Results tagged ‘ Tim Lincecum ’
Saturday, June 26
SAN FRANCISCO — What’s most impressive about Madison Bumgarner isn’t his fastball or his offspeed pitches or even his polished swing (that’s right, you should see him hit). It’s his poise.
Let it sink in: Bumgarner’s 20. He won’t turn 21 until Aug. 1. Yet he handled his 2010 Giants debut like a complete professional after those two rough early innings against the Boston Red Sox. He could have imploded after surrendering two quick homers and four instant runs, but instead he shut out the Major Leagues’ highest-scoring team for his final five innings.
Throw Bumgarner into the same category as Buster Posey. They’re not returning to Triple-A this year. Well, it’s possible, but it’s highly doubtful.
Tim Lincecum remains extremely intriguing to watch. His outing Sunday against Boston will be no exception.
By winning his last three starts, Lincecum has indeed rebounded from his May slump (1-2, 4.95 in three appearances).
There’s just one mild sign of concern: Lincecum has allowed 28 hits in 29 innings spanning four outings in June. Allow me to emphasize the word “mild.” The bottom line is, Lincecum’s winning, and he looks much better than he did in May. But even he expressed some dissatisfaction over his yield of hits: “I kind of want it to be a little more simple and give up less hits,” he said last Tuesday after surrendering seven hits and an unearned run in eight innings at Houston.
Most pitchers probably would love to have this kind of worry. But Lincecum will be facing the Majors’ most potent offense — albeit without injured Dustin Pedroia and benched DH David Ortiz — so this will be a good test.
Any of us lucky enough to live to age 91 should wish to be half as sharp as Monte Irvin is at that age. The former New York Giants outfielder, whose jersey number 20 was officially retired Saturday, remains witty and articulate, as the stories on the website demonstrate.
Saturday’s AT&T Park crowd was appreciative of all the Hall of Famers present, but the applause for Willie Mays seemed especially loud and long. I wouldn’t be surprised if James Hirsch’s remarkable biography, “Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend,” has led readers/fans to rediscover the greatest Giant of them all.
– Chris Haft
Sunday, June 6
PITTSBURGH — Any further improvement Tim Lincecum experiences will revolve around his fastball.
Don’t take my word for it. Ask catcher Bengie Molina, who has been behind the plate for almost every inning of Lincecum’s Major League career.
“The only thing we have to work on right now is the fastball location,” Molina said after the Giants’ 6-5, 10-inning victory Sunday at Pittsburgh. “Today was way better than before. It was a big step. That kid is going to be fine. He’s something else. He’ll find it again.”
Pirates right fielder Garrett Jones said that Lincecum’s fastball “just missed a few spots here and there.” Jones, who hit a two-run homer off Lincecum in the fourth inning, also said of Lincecum’s fastball, “I felt like it was straight today.” Now THAT’s not good for Lincecum. But the hitters always tell a pitcher how he’s doing, and in Lincecum’s case, he was good enough to win. ”I stayed consistent throughout the game,” said Lincecum, who allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings while walking two and striking out six.
Next up for Lincecum: Friday night’s series opener against the Oakland A’s at AT&T Park. Think the crowd will be stoked?
The baseball gods must have felt like they owed the Giants one. Juan Uribe’s ninth-inning RBI double, which broke a 3-3 tie, was a line drive to left field that Lastings Milledge dove for and nearly caught. But the ball grazed his glove and trickled away.
One night earlier, Milledge made a running, diving catch on the warning track of Freddy Sanchez’s bases-loaded thunderbolt to left field that probably would have tied the score 6-6. Instead, it was the final out in the Giants’ 6-3 loss.
Giants vs. Reds: Division Series preview?
– Chris Haft
Thursday, June 3
Matt Cain’s surge and Tim Lincecum’s slump might lead some to ponder a question that’s familiar to some Giants fans: Which right-hander will have a more productive career?
While the season is raging, the proper answer is, “Does it matter?” The Giants need both Cain and Lincecum to thrive to have any hope of reaching the postseason.
