Andre Ethier

Tim Lincecum(!) leads the Giants into a first place tie with L.A.

You know what all the cool kids are doing? It has nothing to do with facial hair, striped necklaces or delivering dairy products to one’s doorstep (or dressing like you do). All the cool kids are pitching 7 shutout innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Tim Lincecum, the incredibly popular free spirit who represented the San Francisco Giants on a national scale for years, matched the rest of the rotation’s production for the first time this season. As a result, most everyone seems cool with Lincecum again.

Skeptics will (rightly) point out that while Lincecum has pitched 12 straight shutout innings, those innings have come against the Oakland A’s and this weakened, now-Andre-Ethier-free version of the Dodgers. The Giants blanked the Dodgers for three consecutive games in a sweep that energizes San Francisco and will probably send Los Angeles into a pit of insecurity, despair and excuses. It’s difficult for the Dodgers to maintain the blistering pace they set earlier this year without both Matt Kemp and Ethier, yet the National League sheds no tears.

But Lincecum hasn’t pitched two straight effective games against anyone in 2012. Go back to Spring Training, when he was throwing glorified batting practice back before anyone thought to get worried. And despite the Dodger lineup’s paltry statistics, Lincecum still vanquished a team desperate to stay atop the NL West and score a run in this series.

It wouldn’t be easy, either. Lincecum needed a double play to get out of the 1st (a Vogelsong-like effort to escape an early jam). The most memorable play of the game occurred in the 3rd inning, when a Lincecum wild pitch shot past Hector Sanchez to the backstop. With Chad Billingsley (not exactly a small man) racing home, Lincecum blocked the plate, fielded Sanchez’s throw and tagged out the Dodgers’ starter. The play was eerily similar to a decidedly less successful (and more violent) collision Lincecum had with Colin Cowgill on May 20.

According to Lincecum, “Sanchez made a great play on a s—– pitch.”

http://youtu.be/iKmpSzAi2To?hd=1

Lincecum’s last (and biggest) challenge came in the 7th. With Dodgers on first and second and one out, Bruce Bochy came out to the mound.

“The second I saw him kind of trotting out to me, instead of the walk, kind of just gave me the inclination that I’m going to probably be in this game if I give him the right answer. And I still had plenty of energy out there and I still felt like I had my stuff, so I was going to grind it out no matter what,” Lincecum said.

“He was asking me, ‘You got this?’ And I said, ‘Yeah.’ He’s like, ‘What?’ And I go, ‘Yes sir.’

After Bochy returned to the dugout, Lincecum got Tony Gwynn Jr. to fly out before striking out Juan Uribe — Lincecum’s 8th strikeout of the afternoon.

From there, the sweep seemed inevitable. The Dodgers were ready to leave town after a disaster of a series (to cap things off, after the game AP writer Janie McCauley heard that the Dodgers’ equipment truck had broken down on HWY 101 … no, that isn’t a joke). On the other hand, the Giants — playing better than they have all year with their old hero once again relevant — are feeling mighty good about themselves (and it showed in the clubhouse).

On the whole “personal catcher” thing…

Lincecum’s new catcher (for now, at least) seems to be Sanchez. Sanchez has his strong points. He makes loud contact fairly often and has made it quite far for such a young player. Lincecum has also pitched as well as he has all year in his last two starts, and Sanchez caught both of them.

Here’s a 30-second video which shows what Lincecum had to say about Sanchez’s remarkable diving play on a bunt attempt by Elian Herrera. Included was this quote from Lincecum: “I threw a lot of balls in the dirt to beat the crap out of him.”:

http://youtu.be/Wf9Nd-dHFl4?hd=1

At the end of Bochy’s press conference I asked him whether Lincecum/Sanchez was a battery that he’d have a hard time breaking up.

