outing was the one Giants fans were worried about. After wilting in the East Coast swelter in starts in Washington and Pittsburgh earlier this week, Lincecum was glad to see temps in the 70s in Philadelphia on Friday.

Now his next two starts will come next Wednesday at home against the Padres, then July 31 at home vs. the Mets.

Friday’s start figures to be Lincecum’s last in a potential hot and humid location. If the rotation holds to form, Lincecum would start Aug. 5 at Colorado then miss a four-game set in St. Louis. Then his starts are scheduled to fall like this

  • Aug. 10 vs. Colorado (at home)
  • Aug. 15 vs. Washington (at home)
  • Aug. 21 at L.A. Dodgers
  • Aug. 26 vs. Atlanta (at home)
  • Sept. 1 at Chicago Cubs
  • Sept. 7 vs. L.A. Dodgers (at home)
  • Sept. 12  at Colorado
  • Sept. 18 vs. Colorado (at home)
  • Sept. 23 vs. San Diego (at home)
  • Sept. 29 at San Diego

In total from here out, that’s eight home starts and five road starts. A good recipe for the Freak the rest of the way.

Washington Nationals 9, San Francisco Giants 3: What to do about Tim Lincecum?

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum watches from the bench after he was pulled in the fourth inning of a baseball game with the Washington National, Tuesday, July 3, 2012, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)


Just when we thought Tim Lincecum had turned the corner on his ugly 2012 season, the Freak went and made a U-turn in our nation’s capital.

Lincecum was tagged for a career-high eight runs (seven earned) on nine hits in 3 1/3 innings in a hot, humid night in Washington. Lincecum threw 87 pitches, 48 for strikes.

By comparison, the four pitchers who relieved Lincecum gave up one run on four hits in 4 2/3 innings. George Kontos, Clay Hensley, Brad Penny and Javier Lopez threw a combined 71 pitches, 51 for strikes.

Now, Lincecum is 3-9 with a 6.08 ERA.

Lincecum and Bruce Bochy tried to blame Washington’s hot humid weather in the mid-90s for sapping Lincecum of his strength combined with a rapidly climbing pitch count and advantageous Nationals hitters.

It left many Giants fans wondering if Lincecum has returned to square run after encouraging outings against the A’s and Dodgers in his last two starts.

They are also wondering what are the Giants to do with their former two-time Cy Young winner.

The answer is simple: Nothing.

Bochy said Lincecum will make his next scheduled start Sunday in Pittsburgh before the All-Star break. It’s the right move because there aren’t a lot of better options right now than to hope Lincecum finds his groove again.

The good news for the Giants and Lincecum is the Pirates are 15th in the National League in hitting. The forecast for this weekend in Pittsburgh calls for a high of 100 on Friday, but then cooling to 87 by Sunday.

Then comes the All-Star break, which will allow the Giants to reset their rotation. If they do it right, they could help out Lincecum.

The best spot to start him is in the No. 3 spot in the rotation, which will give him a home start against the Astros on July 15, a game at the Phillies on July 21, then home games on July 27 vs. the Dodgers and Aug. 1 vs. the Mets.

Another option is the No. 5 spot. That would result in a start at the Braves (July 18) then home vs. the Padres (July 23) and Dodgers (July 29). But that would also align him for a start at Colorado on Aug. 3.

The No. 4 spot is the worst, starting with back-to-back hot-weather starts in Atlanta and Philadelphia.

But if by the end of July, there is not marked improvement, the Giants could consider Brad Penny as a rotation replacement. He’s looked solid so far in two relief outings.

Let’s just hope it doesn’t come to that.

San Francisco Giants 3, Los Angeles Dodgers 0: Giants beat L.A., beat L.A. beat L.A.


Where do we start?

  • The Giants beat the Dodgers 3-0 on Wednesday to complete a three-game sweep. That in itself is cause of celebration. But it doesn’t stop there.
  • The three-game sweep allowed the Giants to move into a first-place tie with the Dodgers in the NL West, the first time all season the Giants have been in first place.
  • It’s the first time the Giants have posted three consecutive shutouts since 1988.
  • It’s the first time the Giants have swept a three-game series all by shutouts since 1954.
  • It’s the first time the Giants have ever swept the Dodgers with three shutouts.
  • It’s the first time the Los Angeles Dodgers have been swept via three shutouts in their history.
  • And maybe most importantly, the Freak is back.

Lincecum posted his first victory since April 28, throwing seven innings, giving up four hits and two walks. He struck out eight in a 115-pitch outing.

Combined with his last start in Oakland, Lincecum has thrown 12 consecutive scoreless innings.

The closest the Dodgers came to scoring was in the third inning, when Dodgers pitcher Chad Billingsley doubled with one out. Billingsley took third on a wild pitch, the first (and only) time in the series that the Dodgers got a runner to third.

Lincecum bounced another pitch that got away from catcher Hector Sanchez. But Sanchez was able to get to the ball and throw to Lincecum covering home, who tagged out Billingsley trying to score.

Clearly, the Dodgers are scuffling on offense right now. But combined with his previous start, it was the kind of start that Lincecum can give confidence going forward.

Lincecum worked himself out of trouble a few times Wednesday. He got an inning-ending double play in the first inning. There was the Billingsley play in the third.

In the seventh, the Dodgers had runners on first and second and one out. Manager Bruce Bochy came out, and it looked like Lincecum might be done. But Bochy left him in, and the Freak got Tony Gwynn Jr. to fly to center and then he struck out Juan Uribe to end the inning.

A Freaky Finish.

Lincecum’s next start will come on Tuesday in Washington vs. the Nationals. Then he should get another start before the All-Star break in Pittsburgh.


Look for another pitchers’ duel Thursday as the Reds come into town for a four-game series. Madison Bumgarner faces Johnny Cueto for a 7:15 p.m. start Thursday.