Still, this is a question many fans will continue to raise, and it is somewhat intriguing. Obviously, Lincecum has had much more early success with his two National League Cy Young Awards. But will Cain, with his classic pitcher’s build, outlast the undersized Lincecum?
At some point, the answer may become obvious. For now, the politically correct view is: Enjoy them both.
Judging from the players’ visceral reaction, the Giants felt sick for Detroit’s Armando Galarraga, who lost a perfect game Wednesday due to umpire Jim Joyce’s blown call.
Yet a handful of veteran Giants also felt badly for Joyce, who they described as a decent man.
Joyce proved that by admirably owning up to his mistake. His error was profoundly egregious, but perhaps his accountability will endure as long as his goof.
The upshot of all this will be an increased presence of instant replay in baseball, if not all sports. Bank on it.
Galarraga’s imperfect game overshadowed what normally would have been the day’s biggest story: Ken Griffey Jr.’s retirement. Here’s what Lincecum, a Seattle-area native who grew up watching Griffey, had to say about the slugger:
Monday, May 31
SAN FRANCISCO — On the bright side, Tim Lincecum didn’t allow the Colorado Rockies to run wild on him Monday.
Lincecum paid much more attention to runners than he did last Wednesday against the Washington Nationals, who stole four bases off him. Against Colorado, Lincecum tried at least one pickoff throw for each runner reaching first base. A handful of times he looked the runner back by stepping off the mound. This sounds extremely simple, but it’s the kind of stuff Lincecum neglected earlier.
The Rockies still victimized Lincecum on the basepaths to some degree. Ian Stewart stole two bases, extending the success of larcenous opponents against Lincecum to 17-for-17 since last year and 14-for-14 in 2010 only.
As Lincecum said, he has plenty to work on.
What are the Giants going to do with Aaron Rowand? Will they allow him to play his way out of his slump? Or will he soon get crowded out of his regular’s role in center field once Mark DeRosa (left wrist) returns from his injury rehabilitation assignment and Pat Burrell is summoned from Triple-A Fresno? Neither would directly replace Rowand, but Andres Torres conceivably could occupy center if manager Bruce Bochy wanted to keep him in the lineup and filled both outfield corners with other personnel.
Rowand spent much of the season at or near .300 until his last eight games. He’s hitting .091 (3-for-33) in that span, dropping his average to .227. He’s in a 1-for-18 skid (.056) with runners in scoring position. Oddly, the right-handed-batting Rowand is hitless in his last 19 at-bats against left-handers.
As much as Rowand has struggled, it’s difficult to envision his being banished to the bench. But the Giants are firmly entrenched in win-now mode, indicating that Bochy wouldn’t hesitate to sit Rowand if he wanted to try a different outfield contingent.
– Chris Haft
Monday, May 10
NEW YORK — Don’t forget: Tim Lincecum very well could be 7-0.
Lincecum has endured three consecutive no-decisions, including the Giants’ 6-5 victory Sunday at New York. In each game, Lincecum sustained stretches of shutout ball, was charged with no more than three runs and left the game with leads that the bullpen proceeded to squander.
The point here is not to rip the relief staff, which in the long run should preserve more of Lincecum’s victories than it spoils. This is just a reminder that Your Favorite Miniature Right-hander is pitching much better than his 4-0 record indicates.
Something that got overlooked in Sunday’s game coverage: Lincecum has become a much more complete pitcher. He has developed into such an effective bunter that it was a surprise to see him fail to sacrifice Ryan Rohlinger into scoring position in the fourth inning. Two innings later, Lincecum made a fabulous defensive play when he made an artful over-the-shoulder grab of Alex Cora’s impossibly high chopper and threw to first base for the out.
Lincecum has developed into a decent enough hitter to improve his .188 average and he’s obviously a deft fielder. If he can’t win a third Cy Young Award, how about a Silver Slugger or a Gold Glove?
– Chris Haft
Friday, March 26
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Don’t assume that Nate Schierholtz will be the Giants’ Opening Day right fielder.
