Results tagged ‘ Tim Lincecum ’
Well, that’s more like it.
Tim Lincecum made it a full trip through through the rotation with solid starts. Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Barry Zito and now Lincecum pitched at least three innings with no earned runs.
Lincecum cut his spring ERA in half by pitching four innings, giving up one unearned run on one hit and one walk with four strikeouts.
Heck, even Eric Surkamp, who would be the fill in for Ryan Vogelsong if he’s unable to go, gave up only one run in three innings.
“A lot better than last outing,” Lincecum said. “The fact that I doubled my innings helps and my arm still feels good, my body feels good, and I still kept my mechanics so I’m just trying to take that as a positive and run with it.”
Lincecum threw 37 of his 58 pitches for strikes. The lone run he allowed came when Jarrod Dyson got an infield hit that deflected off Lincecum’s foot. Dyson then stole second and took third when Eli Whiteside’s throw went into center. Dyson then scored on a groundout.
- OF Gregor Blanco continued to keep pressure on Giants brass by going 3 for 3 with a walk and his sixth stolen base of the spring. He’s hitting .545.
- Freddy Sanchez started again at DH, going 0 for 3 with a walk.
- 1B Brett Pill went 2 for 4 with a double.
- 3B Conor Gillaspie belted a solo home run in the second.
Madison Bumgarner gets the start as the Giants play the Cubs in Scottsdale at 1:05 p.m. Buster Posey is scheduled to catch four more innings.
MoreSplashHits is launching something new today, providing a roundup of each day’s news from Giants spring training with links and commentary.
Monday’s news focused on pitchers providing optimistic reports (are there any other kinds of reports in late February?), including Tim Lincecum, Brian Wilson, Dan Runzler and Ryan Vogelsong.
We’ll start with The Beard.
WILSON: Wilson admitted earlier this spring that he pitched through pain through most of 2011. It started early in spring training with a hip injury that eventually lead to the Giants closer opening the season on the disabled list. It ended with Wilson’s season effectively ending in mid-August with elbow problems.
So the Giants are taking a conservative approach this spring with Wilson. He’s not scheduled to pitch in a spring training game until at least March 11. But Wilson says that won’t keep him from being ready for the season opener on April 6.
“If there’s a save opportunity on Opening Day, I’ll be saving the game,” Wilson declared Monday.
For more on The Beard, check out Andrew Baggarly’s report on CSNBayArea.com.
LINCECUM: The Freak faced hitters for the first time this spring and rated the workout an 8.5 out of 10. Lincecum did not allow a ball to leave the infield while facing prospects Connor Gillaspie, Justin Christian, Andrew Sugac and Francisco Peguero. Bochy said Lincecum is on pace to pitch the Giants spring opener on Saturday.
RUNZLER: The left-handers has come to camp looking to tap into the potential the Giants were excited about since making a rapid rise through the ranks in 2009.
But injury and an inability to consistently throw strikes have hurt Runzler’s development. He dislocated his knee while swinging and missing during his first major league at-bat in 2010. The Giants dabbled with the idea of converting Runzler into a starting pitcher in 2011, but that idea appears to have been scrubbed. Finally, Runzler pulled a lat muscle in last season’s final game.
Now, he’s facing long odds of making the opening day roster, but is still working toward that goal. For more, see Baggarly’s report.
THIS AND THAT
- Ryan Vogelsong, whose start to camp has been delayed by a back issue, threw from flat ground Monday and felt “really, really good.” He may throw again Tuesday.
- 2B Freddy Sanchez developed lower back stiffness Monday. Manager Bruce Bochy called it a “hiccup.” But any hiccup with Sanchez this spring will cause Giants fans to hold THEIR breath.
- C Buster Posey, who looks good in facing live pitching in batting practice for the first time over the weekend, got Monday off. All part of his spring rehab plan.
Matt Cain or Tim Lincecum? That seems to be the million dollar question for the Giants this spring. Can they afford both?
Many believe the answer is no. Eric Byrnes and John Hart said as much last month when Tim Lincecum signed his two-year, $40.5 million deal.
General manager Brian Sabean said yes.
“We’ll have enough wherewithal in the budget to sign both players,” Sabean said in early February.
But how can this be, when Cain and Lincecum could end up costing the Giants $50 million a season, or more?
Well, let’s call it the Zito/Rowand Factor.
For the past four seasons and into 2012, the Giants have spent at least $30 million a season for Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand and received little in return. In 2013, that figure will drop to $20 million (just Zito). In 2014, it will just be Zito’s $7 million buyout.
If the Giants can afford to spend more than $64 million on Zito, Lincecum, Cain and Rowand in 2012, they can afford to give Cain as much as $22 million in 2013 with Rowand’s $12 million coming off the board. In 2014, Zito’s contract comes off the board.
