Numbers favor Lincecum; in praise of Schierholtz
Saturday, June 9
SAN FRANCISCO — If you believe in statistics, then you’ll believe that Tim Lincecum holds a decided edge as he approaches Sunday’s start against the Texas Rangers.
Manolo Hernandez Douen, the fine baseball writer whose blog, Beisbol Por Gotas, is must reading, pointed out some intriguing facts to me after the Giants’ 5-2 victory over Texas on Saturday. During the Rangers’ weeklong Bay Area visit during which they’ve played the A’s and Giants, they’ve scored two earned runs in 30 2/3 innings against four right-handed starters: Oakland’s Jarrod Parker, Bartolo Colon and Brandon McCarthy and San Francisco’s Ryan Vogelsong. Contrast that with the nine runs in 10 2/3 innings that the Rangers amassed off left-handed starters Travis Blackley of the A’s and Barry Zito of the Giants.
The implication is that the right-handed Lincecum should thrive against the Rangers, whom he defeated twice in the 2010 World Series. Of course, nothing is a given with Lincecum this year. But Giants manager Bruce Bochy continues to believe that Lincecum will regain his two-time Cy Young Award form sooner than later.
“We have all the confidence in the world” in Lincecum, Bochy said. “This guy’s a special talent. It’s going to be a tough game. We know it.”
Presented with the righty-lefty statistical breakdown, Bochy downplayed it. More importantly, he maintains faith in Lincecum.
“Hopefully Timmy’s on top of his game and gives us a chance,” Bochy said. “That’s all we ask.”
I wish I opened my mouth earlier. Now I’ll just sound like another front-runner.
The solidifying of the Melky Cabrera-Angel Pagan-Gregor Blanco outfield threatened to make Nate Schierholtz a virtual nonentity. Entering Friday’s series opener against Texas, Schierholtz had started five of the Giants’ previous 35 games. In his previous 29 games — essentially, most of the season — Schierholtz was 8-for-56 (.143) with no extra base hits and one RBI.
Yet I continued to believe that the Giants would need an effective Schierholtz at some point. Maybe only for a few days, maybe for a week, maybe longer. But they would need him.
So when he lashed a run-scoring triple and a double Saturday, I felt smart. But not that smart, because all I seem like is a big phony.
Cabrera probably will recover from his ailing right hamstring by Tuesday, which means Schierholtz will return to the bench. But it’s good to know that Schierholtz remains capable of helping the team.
– Chris Haft