Schierholtz was virtually handed the right-field job before Spring Training began, but his pedestrian offense and John Bowker’s torrid hitting prompted the Giants’ braintrust to rethink matters.
Schierholtz is a superior defender who has proven capable of handling AT&T Park’s tricky acreage in right field. But he’s batting .234 with a .280 on-base percentage and 12 strikeouts in 47 at-bats this spring. By contrast, Bowker began Friday tied for the Major League lead with 18 RBIs — due largely to his seven-RBI outburst Wednesday against Kansas City — and is hitting .298 with a .596 slugging percentage and a team-high four home runs.
Bowker also has been strikeout-prone, with 11 in 57 at-bats.
Giants general manager Brian Sabean confirmed that Schierholtz had slipped from his all-but-certain starting perch.
“He’s struggled to the point where you have to pay due respect to the other guys who are going well, including Bowker,” Sabean said Friday.
The Giants’ other reserve outfield candidates are Fred Lewis, who’s batting .222 but has a .528 slugging percentage; Andres Torres, who’s hitting .289 with a .418 on-base percentage and a .578 slugging percentage; and Eugenio Velez, a .298 hitter.<p/>
Referring to the preponderance of qualified outfielders, Sabean said, “Maybe our bigger challenge is how many infielders we keep over outfielders.” He cited left fielder Mark DeRosa, who can play every infield spot, and Velez, who made his first Cactus League appearance at second base Friday and booted a grounder for an error, as “dual-position guys” who can provide flexibility.
Sabean also said that the Giants will keep Buster Posey with them through the conclusion of the exhibition season — though that doesn’t necessarily mean that the organization’s top prospect will make the Opening Day roster.
Reading between the lines of what Sabean said, it seems — <i>seems</i> — that Posey will begin the season with Triple-A Fresno. If that’s the case, Posey probably will join the Giants at the first sign of trouble.
“We’ll keep him to the end,” Sabean said. “I don’t know that the actual decision will need to go to the end. I think, internally, we know what we’re going to do, but obviously we’re going to hold that close to the vest because it’s subject to change and you never know what might happen.”
With the Giants trailing, 3-2, in Friday’s eighth inning against the Los Angeles Angels, Posey hit a windblown ground-rule double that tied the score and lifted his average to .415 with nine RBIs. He has a .442 on-base percentage and a .585 slugging percentage. Manager Bruce Bochy said that there are no plans to try Posey at any position other than catcher and first base.
Friday ended with no official announcement regarding the reported contract extensions for relievers Brian Wilson and Jeremy Affeldt. This prompted speculation that the Giants are engineering an extension for a third player.
A likely suspect is right-hander Matt Cain, whose ridiculously affordable $6.25 club option for 2011 surely will be picked up by the Giants barring a disaster. It would behoove the Giants to reach an agreement with Cain. Otherwise, they’d enter the 2011-12 offseason facing the burden of negotiating with both Cain and Tim Lincecum, whose two-year deal will have expired.
– Chris Haft
Tim Lincecum’s appearance Tuesday against the Cleveland Indians will almost surely be his last against Major League competition until next week.
The right-hander’s following turn would come against Arizona on Sunday in Tucson, but the Giants would prefer to spare him the four-hour round trip. So fifth starter candidate Kevin Pucetas will face the Diamondbacks while Lincecum remains in Scottsdale to pitch in a Minor League intrasquad or exhibition game.
Assuming the Giants remain in a five-day pitching rotation, Lincecum’s next outing against big league competition will be Friday, March 26 against the Los Angeles Angels.
Who says Spring Training dates aren’t important? The Giants and Kansas City Royals will make up their March 7 rainout on Wednesday, March 24 in Surprise beginning at 6:05 p.m. That turns the day’s activities for the Giants into a day-night doubleheader, combined with their regularly scheduled game against Cincinnati at 1:05 p.m.
Guillermo Mota looked impressive in the Giants’ split-squad loss to San Diego, working two scoreless innings in a starting role. Manager Bruce Bochy indicated that Mota maintains a strong chance of claiming a spot as a middle reliever on the Opening Day roster.
