Tag:Tim Lincecum
Posted on: October 12, 2010 12:32 am
Edited on: October 12, 2010 6:01 pm

NLCS pitching matchup one for the ages

Could anyone have asked for a better NLCS matchup? (Okay, after putting partisan picks aside.)

The Phillies will do battle with the Giants for the right to advance to the World Series, and at the forefront of it will be the most valued commodity in baseball: pitching. Both teams will square off with the best three-deep postseason pitching matchup since 1992's World Series.

Here is a breakdown of the top three starters, plus the projected Game 4 starters.

Tim Lincecum GAME 1

In Game 1, Roy Halladay will battle Tim Lincecum (right). "The Freak" has won the last two Cy Youngs for the Giants, but he has no shot this year -- some due to his own regression, but Halladay is another big reason why. This is as marquee as a matchup can get, and it will be done on the stage of the NLCS.

Lincecum: 16-10, 212 1/3 IP, 3.43 ERA, 3.21 xFIP, 231 K, 76 BB
Halladay: 21-10, 250 2/3 IP, 2.44 ERA, 2.92 xFIP, 219 K, 30 BB

Lincecum: 1 GS, 9 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 14 K, W
Halladay: 1 GS, 9 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, W

Lincecum struggled through a brutal August, but turned it around and is as hot as any pitcher can be. Halladay is coming off a no-hitter (pictured below, celebrating), and there's just no way to pick an edge. Feel sorry for the offenses.


How much in common do the Phillies and Giants have? So much in common that they're choosing not to slot in a lefty in-between right-handed starters. Nope, the No. 2 starters, handedness be damned, belong to Roy Oswalt and Matt Cain. Oswalt has been stupendous since leaving Houston for Philly, and Cain would be the ace of most teams.

Cain: 13-11, 223 1/3 IP, 3.14 ERA, 4.19 xFIP, 177 K, 61 BB
Oswalt: 13-13, 211 2/3 IP, 2.76 ERA, 3.45 xFIP, 193 K, 55 BB

Cain: 1 GS, 6 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
Oswalt: 1 GS, 5 IP, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K

Oswalt admitted he was rusty in Game 2 of the NLDS, but don't expect that to slow him down. While Cain spun a nice game against the Braves, Oswalt still has him beat in total numbers, so this is also a push.


And here is an all-lefty Game 3, with Jonathan Sanchez and Cole Hamels opposing each other. Sanchez has a no-hitter to his name. Hamels has a World Series MVP trophy. It ain't gonna be easy, especially for Philly's lefty-laden lineup. Say this about the Giants: they have many options from each side.

Roy Halladay THE SKINNY:
Hamels: 12-11, 208 2/3 IP, 3.06 ERA, 3.43 xFIP, 211 K, 61 BB
Sanchez: 13-9, 193 1/3 IP, 3.07 ERA, 4.11 xFIP, 205 K, 96 BB

Hamels: 1 GS, 9 IP, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K
Sanchez: 1 GS, 7 1/2 IP, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 K

This one isn't a push. Sanchez is a great pitcher with no-hit stuff, but Hamels is consistently great. That gives him a pretty clear edge over Sanchez, but not a gigantic one. Offense aside, this is the one matchup the Phillies need to take advantage of.


Game 4 will likely be started by Joe Blanton and Madison Bumgarner. Each has warts, but each has pros as well. The edge here has to be given to the Giants, which helps make up for losing the Hamels edge. If either team is in a 3-0 hole, a three-man rotation could happen.

Blanton: 9-6, 175 2/3 IP, 4.82 ERA, 4.06 xFIP, 134 K, 43 BB
Bumgarner: 7-6, 111 IP, 3.00 ERA, 4.03 xFIP, 86 K, 26 BB

Blanton: Did not pitch
Bumgarner: 1 GS, 6 IP, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K


Bumgarner is left-handed, which plays against Philadelphia's lineup and has the experience of clinching the NLDS against the Braves. Blanton has been a bit unlucky this season while Bumgarner has been a bit lucky, but luck derives momentum, and momentum is everything in the postseason. Edge to Giants.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: October 9, 2010 9:47 pm

News on Game 4 starters

If the Twins win the game that's under way now, they will face a mismatch on the mound in Game 4 tomorrow. Joe Girardi said again Saturday that ace CC Sabathia would get the call on short rest Sunday at Yankee Stadium. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, however, said he did not consider throwing Game 1 starter Francisco Liriano on short rest. He told reporters that Nick Blackburn would get the Twins' Game 4 start. Blackburn was 10-12 with a 5.42 ERA during the regular season.

