Archive for category SF Giants

UPDATED: World Series an anti-climax? SF Giants must top that Game 5 NLCS finish; Ishikawa home run legendary for so many reasons; And will we ever see Tim Lincecum again? UPDATED 10.21. GAME ONE

(SEE UPDATES BELOW)

I am still buzzed about that dramatic home run by Travis Ishikawa. I wrote about it on the AALDEF blog here.

I was in the stadium that night and took this picture as Ishikawa was approaching home.

IshikawagreetedbyariasHe’s slammed down his helmet in exuberance, and is confronted by one of the runners who scored ahead of him, Joaquin Arias.

But notice the player in the left corner.

It’s Tim Lincecum, heretofore, the most incredible Asian American native born major league player of part-Filipino heritage ever.

He’s never been on the margins in his career. But he is now.

Lincecum hasn’t pitched an inning in the post-season. And in those times when his number would be called, it’s been someone else. Petit, most notably. But also Strickland. And the specialists like Lopez and Affeldt.  Lincecum can’t get in the game. Manager Bruce Bochy has him slotted where he can be trusted. Top of a fresh  inning where any damage due to Lincecum’s control issues can be minimal. But the longer Lincecum goes without pitching, you wonder how ready he’ll be for any situation. You kind of hope he doesn’t get in, because it means the Giants’ starter was ineffective, and the team is losing. Meanwhile between injured Cain’s $20 million a year, and ineffective Lincecum’s $17 million, that’s nearly $40 million on the Giants’ bench.

And the team’s still winning.

From having talked to Lincecum in the past, I know his attitude is, “I’ll pitch whenever they tell me.” He’s always positive; always a team guy. He’s never had his status fall like this. But I think, he’ll use this to come back stronger than ever.

I’ve always said he had an Eckersly like career arc forming. If he uses this period to get his mechanical issues straightened out, the man who never ices his arm, could find there’s a formidable second act in his future.

Just an odd thing to catch him on the edge of the frame, watching Ishikawa–who has never been  a star, always a marginal guy. But in Game 5, he was the man of the hour. And for more than just baseball reasons. See the AALDEF blog for that story.

UPDATE on GAME 1        10/21/14 9:45pm pdt

You can’t underestimate the value of game one of the World Series.

The winner of the first game has won 69 of 109 series, including 15 of the last 17.

So the Giants winning 7-1 on Tuesday night gives them a real edge.

This game was over early as the Giants shut up the crowd scoring 3-runs in the first, including a two-run shot by Hunter Pence into the right-centerfield seats.

The Giants bats were alive all night with 10 hits. Pablo Sandoval extended his post-season on-base streak to 24 games, and went ahead of Lou Gehrig into 5th longest of all time.

Lou Gehrig. That’s enough to make you forgive Panda’s physique issues.

But the streak of Bumgarner’s was more impressive. He entered with a record for road shutout innings pitched in the post season, 26.2 innings. He went 6 and 2/3rds more before giving up a home run to Royals catcher Salvador Perez in the 7th.

That’s 33 and 1/3 innings of shutout innings pitched on the road in the post-season.

And MadBum is just 25-years-old.

The only threat from the Royals came in the 3rd when Brandon Crawford’s error, followed by a Moustakas double, and a walk to Cain (in a contentious at bat) loaded the bases. But Madbum struck out two and got the Royal’s slugger Eric Hosmer  on  a grounder t0 second base.  That was it for the Royals.

Game Two on Wednesday puts more pressure on the Royals. They don’t want to go into San Francisco down 2-0.

But the Giants have the momentum now. And Jake Peavy on the hill.

The Royals may have better luck against the Game 3 pitcher, Tim Hudson, whom they beat last August.

If the Giants win Game 4, that sets up a repeat of Game 1—Bumgarner against the world for the series in Game 5.

Tuesday was more than a peek into the future.

UPDATE  10/21/14  1:00 pm pdt

Game one about to start and I’m noticing how the Nation seems to be turning Royal Blue, backing the Cinderella team from Kansas City. Why? They haven’t been there in nearly 30 years and there’s a real sense of underdog entitlement. Like that makes sense in sports? People are all meritocratic and hard ass in sports and then get soft because the team in blue hasn’t been good enough in three decades, let them have a chance?

That’s not how sports is played. Rec league soccer for kids maybe, but this is hardball.

The Giants aren’t really all that great. They are good enough to be great when they have to. That’s the 2014 team. I watched them all year, suffered through June. Got really disgusted with their play late July and early August. But what do you know. They hung in there. Didn’t beat the Dodgers, but made it to be the worst qualified team in the NL.

