They get everything out of the way quickly during the spring! Tim Lincecum walked to the clubhouse and answered questions after his best start so far this spring. By the time all of us “media” types got back to the press box, it was the sixth inning. What did we miss? I have no idea, but it’s Spring Training so that isn’t exactly a catastrophe.
I chopped up Lincecum’s interview into several smaller pieces, so you can decide what you want to watch without having to sit through a 6-minute interview.
That’s how long Lincecum spoke on the record. Then he chatted casually for a few minutes after everyone put their recorders away (Lincecum really seems at ease this year, but then again it’s been a while since his last 2-1 loss to Clayton Kershaw).
During the “off the record” portion was when I asked him what pitch he used to strike out Kansas City Royals left fielder Alex Gordon to end the fourth, and Lincecum said it was a curveball. He threw quite a few curveballs today, and in this first video he talks about fine-tuning the mechanics required to throw a pitch with 12-to-6 break.
“Today, just kind of focusing on getting my shoulders to go more like a cartwheel,” Lincecum said. “That same over-the-top motion, 12-6 kind of arm slot.”
One sort of scary moment occurred when Jarrod Dyson hit a ball up the middle that caught Lincecum’s left foot. I asked him how it felt afterward, and Lincecum downplayed the whole thing. He had a tough time even remembering which foot it was, and he said the ball hit him on the bottom of his cleat. In this video Lincecum talks about that and pickoff moves (he’s “more aware of it”); Lincecum caught Eric Hosmer sleeping off first base on Monday afternoon.
Lincecum’s dad is in town, and Tim talked a bit about how having Chris around helps because Tim said he “reminds me that it’s okay to relax and take it easy. He knows that my mind’s running at 100 miles an hour.”
Lincecum pitched decently in his first start this spring, but in his second start he gave up 5 earned runs and a homer and struck out none in his second start. Here he talks about a much better performance in his third start, where the only run he gave up was after Eli Whiteside was called for an error after throwing the ball into center on a steal attempt by Dyson.
One of the most striking differences between this Spring Training game and most of the games I covered at the end of last season: middle infield defense. Brandon Crawford and Joaquin Arias were the opposite of Orlando Cabrera and Jeff Keppinger in terms of range, and Lincecum talked a little about that.
At the end of the session, Lincecum was asked about Trevor Bauer, the pitcher out of UCLA who, like Lincecum, is known for his unique preparation habits and small-ish stature. When it was noted that Lincecum is often compared to other pitchers, Lincecum said his best line of the day: “Or, them compared to me.”