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

12 Comments

Given how hammies are long-term issues (see Durham, Ray) I think Bochy will rest Melky a little more often to give Schierholtz some starts. I think he will do the same with Pagan at some point as well. And Gregor hasn’t played a full MLB season in a while, he will need a blow as well. If you give each a rest, that’s three starts for Schierholtz.

And as much as I hope they all continue hitting great like this, at some point someone will start slumping and Schierholtz would get more starts that was as well.

Schierholtz should have remained in the mix from the beginning. Not quite sure what Bochy (or Schulman and Lurie, for that matter) was thinking by appearing to go out of his way to marginalize him. It would be totally unfair to blame anything else for his slump in avg, as it has been made impossible for him to re-attain any sort of groove. Interesting Schulman still doesn’t mention him in his mid-season assessment. Like the guy has some sort of mental block.

Nate had a pretty good April, from what I can recall…

Giants need a reliable RH bat in the outfield–not someone who has a good day every six weeks against non-division opponents. Quality pitchers will always find a way to get Nate out when it really matters.

If not too serious–Melky’s injury could be a blessing in disguise. He really needed a week off to recharge his batteries until the A-S break, after the way the Boch has “saddled-up” on him over the first two months of the season, with hardly a game off.

Who’s to say it wasn’t fatigue that set the stage for the injury in the first place?

After tonight’s perfect game — and Blanco’s amazing catch! — I’d like to start a campaign in support of calling Blanco “the roach” (anyone else ever read Kafka?). A perfect compliment to the Panda, the Horse, the Freak, the Giraffe…

Get your costumes together, Giants fans! The pesky little outfielder looks to annoy opposing teams for the foreseeable future, and he can’t be gotten rid of…

I read “The Metamorphosis.” I had to cheat and do a little research on characters’ names, but of course I get your reference. Somewhere I actually have a Kafka baseball cap that a friend gave me decades ago when I was younger and smarter. I don’t know what nickname fits Blanco the best, but with all due respect I don’t think “The Roach” is going to catch on.

Nate did play well while Melky was recovering. On base 4 times in 4 at bats one day. I think he has beaten his slump, but unfortunate for Nate, he is the odd man out when compared to Cabrera, Pagan and Blanco. They are three strong players. I will always be rooting for Nate as I have long been a NATE THE GREAT fan. I grabbed Nate’s first splash hit on 7/8/11 and I proudly lifted a laminated sign that night that said “Nate’s 1st Splash” on one side and “Nate the Great” on the other. I carried that sign for 3 years in the Cove, but on that day, I got to use it!!! Go NATE!!

I really like your blog. I was wondering if you could check mine out. Come and see an 11 year old’s view on all things baseball. Please feel free to offer any advice.
-David

http://bleacherboy.wordpress.com/

Your stuff’s good. Seriously. Just let the ideas flow and write along with them!

Thank you.
-David

Chris, I noticed you mentioned in the Examiner that when Nate hit lead-off back in June it was the first time in his career. I am a bit confused as I distinctly recall, and the stats on the Giants website concur, that Nate hit lead-off in one game last year, and as a matter of fact went 3 for 3 with a triple. Is there some sort of technicality, like he replaced someone with an injury or something, not allowing his performance to be acknowledged publicly as being from the lead-off spot? I heard Duane Kuiper also say the “first leadoff in his career” thing on the radio broadcast as well…

He actually led off once earlier this season, I believe. But wait — The Examiner?!? I don’t write for The Examiner, unless they “borrow” my stuff once in a while. Really?

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