So, the Giants should easily be able to sign Lincecum and Cain for less than $64 million a season.
Not only that, but other contracts come off the board after 2012. Aubrey Huff ($10 million), Freddy Sanchez ($6 million), Jeremy Affledt ($5 million), Angel Pagan ($6 million) and Melky Cabrera ($4.85 million) are among the Giants who will be eligible for free agency after this season.
But there are other factors. Brian Wilson is eligible for his final year of arbitration in 2013. Buster Posey will be arbitration-eligible in 2013. Madison Bumgarner also could possibly join him. Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla are also arbitration-eligible.
Cain said on Saturday that he want to settle on a contract extension by the start of the season and is seeking “fair value.”
But what is fair value?
The Giants reportedly offered Lincecum a five-year, $100 million offer, which he rejected before agreeing to the two-year, $40.5 million deal.
MoreSplashHits thinks that offer was more designed for Cain than Lincecum. The Giants offered it knowing Lincecum would turn it down. Then they could turn and make a similar offer to Cain.
The fact that Cain hasn’t nibbled yet indicates he could be seeking more — perhaps along the lines of the five-year, $120 million deal Cliff Lee got from the Phillies last year.
It used to be that every player showed up to spring training out of shape. Then they’d spend six weeks whipping themselves into playing shape.
But those days are long gone. Most players these days spend the offseason sticking to a steady offseason workout regimen. Spring training is about refining their hitting, fielding and pitching skills.
Still, several Giants reported to camp this season and discussed (whether they wanted to or not) about their weight. In some cases, their weight kept them from reporting to camp. Here’s where how some Giants are doing in the battle against the bulge.
PABLO SANDOVAL: Yes, Sandoval’s weight is making news. And he may be getting tired talking about it. But what do you expect when your nickname is “Kung Fu Panda?” Sandoval broke in with the Giants as a lovable round rookie in 2008 and made a big splash in 2009, earning the nickname from Barry Zito (Zito’s greatest contribution as a Giant). But the pounds kept coming in 2010 and production dropped off, eventually earning Sandoval a spot on the bench as the Giants made their postseason run. Sandoval rededicated himself that offseason, losing 38 pounds. The slimmer Panda was the most productive Giants with the bat in 2011, even after missing six weeks with a broken bone in his hand. No one seemed to care as he added 10-20 pounds by season’s end. Sandoval will step on the scales Thursday, but doesn’t seem to care about the number. He spent the winter again working out in Arizona. Manager Bruce Bochy raised concerns about Sandoval’s weight a couple weeks ago, not coincidentally right about the time Sandoval signed a three-year, $17 million contract. But the skipper seemed less concerned when Sandoval arrived in cap. As long as The Panda hits and fields third base, it doesn’t really matter what his weight is.
AUBREY HUFF: Huff arrived at camp looking lean after spending the winter working out in Arizona and resuming the Pilates workouts that he did prior to the 2010 season when he hit .290 and belted 26 home runs. The Giants suggested that Huff was out of shape when he arrived at camp last spring, leading to a 2011 season in which he hit .246 and 12 homers. Huff worked himself into shape this winter because the Giants are considering playing him in left field, preferring to let Brandon Belt focus on first base. Last season, Huff looked lost in the offseason. It’s something to watch this spring.
ANGEL VILLALONA: One Giant prospect not in camp is Angel Villalona. Villalona hasn’t played baseball in two years after dealing with legal issues in the Dominican Republic. He has not been issued a visa to enter the U.S. because his visa requires him to be an “elite athlete.” Apparently, Villalona’s weight and other health issues have prevented him from earning that distinction. The Giants hope the delay is only temporary. In the meantime, he’ll continue to work out at the Giants’ Dominican facility.
BRIAN WILSON: The Giants closer said he lost 10 to 15 pounds in the offseason as he concentrated on more cardio exercising than weightlifting. Wilson said that his devotion to weightlifting last offseason may have contributed to his elbow problems that shortened his 2011. But more than that, he said it had more to do with the Giants deep postseason run of 2010 and the shortened offseason.
TIM LINCECUM: You wouldn’t generally think of The Freak and weight issues. The right-hander ended the 2010 season at 160 pounds. Thinking he needed to add bulk to aid his durability, he added 15 pounds that offseason. Normally, the pounds start to come off during the season. But last season, his weight jumped to 187, fueled by a steady diet of In-N-Out’s Double-Doubles. His weight eventually went to 196 pounds by last October. “I wore a lot of sweats that month.” Sparked by teasing from his father, Lincecum spent much of this offseason swimming and avoiding junk food. Lincecum reported to camp at 175 pounds. “I’m not crushing vegtables by any means, but I am eating a lot better.”
At the start of Wednesday’s spring training game between the Giants and White Sox, the White Sox announcers noted that because the Giants had played a night game on Tuesday, Wednesday’s lineup was filled with players who would either be on the bench or in Fresno on opening day.