The Royals were the least qualified on the AL side, and have come on strong in the post-season, but I think the fairy dust runs out in this Wild Series.

If you’re going to go with underdogs, the Giants are the more deserving among dogs. The Royals have a nice team, but I saw them play  Oakland in the summer. If the Giants starting pitching is sharp, and the Giants big bats wake up, then this is over in 5.

What people seem to respond to in the Royals is sympathy and nostalgia. The Giants had that a bit in 2010 too. But they were better than the Texas Rangers.

The sympathy vote for the Royals makes them slightly more lovable to some. And that’s the problem the Giants have. They are not villainous by any means. But their lovability factor for some reason seems low.

Doesn’t anyone out there notice those darn Panda hats?

I think the hats and the Panda himself are the key to this series. Pablo Sandoval had that huge 3-home run game in 2012. I was there. I still don’t believe it. But he has it in him. And he’s been fairly quiet with the bat. High average but no pop. I think he’ll be ready to pop this week. It’s his contract year, and he’s motivated. I’m looking for him, Posey, and Pence to make the difference. I won’t say sweep, but it would be nice to get in the full three game set in SF and win it all at AT&T on Sunday the 26th.

 

 

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SF Giants’ Lincecum still has homer-itis, but keeps team in game till it decides it wants to win in 12th; After nearly five hours, Giants beat Dodgers 3-2 on Jackie Robinson Day

 

On the night when all the heroes wore No. 42, it was too bad the San Francisco Giants’ Tim Lincecum couldn’t get the win.

On Jackie Robinson Night, the Giants sent Lincecum, the premier Filipino American player in baseball to the mound. The Filipino fan favorite pitched well enough to win. In a 93 pitch performance in 5 innings, he struck out 5 and had zero walks. The Dodgers managed just five hits, but that included a solo home run in the 2nd inning to former teammate Juan Uribe. On a full-count, Lincecum challenged with a slider, and Uribe pounded it half-way up the left field bleachers.  The Dodgers coasted on that run most of the night. By the time the Giants tied it on a Brandon Crawford sac fly that scored Hunter Pence, Lincecum was out of the game–but off the hook.  He’s still looking for his first win, but so far he’s got 17 Ks and 1 walk in 15 innings pitched, indicative that the mustachioed Lincecum isn’t plagued by some of the control issues he had last year. Indeed, this year, he’s not wild, just prone to the fat pitch and the homerun ball—he’s given up 5 in 15 innings.  Uribe got him on this night. After the Dodgers took a2-1 lead, the Giants tied the score again  in the bottom of the 9th, but left the bases loaded ( as they did three times in the game). The game went into extras, past midnight. Nearly five hours after the start, the Giants finally pushed through a winning run when Hector Sanchez singled in Brandon Crawford for the 3-2 final. The walk-off win gives the Giants a first place tie with LA in the NL West.

 

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Linceblog: Is Tim Lincecum saying goodbye to the SF Giants?

In an revealing interview with MLB.com, Tim Lincecum says a whole lot more than in his terse after the game clubhouse sessions.

Mostly he talks about being in a good place, how he’s learned how to create a plan from talking to teammate Chad Gaudin, and learned how to live without his blazing fastball.

In some ways, he’s so positive in the interview he sounds like he’s on some 12-step plan. Good for the Giants or maybe some other team.

 

That’s the speculation now as Lincecum returns to PETCO Park today for the first time since he threw the no-hitter that is now proving to be the highlight of the 2013 season for the whole team.

Here’s an excerpt:

Lincecum: Oh, things are going well. I want to see things get better and I want to get better myself. I’m just going to worry about me in the offseason and just go on to help out a team that needs it. Right now, I’m just trying to make my tools better.

(EG: Was that a major league hint? That he’s ready to say goodbye, if that happens? Gaudin, his “mentor” is a journeyman who has been around the block, maybe that’s part of the “mental” aspect of the game he’s passed on–changing uniforms, towns, teams but staying focused on one’s native athletic skill).

 

MLB.com: What’s the difference for you right now on the mound?

Lincecum: I think it’s taking every start individually and at a larger level, not making any one game or any one month too big or overwhelming. It can be at times and I’ve gotten ahead of myself, worrying about the future, wondering whether the stuff I have on the mound I’m going to be able to carry forward with me. That kind of negative thinking just leads nowhere. You get negative feelings and negative results out of it. I’ve just tried to steer my mindset to a different kind of thinking by feeding off the positives, even if they’re just little ones — liking myself at the end of the day, giving myself the benefit of the doubt even if the day doesn’t go great.

