Results tagged ‘ Tim Lincecum ’

Pitching rotation set; no qualms

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.

Spring training notes: Freak ready to go now

timlinc.jpg

The Associated Press

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.”

Countdown to Spring Training: No. 2, Rotation

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

Lincecum does it all

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.

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