Results tagged ‘ Tim Lincecum ’
Philadelphia Phillies 5, San Francisco Giants 2: Nine good reasons why you should not panic about Tim Lincecum
Another Tim Lincecum, another rough start for The Freak.
Lincecum gave up five runs on eight hits in six innings of work, his longest outing of the season (ouch!) in the loss to the Phillies on Monday.
And while there is certainly concern for the two-time Cy Young winner, there’s certainly no reason to panic … yet.
So for each of the nine first-inning runs Lincecum has allowed this season, we’ll pass along nine good reason NOT to panic about Lincecum.
1. He lowered his season ERA. OK, fine, it may have been only because he came into the game with an ERA at 12.91 and now it sits at 10.54. But it’s something.
2. If the defense had helped him out, Lincecum would have had his damage minimized if not eliminated. Placido Polanco’s one-out double should have been caught, instead of falling between Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera. Pagan then did not field Hunter Pence’s single cleanly, eliminating any chance of a play at the plate with the less-than-fleet-footed Polanco. Laynce Nix’s two-run double, which capped the first-inning scoring, should have at best been a one-run double and more like a one-run single, but Cabrera could not get to the ball before it headed to the wall in right. We’ve seen a lot of this from Cabrera this season (thank God we’re not depending on him to play CF). This issue may actually have a bigger impact on Brandon Belt. The Giants’ best defensive outfield alignment in Cabrera in left, Pagan in center and Nate Schierholtz in right. But Monday, Schierholtz said so Aubrey Huff started in left and Belt at first. After watching his defense struggle Monday, we may see more of Schierholtz patrolling AT&T Park’s tricky right field.
3. The Giants are used to having one of their five starting pitchers struggling. They’ve been used to it since 2007.
4. After the first inning, Lincecum limited the damage, allowing only run on four hits over the next five innings. Through three starts, Lincecum has a first-inning ERA of 27.00. He’s given up nine runs in the first inning this season. In 33 starts last season, he gave up a total of 8. If he can get THAT figured out, things should improve.
5. Who needs to worry about Tim Lincecum when you’ve got Barry Zito!!!!
6. Lincecum’s drop in velocity can be attributed to a lack of control than anything else. Lincecum said all through the spring that the has struggled to locate his fastball, leaving many up. That fact, and the fact that he is looking to reduce his 86 walks from 2011, has led to the reduced velocity. If you can’t control your fastball, what do you do? You take something off of it so that he can gain more control. According to CSNBayArea.com, Lincecum was throwing between 90-92 in the first inning, when he gave up those four runs. After the first, he threw between 89-91. Why? To gain command. We expect once Lincecum finds his rhythm and command, the mph on his fastball will rise back to the 92-93 that we are more used to.
7. The upcoming schedule is a favorable for Lincecum. His next start is slated to come Sunday in the New York. And even with their hot start, the Mets are still the Mets, hardly a vaunted lineup. And even with the fences moved in a bit, Citi Field continues to be more of a pitchers park. Then Lincecum should miss the series in Cincinnati (good thing) so he can open the next homestead against the crummy Padres.
8. Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner are both locked up through 2017.
9. We’ve seen Lincecum go through funks like this before. And we’ve seen him work his way out of these funks.
Well, thank God for Barry Zito.
Who would imagine we’d ever write that a week ago?
But a lot of assumptions we had about the 2012 Giants in spring training haven’t been fulfilled so far in the regular season.
We thought the offense would struggle. Nope. The Giants are averaging almost six runs a game so far this season.
We thought Brandon Belt was going to rake. No. He’s hitting .091 this season.
We though Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner were ready for the season. Well, so far we haven’t seen that, particularly from Lincecum.
But before we get to the ugly details of Wednesday’s game in Colorado, let’s get to the stuff apparently everyone wants to know about — The Freak’s new haircut.
Lincecum had about 4 inches of length cut off his locks during Tuesday’s day off in Denver. But his hair was so long, it was hard to notice.
So we’ve included a picture from Wednesday game with his new haircut, and one from spring training, so you could see the difference.
The big difference we want to see is on Lincecum’s pitching.
The Freak got knocked around for six runs on eight hits and two walks in 2 1/3 innings, the shortest outing of his career.
Yet Lincecum needed 76 pitches to get seven outs.
His velocity was good, topping out at 93 mph. But he struggled to locate his fastball, which was up and catching too much of the plate. The Rockies then pounded those pitches, even after falling
behind 0-2 or 1-2 in the count.
“Just sloppy baseball for me,” Lincecum said. “Not really executing pitches, missing a lot, and it’s going to hurt you, especially in this park.
If there’s silver lining, it’s that Lincecum wasn’t alone in his pitching struggles, leading some to claim that the Rockies didn’t put the baseballs into their famed humidor Wednesday.
“I actually thought his stuff was a little crisper, he was just up,” manager Bruce Bochy said of Lincecum. “He left a lot pitches up, a lot of mistakes when he was up in the count. Tough time putting hitters away, really across the board with the staff. Rough night for the staff.”
Rockies starter Jeremy Guthrie couldn’t make it out of the fourth inning, when the Giants erased a 6-0 deficit with a seven-run fourth.
But that didn’t last long as Guillermo Mota came into the game and gave up five runs (four earned) in one-plus innings. Jeremy Affeldt didn’t fare much better, giving up five more runs (two earned) in two innings.
The low-point came when the Rockies put up a seven-run inning of their own in the fifth.
Ramon Hernandez’s single scored Todd Helton with the fourth run of the inning, then the Giants failed twice on the same play to get the third out of the inning.
Angel Pagan’s throw from center was not going to be in time to get Helton at home. Brett Pill went to cut the throw off, but instead deflected it to the right of home plate.
