Gary Brown

Thoughts on SF Giants’ NLDS roster (mostly on Lincecum, a little on Brown)

Tim Lincecum bullpen beast

I knew my San Francisco Giants playoff roster projection from two weeks ago would be a little off after Tim Lincecum started pitching well at the end of the season. Then Bruce Bochy said Lincecum would’ve started the last game of the regular season if there was anything at stake, and it was a lock that he’d be named to their NLDS 25-man roster (instead of George Kontos).

Here’s the full list:

Pitchers (12)
41 Jeremy Affeldt LHP
40 Madison Bumgarner LHP
46 Santiago Casilla RHP
17 Tim Hudson RHP
55 Tim Lincecum RHP
49 Javier Lopez LHP
63 Jean Machi RHP
22 Jake Peavy RHP
52 Yusmeiro Petit RHP
54 Sergio Romo RHP
60 Hunter Strickland RHP
32 Ryan Vogelsong RHP

Catchers (2)
28 Buster Posey C
34 Andrew Susac C

Infielders (6)
13 Joaquin Arias IF
9 Brandon Belt IF
35 Brandon Crawford IF
50 Matt Duffy IF
12 Joe Panik IF
48 Pablo Sandoval IF

Gary Brown SF GiantsOutfielders (5)
7 Gregor Blanco OF
56 Gary Brown OF
45 Travis Ishikawa OF
8 Hunter Pence OF
2 Juan Perez OF

The other one I got wrong: Michael Morse is still unavailable due to his oblique injury, so the Giants included … GARY BROWN! How weird is that, a guy most people assumed Bruce Bochy couldn’t stand is now a late-game option as a pinch runner or defensive replacement. Brown not only picked up his first hit when he went 3-for-5 in the last two games of the season, he earned a postseason roster spot.

I feel like this is an appropriate time to add Buster Posey’s classic quote: “Baseball’s weird, John.”

Back to Lincecum, who I didn’t think the Giants would include because of his struggles keeping guys off base. Plus, his velocity was down. OK, this is mostly based on seeing him pitch batting practice to the Dodgers in person during that 17-0 spanking. It was tough to come away from that game, especially after the previous shoddy outings, and believe Lincecum could be of any more use in 2014.

But something changed. His average four-seam velocity in that game was 87.45 mph, but he hovered around 90 mph the rest of the way. He also looked more confident — then again, he faced the Padres three times to end the season.

But it was this Lincecum quote about the potential parallels between his situation and Barry Zito’s back in 2010, taken from an article written by Andrew Baggarly about an hour after I posted my roster projection (of course), that told me there was no way the Giants were going with Kontos over a man who won one ring as a starter and another as a “supersub” reliever.

“(Zito’s) dynamics were a little different just because I’ve been here my whole career,” Lincecum said. “I’ve built a foundation here. It’s different if you’re a free agent coming from someplace else. But in either case, it’s all about what you’re doing lately.”

Lincecum was right. The dynamics might not have been different on every team, but the Giants only would’ve left him off the playoff roster (a true slap in the face to a guy who’s known for performing well in big games) if his velocity stayed down and he kept getting crushed in his last three outings. But Lincecum pitched 4.1 scoreless innings while walking no one and allowing just one hit. I have a feeling he’ll be of use in this series, especially at AT&T Park in Game 4 (if necessary).

As for today’s lineups at Nationals Park for today’s noon(!) start:

Gregor Blanco CF
Joe Panik 2B
Buster Posey C
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Hunter Pence RF
Brandon Belt 1B
Brandon Crawford SS
Travis Ishikawa LF
Jake Peavy P

Denard Span CF
Anthony Rendon 3B
Jayson Werth RF
Adam LaRoche 1B
Ian Desmond SS
Bryce Harper LF
Wilson Ramos C
Asdrubal Cabrera 2B
Stephen Strasburg P

I haven’t written a lot of Giants vs. Nats Preview stuff. Alright, I haven’t written anything other than a note about Tim Hudson’s amusing comments about what the Nationals have between their legs, mostly because I feel like all of our preconceived notions about playoff series end up looking silly by the fourth inning of Game 1. We know the Giants awfully well, the Nationals are a very deep team with the “on paper” advantage, so let’s just watch and see what happens. It’s a weird idea, but I’m willing to give it a try.

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