Sergio Romo finished the Giants’ 8-5 split-squad victory over Texas with a perfect ninth inning. Romo has allowed just two hits in 20 at-bats (.100) and is unscored upon in six appearances.
– Chris Haft
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Giants will face some heavy thinking if Buster Posey sustains his offensive surge.
Posey collected two hits for the second day in a row Saturday in the Giants’ 8-7 split-squad exhibition loss to Oakland. The rookie catcher, renowned as San Francisco’s top position-player prospect, lifted his batting average to .368 and his slugging percentage to .632.
Because Posey has been expected to begin the season with Triple-A Fresno so he could gain experience, manager Bruce Bochy was asked if the 22-year old might be forcing the Giants’ braintrust to reconsider that plan.
“It’s good to see Buster swinging like this,” Bochy said. “It’s really a matter of time. Buster can hit. As we get deeper into spring I can answer those questions a little better. It’s early, but he’s doing what we wanted him to do.”
Bochy plainly stated that he won’t bury Posey on San Francisco’s bench. “We want to continue his development. We don’t want him sitting,” Bochy said. “It’s a matter of if we think he would get enough playing time to warrant being on the club to help us or to continue his progress so we have him ready.”
Bochy added that Posey “possibly” will start a game at first base to help the Giants gauge whether he could play there occasionally. But Bochy also reiterated that he won’t sacrifice Posey’s growth as a catcher to experiment with him at other positions. “I like the way he’s catching. I want to keep him sharp back there,” Bochy said.
In quick succession:
– Tim Lincecum will receive four days’ rest, his full regular-season complement, before making his next start Tuesday against Cleveland. Madison Bumgarner will start Monday night’s split-squad game against Texas while a host of relievers will work the evening’s other split-squad game against San Diego.
– Kevin Pucetas remained in contention for the fifth starter’s spot by throwing three hitless innings in the Giants’ other split-squad contest, an 8-4 victory over Seattle. Pucetas is unscored upon in seven innings spanning three appearances and has allowed three hits. He has walked none and struck out three.
– Right-hander Joe Martinez, the fifth starter candidate who allowed four runs in one inning in his lone spring appearance, believes that the inflammation in his throwing elbow will have subsided enough to allow him to resume throwing in a couple of days.
– This isn’t shocking news, but Bochy made his strongest declaration yet regarding second baseman Freddy Sanchez’s unavailability for the April 5 regular-season opener at Houston. “He’s not going to be ready,” Bochy said of Sanchez, who’s recovering from a left shoulder injury. “He’s come along fine, but there’s not enough time.”
– First baseman Travis Ishikawa (torn ligaments in left foot) might be ready to resume playing in about a week, Bochy said.
– Right-hander Matt Cain admitted that he elevated some breaking pitches while allowing Oakland five runs and eight hits in 2 2/3 innings. However, Cain still hasn’t walked a batter in 8 2/3 innings this spring. “It obviously means you’re around the strike zone,” Cain said, pleased with this development.
– Right-handed reliever Santiago Casilla, stuck in the Dominican Republic with visa problems, finally arrived in camp and struck out the only batter he faced, Ryan Sweeney, to end the fifth inning against Oakland.
– Chris Haft
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Travis Ishikawa likely remains more than a week away from participating in workouts as he nurses the torn ligaments in his left foot. As part of a deep and relatively talented group of projected reserves, he conceivably faces a stiff challenge for a spot on the Opening Day roster.
Yet manager Bruce Bochy indicated Saturday that Ishikawa, despite losing his role as the Giants’ primary first baseman to free agent Aubrey Huff, has strong chance of claiming a Major League job.
It helps that Ishikawa plays excellent defense and hit .349 in 62 games at AT&T Park last year. The rest of the team batted .263 at home.
“You saw what he did at home. He’s a threat,” Bochy said. “I think ‘Ishi’ has shown that he can do some things to help you win ballgames. He’s still in the mix here.”