“Could be. I like the fact that I could put Buster at first today, day game after a night game. I don’t want to get caught in who’s going to catch who right now. Sure, it’s been two good games with these two. That’s why I changed it last game, just to break it up. We’ve got if not the best catcher in the game, one of them with Buster if you look at what he’s done. Sometimes change is good, just to break it up. Buster’s our catcher, he’ll be doing the lion’s share of the catching.”

http://youtu.be/o16U5ayto_Q?hd=1

Two days after Sanchez took a foul ball to the side of his head, he went down on his left shoulder pretty hard on that diving catch but stayed in the game. In the clubhouse afterward the 22-year-old looked no worse for wear, tossing a ball of used athletic tape into the trash can from 30 feet away. Sanchez seemed upset that no cameras were rolling for his long distance “basket.”

Stolen BASGs

— Lincecum on whether he’s focusing on getting bigger: “I’m not trying to put on weight. If it happens, it does. But I feel comfortable with my weight. I feel fine.”

— “We’ve not once have lacked confidence in Timmy. Not once, for one second. The troubles that he’s had, it’s surprising to us as well. Because the guy, he has an unbelievable ability to get guys out. They don’t call him ‘The Freak’ for nothing,” Sergio Romo said.

http://youtu.be/1E1i6eU1aDQ?hd=1

As he left, Romo said “TIMMAH!”

“ROMO,” Lincecum replied.

As he walked past, Romo looked over at today’s winning starter and said, “I like answering questions about you.”

— Romo also switched roles, taking the microphone from Jaymee Sire and asking Buster Posey a question about the Giants’ upcoming series:

http://youtu.be/aVc-zzSu_Tc?hd=1

 

9 Comments

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9 Comments on "Tim Lincecum(!) leads the Giants into a first place tie with L.A."

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Stan
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Stan
Its been about two weeks since Lincecum said he’s added ten pounds..so he could be up to 15 pounds by now..and of course his last two starts have been his best of the year. I guess that Dave Righetii stating that Lincecum at 157 in spring training was “Too Little” and Lincecums new success with his weight gain isn’t enough evidence for some…but its conclusive evidence to me and anybody who uses logic not a belief in fairy tales of “positive thinking”…or long toss and hamburgers. I could get Tim to admit his issues and STILL I would get critics.… Read more »
Ronbo
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Ronbo

It was tough for fans, Tim, and the team to suffer through that stretch. Hope it’s over for good. When was the last time the Giants had four .300 hitters in their lineup? They do not have anything like the power of the Mays, Cepeda, McCovey era, but compared to last year, Melky, Buster, Angel, and Panda look like Murderers’ Row.

erik
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erik

I will be able to sleep now

Stan
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Stan

I think there is a good chance that next year the Giants trade Lincecum. The hush-hush about his weight gains and losses are the Giants not selling damaged goods. But,if the team see’s that this is his pattern..why would they offer a huge long term contract?

Paperback Writer
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Paperback Writer

Kidding? Right? LOL!

Stan
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Stan

Nope. He’s going to be a free agent after next year. And like I said before he might WANT to leave San Francisco. You add that he’s flushed a full season’s worth of pitching down the drain with his extreme dieting with half of 2010 and now almost half of 2012.
It might be best for all party’s to part.

Stan
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Stan

C’mon dude use common sense. You think he turned down that 100+ million dollar contract because he doesn’t want the money? or likely that he wants that money -from another team of his choice.
Maybe the teams offensive surge will make him change his mind…or its made up and he wants out. He must want out bad to risk 100 mill…baaaad.

Stan
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Stan

Also-look at the still photo of Lincecum from -three weeks ago?…creases…and then look at the BASG video..creases are gone. He’s eating,and EXACTLY as I predicted,his stamina and control reappeared.
What more can I do as proof?..predictions,WIKI, Dave Rigehtti..what?

Stan
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Member
Stan
Btw,I have a theory as to why the .300 hitters,the no -hitter and perfect games pitched at the fastest rate ever. I think the difference in quality of the best MLB player and the worst is at it’s widest gap ever. Now,don’t mistake my argument for “players were better back when”..that’s NOT what I’m saying. The last time (pre steroids) was at the turn of the century when guys hit well over .400 and pitched a buzillion innings a year..or 25 in one game,etc,etc,…but later all that ended as talent evened up as baseball became popular. Whats happening now is..dilution..too… Read more »
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