And that should help the White Sox get a win, given that manager Ozzie Guillen was throwing out a lineup that was filled with opening-day regulars.
It was a nice theory, but ….
In the end, the Giants improved to 16-5 on the spring with a 5-3 win over the Pale Hose.
To make matters worse for the White Sox, most of the damage was done by the bottom of the lineup as the No. 6-9 hitters delivered 10 of the Giants’ 15 hits.
Leading the way was first baseman Brandon Belt, who had a single, double and two-run home run in four at-bats. Nate Schierholtz continued his push to make the big club by going 3 for 5 (all singles) and improving his spring average to .342.
The lone lock for an opening day start in Wednesday lineup was on the mound. Tim Lincecum threw 75 pitches, giving up one run on three hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out seven.
The San Francisco Giants began the 2011 Spring Training schedule the way they ended many of their games from the 2010 championship season — with some drama.
The Arizona Diamondbacks scored two runs in the top of the ninth and had the tying run on second base when non-roster invitee Casey Daigle struck out the final batter to preserve a 7-6 win for the Giants in their spring opener Friday.
As the Giants left the field, one fan at Scottsdale Stadium shouted “Awww, the torture’s back already? Couldn’t you break us in?” the San Jose Mercury News reported.
Is torture possible on Feb. 25? Not really.
Tim Lincecum gave up three runs on five hits in his 1 2/3 innings of work. He gave up four consecutive singles to open the game, leading to the three-run first. But the Mercury News reported he was throwing 93 mph while focusing on his fastball and slider. He did not throw his change-up.
Here are some other highlights from Friday’s game.
- Madison Bumgarner had a solid outing, other than hanging a change-up that Xavier Nady hit out of the park. MadBum was throwing 91-92 mph, which is much better than the upper-80s he had last spring.
- Leadoff hitter Andres Torres drew two walks in three plate appearances and scored both times.
- Buster Posey went 2 for 3, including a two-run double.
- Pablo Sandoval showed some plate discipline, refusing to swing at a pitch in the dirt during an at-bat that ended with a sacrifice fly. He later didn’t offer on a high pitch on a 3-2 count and drew a walk. Encouraging.
Manager Bruce Bochy and pitching coach Dave Righetti set the starting rotation for the 2011 Giants. And here it is:
RH Tim Lincecum
LH Jonathan Sanchez
RH Matt Cain
LH Barry Zito
LH Madison Bumgarner
Now there are some who might object to this rotation, saying that Cain has earned the distinction of being No. 2 man, and that Zito is better placed at No. 5.
But there are several reasons this rotation is the best one.
1. The mix of RH-LH-RH-LH-LH offers different looks to opposing lineups. That different look of pitching behind Cain would put Zito in the best position to succeed. And don’t we all want Zito to succeed?
2. Stress on the bullpen. Lincecum and Cain are the two pitchers on the staff best equipped to pitch deep into a game. Putting them back-to-back would leave the bullpen susceptible to a heavy workload in consecutive games. Sanchez has the ability of pitching eight innings of two-hit ball one start and struggling to get out of the fifth inning the next. And, of course, Zito is the poster child for failing to get out of the fifth. Putting a workhorse like Cain in between the two is a good move.
3. Sanchez has earned the chance to supplant Zito in the No. 2 start with a strong finish last season.
4. Keeping Bumgarner at No. 5 lessens the taxing on his arm. Although, the Giants will not skip anyone in the rotation, so the benefit of this is diminished.
5. Moving Zito down in the rotation gives him a better chance at getting some improved run support because he’s facing the opposition’s No. 4 pitcher. Run support has been a problem for Zito. Now he gets to go against the likes of, for example, the Dodgers’ Jon Garland, instead of Chad Billingsley.
All good reasons. Now, let’s see if it works. And let’s hope (knock on wood) that there’s no reason to change this rotation between now and March 31.
When MoreSplashHits saw the first images of Tim Lincecum working out at spring training, I thought “Hey! The Freak cut his hair.”
Well, the image is an optical illusion of sorts. Lincecum has pulled his hair back into a neat ponytail. And in the above image, you can’t see the ponytail. So Lincecum of 2011 looks a little bit like Lincecum of 2007.
But what’s more important than the Freak’s hair — all right maybe AS important — is Lincecum’s commitment.
Last season, the Freak hit a rough patch in August, losing five straight starts with an ERA approaching 8.00 over those starts. Giants management called Lincecum to task regarding the pitcher’s conditioning and regimen between starts.
Lincecum got the message, rededicated himself to have a solid September, then led the Giants to their first World Series title in 56 years.
Apparently, Lincecum carried his commitment through the offseason. Everyone from Buster Posey to Bruce Bochy remarked how Lincecum looked like he was ready to start the season Tuesday.