Catcher Hector Sanchez chased the ball down and threw to Affeldt covering home in time to beat Michael Cuddyer trying to score. But Cuddyer stopped short and headed back to third.
Affeldt threw to Pablo Sandoval, who ran Cuddyer back toward home. Sandoval attempted to throw to Sanchez at home. But Pill, who was between Sandoval and Sanchez, thought the throw was to him and attempted to catch the ball and swipe tag Cuddyer going by in one motion, and failed to hold onto the ball.
As Cuddyer scored, Sandoval picked up the ball and threw to Brandon Crawford at third trying to cut down Hernandez trying to advance. But Hernandez pulled a Houdini act in avoiding Crawford’s tag and was safe at third. That allowed the Rockies to pile on two more runs in the inning on a double by Chris Nelson and triple by Eric Young Jr., and take a 16-7 lead.
We’ll try to find some other good news to report.
- Nate Schierholtz got his first start of the season and belted two solo home runs and added a sacrifice fly.
- 2B Emmanuel Burriss went 3 for 4 with three RBI.
- Pablo Sandoval smacked two doubles, keeping his bat hot.
- Buster Posey’s case of the shingles is not that serious, as Posey himself said. He came into warm up Affeldt between innings when Sanchez was getting his gear on. He also flied out in the eighth as a pinch-hitter.
- Despite giving up 17 runs on 22 hits, the Giants pitchers didn’t allow a home run. Small consolation, I know.
Madison Bumgarner hits the start against Jamie Moyer at 12:10 p.m. Thursday in a battle of diverse ages. We’re not sure what the lineup is going to look like, but if we had to guess, this is what we’d say.
CF Angel Pagan
LF Melky Cabrera
C Buster Posey
3B Pablo Sandoval
1B Brett Pill
LF Nate Schierholtz
SS Brandon Crawford
2B Emmanuel Burriss
P Madison Bumgarner
Let’s see if we’re right.
Wednesday started out as just as any other mid-week day after a day off in Denver that followed a Barry Zito shutout.
Then things got REALLY wacky.
First came the announced lineup for Wednesday’s game at Colorado that did not include Brandon Belt.
This came just two days after manager Bruce Bochy said, when talking about Belt’s day off on Monday: “I think we’re getting a little caught up here. There’s no panic (with Belt).” And then he said Belt would be back out there on Wednesday.
Then Wednesday’s come, and no Belt. What?
We’re guessing Bochy wanted to get Nate Schierholtz his first start on Wednesday. Then after doing that, he looked at the lineup that would have had a struggling Belt No. 5 followed by Schierholtz No. 6, then Brandon Crawford and Emmanuel Burriss, and he didn’t like it. So Aubrey Huff, who had a nice game Monday, gets the start.
OK, it’s not unreasonable. But with the lefty Jamie Moyer starting Thursday, we would expect Brett Pill to start at first base. That means no Belt starting the entire Rockies series, which is a lovely park for a struggling hitter to find his stroke.
Then, Lincecum showed up to the park with four inches of hair lopped off, saying that he “just wanted a haircut.”
But that story would take a backseat to the next nugget: Buster Posey was out of the lineup with shingles.
Shingles is triggered by the same virus that causes chicken pox, leading to painful blisters. Posey has blisters on his arm, left shoulder and back. Posey said he had chicken pox as a young child, but the virus stays dormant in the box and can be flared by a cold, lack of sleep or stress.
So beware Ozzie Guillen.
Posey said he started to feel worn down toward the end of spring training and the blisters began to emerge Sunday.
“You feel zapped,” he told CSNBayArea’s Andew Baggarly. “I just feel worn down still. I’m planning on being in there (Thursday), though.”
Posey has been told the condition generally clears in four or five days, but can last as long as three weeks.
Given that, we wouldn’t be surprised if Posey plays first base on Thursday, with Sanchez drawing another start behind the plate.
Still two hours until game time, and no word if Brian Wilson is clean-shaven or not.
Is it possible to scatter six extra-base hits? Well, Tim Lincecum found a way to do that Saturday against the Oakland Athletics.
Lincecum gave up six hits — one single, two triples and three doubles — but only one run in six innings, his longest outing of the spring.
Five of those extra-base hits came in the first two innings, but Lincecum worked his way out of a trouble with a little help from Nate Schierholtz.
It was all part of Lincecum’s pledge this spring: Throw more strikes.
“No walks,” he told CSNBayArea.com’s Andrew Baggarly. “It’s a huge thing for me. It’s about getting ahead, and even when you don’t, not being afraid to throw a wrinkle down the middle. For me, that’s a two-seamer. Hopefully, you induce a ground ball or something.”
Lincecum’s 86 walks last season ranked second in the National League last season (with extra thanks to Jonathan Sanchez and Barry Zito being hurt for a good portion of the year). Also, his 3.99 pitches per batter kept Lincecum from going deeper into games.
He was worried that was the case Saturday when he came in after the fourth inning and was surprised to find out he was only at 48 pitches.
“I was like ‘oh, I guess it’s not as bad as I thought,” he said.
- The offense got off to a slow start, managing just one hit in the first three innings. But the Giants got it going in the fourth with a single by Freddy Sanchez, double by Melky Cabrera, sacrifice fly (with two strikes) from Pablo Sandoval, double by Nate Schierholtz and home run from Ryan Theriot.
- Theriot’s home run was one of three on the game for the Giants. Sandoval and Angel Pagan added solo shots.
- Pagan, coming off have a wisdom tooth pulled earlier this week, went 2 for 4 with a stolen base and home run.
- Brian Wilson allowed an unearned run, but also walked two in his two-third of an inning. He also struck out two.
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.