We know there's going to be a Game 4 in the Giants-Braves series, and Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he's undecided about -- or at least not ready to disclose -- whether he'll throw Game 1 starter Tim Lincecum on three days' rest or turn to rookie Madison Bumgarner. Meanwhile, Braves manager Bobby Cox says he's leaning toward Game 1 starter Derek Lowe in Game 4 over rookie Brandon Beachy.

The projected starters for Game 4 in Arlington on Sunday are Tommy Hunter for the Rangers and Wade Davis for the Rays.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: October 3, 2010 7:25 pm

Your 2010 AL & NL leaders

OK, it may not have been the most important thing about the Giants' 3-0 victory over the Padres, but Brian Wilson picked up his 48th save of the season, the most in baseball. He, oddly enough, broke a tie with the Padres' Heath Bell.

Wilson's strikeout of Will Venable ended the regular season and here are the rest of your season leaders in the batting and pitching triple crown categories, as well as the save leaders.

• AL batting average: Josh Hamilton .359
• NL batting average: Carlos Gonzalez .336

• AL home runs: Jose Bautista 54
• NL home runs: Albert Pujols 42

• AL RBI: Miguel Cabrera 126
• NL RBI: Albert Pujols 118

• AL wins: CC Sabathia 21
• NL wins: Roy Halladay 21

• AL ERA: Felix Hernandez 2.27
• NL ERA: Josh Johnson 2.30

• AL strikeouts; Jeff Weaver 233
• NL strikeouts: Tim Lincecum 231

• AL saves: Rafael Soriano 45
• NL saves: Brian Wilson 48

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 25, 2010 4:39 pm
Edited on: September 25, 2010 4:41 pm

MLB will watch Coors balls after Giants complain

Tim Lincecum
Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum was seen on the telecast of Friday night's game in Colorado making a remark about "[expletive] juiced baseballs," and San Francisco is doing more than muttering about rumors that the Rockies are doing something fishy at Coors Field.

John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle breaks the news that Major League Baseball will now oversee the use of balls used in Denver, following a complaint by the Giants. There have been whispers that the Rockies manipulate games to their advantage by subbing in baseballs not stored in the humidor (which is used to make the balls less hitter-friendly in the thin air in Denver) when they are at bat, but MLB said earlier this week that no team had complained formally or informally. That changed late Friday night.

"We did get a complaint from the Giants," MLB spokesman Pat Courtney said. "There's going to be a change to the protocol. From the point balls come out of the humidor to the umpires' room and into the dugout, there will be visual (inspection) at all times. ... [The Giants] said there was a concern about the proceedings, so we changed them."

Shea reported this week about the procedure for introducing balls to the game at Coors. Several dozen game balls are removed from the humidified locker before each game, rubbed up with mud by the umpires' attendant (which is done before games anywhere) and then returned to the humidor in a bag. At the start of the game, the bag is brought to the Rockies' dugout, where it is used to restock the waist pouch of balls the home plate umpire wears.

The conspiracy theorists say the ballboy, a Rockies employee, brings the umpire non-humidified balls if the Rockies are at bat. The Rockies do have an unusually high level of offensive production at Coors relative to opponents, outscoring visitors 452-345. They outhit opponents .304-.258; by comparison, the Reds, the NL team with the most similar record, have a .277-.258 hitting advantage at home.

Courtney told Shea earlier this week that the umpires would notice if the balls were different.

"Umpires have the balls in their possession, and they're the ones putting them in play," Courtney said. "The biggest thing is, the umpire sees the difference between humidor and non-humidor balls, and no umpire has said anything about having a concern about it."

But John Hirschbeck, the crew chief for the big series between the Rockies and Giants, said he can't tell.

"No, I really can't, he said. "We take six out of here [the umpires' room], whatever you carry normally when you leave here and start the game with. When foul balls go in the stands, we have to call for the ball boy."

While MLB does have a responsibility to eliminate any possibility of impropriety, I think the whole thing is probably no more than paranoia. Even if the Rockies did try to manipulate which balls were used when, it would be virtually impossible to do with any degree of accuracy unless the umpire were in on it.

Once the balls are delivered to the umpire, nobody can control how many balls are used in a half-inning (dependent on fouls and scuffing), or in what order balls are pulled from the pouch to be put into the game. If the Rockies' ballboy brought six "juiced" balls to the umpire prior to the Rockies batting in an inning, there's no guarantee that one, or three, or all of them wouldn't end up being used during the opponent's ensuing half-inning at the plate.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 6, 2010 10:42 am

Lincecum catches his tip

Tim Lincecum Could Tim Lincecum's struggles this season been as simple as him tipping his pitches?