Ishikawa has tried to stay as sharp as possible by hitting off a tee and throwing in a batting cage, which he can do while wearing a walking boot on his left foot. Ishikawa, who underwent an MRI on Friday and saw a doctor Saturday, said that he’ll probably have to wear the boot for at least a week. But he’s healing.
“At least it’s going in the right direction,” he said.
The Giants receive little “down” time in Spring Training. Their only scheduled off-day in the Cactus League season is March 18.
So Bochy, after consulting with general manager Brian Sabean, decided to excuse the team from workouts Tuesday. San Francisco opens the exhibition season Wednesday against Seattle.
Lest you think the Giants are a bunch of slackers, remember that they opened camp before most of their Cactus League brethren.
“We’ve had some long days here,” Bochy said. “This gives them a chance to freshen up before games start.”
The alternative rock group O.A.R. visited Scottsdale Stadium and met several Giants, including leading musicologist Tim Lincecum, before Saturday’s workout. The group, in town for a concert, filmed excerpts for an upcoming video. Accompanied by Lincecum, band members took the mound and held a contest to see who could throw the hardest fastball. Left-hander Alex Hinshaw, another music enthusiast, served as catcher, while infielder Kevin Frandsen provided encouragement.
Injury updates, comings and goings:
Second baseman Freddy Sanchez, recovering from left shoulder surgery, felt healthy and enthusiastic after his initial session of fielding ground balls. Sanchez said that he’ll continue to take grounders daily, though no timetable has been set for when he’ll begin swinging a bat.
Infielder-outfielder Mark DeRosa (left wrist) still hasn’t swung against Giants pitchers in “live” batting practice, though he has taken hundreds of hacks in the cages and against coaches. Bochy said he wasn’t sure when restrictions on DeRosa will be lifted, but it could be soon. “He’s eager to start letting it go,” Bochy said.
Catcher Eli Whiteside returned a day earlier than expected after his wife, Amy, gave birth to their first child, Whit.
Left-hander Madison Bumgarner returned home to North Carolina for personal reasons. He’s expected to return Sunday night and should make his scheduled appearance in Wednesday’s exhibition opener. Left-hander Dan Runzler was sent home with the flu.
Last but not least, pitching coach Dave Righetti was excused to travel to the Chicago area to be inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame. Former big leaguer Gary Gaetti was among the other inductees.
– Chris Haft
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — It’s February 26, not April 26 or September 26, so the sight of Tim Lincecum yielding line drives to John Bowker on back-to-back pitches Friday shouldn’t be alarming.
If anything, it was an encouraging sign from Bowker, who’s competing for a reserve outfield spot.
Bowker pounded a curveball that Lincecum dangled and a fastball that the two-time Cy Young Award winner left over the plate. Lincecum then coaxed a swing and a miss from Bowker on a breaking ball.
Overall, it was a matter of “getting work in” for Lincecum, who threw approximately 40 pitches to Bowker, Jesus Guzman, Brett Pill and Hector Sanchez. Lincecum is scheduled to start Wednesday’s Cactus League opener against Seattle.
Second baseman Freddy Sanchez has insisted that his recovery from left shoulder surgery is ahead of schedule, and he’s about to prove it. Sanchez is expected to begin fielding ground balls Saturday in his first baseball-related activity since his Dec. 23 operation.
“Awesome” was how Sanchez described his feelings.
Sanchez still isn’t certain when he’ll begin swinging a bat, and he remains likely to open the season on the 15-day disabled list.
Bruce Bochy, who possesses a dry and underappreciated wit, spun a good line when he delivered the news that catcher Eli Whiteside’s wife, Amy, gave birth to the couple’s first child, Whit.
Somebody asked whether the infant had gray hair, referring to Whiteside’s prematurely whitening locks. Bochy paused for a beat and replied, “DARK gray.”
MLB Network will provide delayed telecasts of four Giants exhibitions from the Cactus League: March 16 vs. Cleveland, March 20 vs. Cincinnati, March 25 vs. Oakland and March 27 against the Los Angeles Angels.
– Chris Haft