“I don’t ever want to go through that again, whether it’s people doubting my workouts or my work ethic,” Lincecum told Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. “I want to come in ready to pitch at a high level and not make any excuses.”
Rotation order one-fifth set
We learned Tuesday that Lincecum will be the Giants’ opening day starter on March 31 in Los Angeles. No shocker there.
But after that, Bochy was not willing to commit.
One scenario would involve pitching Matt Cain behind Lincecum, which would leave three left-handers in a row.
Bochy said he’d be OK with that because with off days the three lefties would rarely face the same team in the same series. It’s a nice theory, but in reality the first series in which all three lefties would face the same team would come on April 15-17 in Arizona. This is assuming all five pitcher pitch in turn from opening day.
The Mercury News reported that Lincecum would be line to pitch the season opener and the home opener on April 8. But that’s not true. They must have overlooked the fact that the season opens March 31, not April 1. And that the home opener is the seventh game of the season, not the sixth.
Kent coming to camp
The Giants announced that Jeff Kent has been invited to spring training to work as a special instructor. Kent spent six seasons with the Giants, winning the 2000 NL MVP award.
Kent left the Giants after the 2002 season for two seasons in Houston, and then finished his career with four seasons with the Dodgers.
Kent is expected to work with a variety of players, but it’s thought the he’ll work with second baseman Charlie Culberson as well as work with Buster Posey on being a cleanup hitter.
We can only hope he doesn’t offer Giants players tips on the best Phoenix-area locations on where to “wash your truck.”
The Giants enter spring training not really worrying about the starting rotation. It’s set, barring any injury. That’s the only reason they signed Jeff Suppan to a minor-league deal.
Knock on wood, this is the 2011 starting rotation
RH Tim Lincecum
LH Barry Zito
RH Matt Cain
LH Jonathan Sanchez
LH Madison Bumgarner
Now, as much as some Giants fans would love to move Zito down in the rotation, the No. 2 spot is the best place for him. Putting the soft-throwing Zito in between the hard-throwing Lincecum and Cain makes sense.
And please, please, please, can we stop with the questions and comments around moving Zito and his contract. He’s not going anywhere. He’s set to make $18.5 million, $19 million and $20 million over the next three years. He’s got an $18 million option for 2014 that will vest if Zito pitches 200 innings in 2013 or averages 200 IPs over 2012-13 or 2011-13. The only good news is that Zito has not pitched more than 199.1 innings in any of his four seasons in San Francisco.
He’ll never be the kind of pitcher who warrants that kind of salary. But the Giants just need to hope he can be a functional starter.
But the bigger issue at hand is that Zito is the only returning starter who is not coming off a career-high for innings pitched in 2010 — regular and postseason.
So the concern is if any of the four starters will feel the effects of all those innings thrown in October.
Look for the Giants to be conservative with their pitchers this spring and early in the season. What the Giants should consider is treating Bumgarner like a true No. 5 starter in April.
The Giants have five scheduled off days in April, meaning they would only need a No. 5 starter three times in April — the opening homestand, the road trip to Arizona and Colorado, and the end-of-the-month trip to Pittsburgh and Washington.
They could skip Bumgarner’s turn in the rotation and throw him as a long man in between starts.
But we don’t expect the Giants to do this. This has not been Bruce Bochy’s M.O. Hopefully this philosophy doesn’t come back to hurt the Giants
Giants 9, Dodgers 0
WP: Lincecum (3-0)
Giants HRs: None
Record: 8-3, 1st in NL West, 2 games ahead of Colorado
As More Splash Hits pile on the runs against the Dodgers on Saturday, there was one thought going through my mind.
SAVE SOME RUNS FOR TOMORROW!!!!!
The Giants pounded out nine runs and 12 hits and drew six walks. And that was great. But all the Giants needed was one run. All they needed was Tim Lincecum.
The Giants’ ace finished 3 for 4 with three RBI. Lincecum had three hits. The Dodgers only managed four hits off Lincecum.
It’s funny how back in March, we were all worried about Lincecum. Then, April came and he’s back to his old self. Of course, back in March we were all amazed by Todd Wellemeyer, and now …….
Saturday’s win was the Giants’ third shutout of the season. The first came on Barry Zito’s first start of the season in Houston. The second came Wednesday against the Pirates behind Jonathan Sanchez. And now Lincecum, who really should have contributed to another shutout on opening day if not for Brandon Medders giving up two runs in the ninth.
Medders almost did it again Saturday, putting runners on second and third in the ninth before getting out of the inning.
Only one other major league club has more than one shutout.
We only hope the bats stay alive for one more day as the Giants take on the Dodgers’ talented young left-hander Clayton Kershaw. Giant hitters have fared well against lefties this season.