Remember that game last month against the Diamondbacks when it appeared Stephen Drew was relaying signs to Adam LaRoche? (Here's the video from MLB.com -- be careful, there's a loud ad at the beginning.)

According to author Jason Turbow , the Giants coaching staff had Lincecum alter his delivery.

"I moved my hands closer to my body to make it hard for them to see [the grip]," Lincecum told Turbow. "The pitching coach, somebody notices it. … When things like that happen and someone can see it right off the bat, and it's so blatant like that, you have no choice but to do something about it."

Lincecum said he hasn't had an issue with tipping his pitches before. And he also doesn't have an issue with the Diamondbacks -- or other teams -- taking advantage of his mistakes.

"If you can get a team's signs, and you have them, why not take advantage?" Lincecum said. "It's smart on their part. Baseball is a game of adjustments, and I had to make some."

Lincecum earned his first victory since July in his next start, Wednesday against the Rockies, when he allowed just one run on five hits in eight innings, striking out nine and walking one. Lincecum faces the Diamondbacks again on Tuesday.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: August 27, 2010 9:51 am

Bochy calls out stars for conditioning

Pablo Sandoval
One is too big, the other too small.

And Giants manager Bruce Bochy said both of his young stars, Pablo Sandoval and Tim Lincecum, need to get into the gym. The skipper made some frank comments Wednesday about how failure to be in shape has affected them.

"In this game, I don't think players should ever feel they've arrived," Bochy told the San Jose Mercury News. "They should always seek to improve. And not only in how they play, but what kind of shape they're in."

In Sandoval's case, that shape is round. "Panda" is a catchy nickname, but you don't want a panda playing third base -- which, given the 24-year-old's increasing size and decreasing range, he might not be able to continue to do for long. A move to first could be in his future.

Sandoval went through a "Camp Panda" program in Arizona last winter, attempting to slim down, but it didn't seem to take. He was listed at 262 pounds to start the season, though that number is simply whatever the team chooses to submit.

Bochy hinted that there might be a tough trainer on retainer to push Sandoval, who batted .330 last year in his first full season but has seen that drop to .276 this year, through next winter.

"Pablo and I will talk about that," Bochy said, smiling. "We may have somebody in mind already. That all will be addressed when the season is over."

Lincecum's delivery requires that he remain lithe and flexible, but the issues for him are cardiovascular conditioning and lower-body strength. Phillies pitcher Roy Oswalt, also a power guy of relatively slight stature, told the San Francisco Chronicle that Lincecum's drop in velocity had to be a conditioning issue and that pitchers like them "have to do twice the work a bigger guy's going to do."

"With Timmy, it's all strength and stamina," Bochy said. "But I'll say this: He's taken responsibility already for putting in more time and effort into his workouts. He's been spending more time in the weight room. He's got a routine. But that has to carry throughout the offseason, too."

The manager is hopeful that the struggles of the young duo have served as a wakeup call about the importance of conditioning.

"They are two young players with special gifts and talents," Bochy said. "But you still have to work at all parts of the game, and that includes conditioning. Sometimes you learn in your second or third season how important that is. Players realize how hard they have to work to continue the level of performance they want to play at."

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: August 27, 2010 9:50 am
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Posted on: July 22, 2010 3:13 pm

Worrying about Lincecum

Tim Lincecum Lost in the hubbub of Tuesday's wacky, controversial Giants-Dodgers game was the performance of Tim Lincecum, a performance that has some wondering whether the Giants should shut him down.

Wait, what? Why would a team in a playoff race shut down a two-time defending Cy Young winner with great numbers (10-4, 3.18 ERA)?

Because Lincecum, according to those who watch him regularly, is showing signs that something is wrong. He didn't make it out of the fifth inning Tuesday, gave up five runs, struck out only two and threw a wild pitch straight up in the air.

Dave Cameron at fangraphs.com has been monitoring a steady decline in Lincecum's velocity. He used to regularly be in the 93-94 mph range, but Tuesday he averaged 89 and seemed to struggle badly with his control. He's still striking people out, but not at the rate he has the past two years, and his walks are up.

Lincecum's nickname is The Freak for a reason -- his delivery and training methods are extremely unusual. The general consensus going into the 2006 draft was, "Great stuff, but it's just a matter of time until the little guy's arm breaks off."

Pennant race or not, it might behoove the Giants to make sure their ace is completely healthy before risking any long-term issues.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
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