MLB.com: How have you been able to accomplish that?

Lincecum: I’ve had the pleasure of having Chad Gaudin on the team, who steered me in the right direction, as far as studying hitters and exploiting them the way I would like to, at least. I’ve never had anyone sit me down and do that, nor have I asked. To see the game from that perspective, that’s the way I’ve gone about it for the last 12 starts or so. Things have gotten increasingly better for me. It has me going out there with a plan, knowing that execution is the key. When anything goes wrong outside of that, I can always go back to my plan.

MLB.com: So you’re saying a lot of your problems the last two seasons have been mental?

Lincecum: Yeah, a lot of it is completely mental, just grasping the fact that I’m not going to throw 95-96 [mph] by guys anymore. I probably have to spot my fastball a lot more. That goes back to trusting it, trusting the stuff you have that day, regardless how fast it is and regardless of the fact that you’re probably not going to throw that hard again. You just have to trust it and know that it’s good stuff.

MLB.com: So why, at your age, the decrease in velocity of your fastball? Have you ever figured that out?

Lincecum: No, I think it goes back to getting into a good rhythm and timing with your body and having as many games when you have good results, but you might not be feeling at your best. That obviously goes back to being a good pitcher, but I’ve always fallen back on how I felt and what my rhythm was like on that day. Lately that velocity hasn’t been there, so I’ve had another crutch to lean on and that has been my game plan and the execution of that.

MLB.com: So you can fall back on the plan.

Lincecum: It’s just knowing that I can execute a pitch and it doesn’t have to be nasty anymore. That alleviates any kind of stress on any given pitch. If I do my pre-game studying, I know that a guy is or isn’t going to swing at a certain pitch or in a certain situation. It’s not 100 percent accurate, but it gives you a gauge that you can trust.

MLB.com: So how long has this taken to evolve?

Lincecum: The mental side started last year and the preparation part of it started this year. As far as preparing is concerned, I just wanted to be on the same page with my catcher, going with what I wanted that day whether it means shaking to a fastball away when he calls a curveball down, or any sort of scenario like that. I’m going with what I know I want so when he finally puts a sign down, I know, click, I’ve got that one. There’s not a whole lot of running over signs or confusion about, “What do you want to do here?” We already know what we want to do and we have an idea.

The interview was conducted by an MLB.Com national writer, and was fairly long compared to the Lincelength comments one usually gets after the games. But it is a digest of things he’s said throughout the season after both good and bad games.

Lincecum says he hasn’t decided what to do, nor has there been any discussion with the Giants so far.

But he sounds ready for anything. Positive. Upbeat. Prepared.

His closing comments are telling:

MLB.com: How do you sum up this part of your career with the Giants?

Lincecum: I’m happy because I’m healthy and that’s the biggest thing anybody can say, as far as their career goes. Being able to last is the biggest thing and staying in the game is the hardest. I enjoy being able to work, come in and be part of a team like this. It’s been fun. I’ve faltered the last few years here. I think I have a lot of good years in me, as long as I turn it around and start believing in myself again like I should. I’m not going to try throwing 96 anymore. I’m going to try and sit on the edges, not necessarily call myself a nit-picker, but exploit guy’s weaknesses and have them swing at pitches that I want them to. I want to keep getting better.

Is it over at AT&T? Let’s hope not. He sounds like a better Lincecum. Besides, how will the Giants ever sell out TWO Filipino American Heritage Nights….

 

 

 

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Linceblog: If you were the fan who threw that banana at Orioles’ Adam Jones, you are a jerk; incident adds racial ugliness to SF Giants loss; UPDATE: SF Giants issue apology; UPDATE: Fan comes forward says not a racial incident

It was a good day for Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones in San Francisco in all ways except one.
The banana part.
First the good. In the top of the 8th, Jones gave his team some insurance with an RBI double that padded the O’s lead over the Giants to 5-2.
Just for good measure, in the top of the 9th, Jones hit a a three-run homer to pad the score even more, 10-2.
In the last inning, some frustrated  fan apparently got Jones’ attention.   And Jones tweeted the incident.

 

 

The Giants are reviewing the surveillance shots to see what exactly happened. If it’s true,  and there’s no reason to doubt Jones, then it’s a sad fact of fan hooliganism. When the game is uninteresting, fans can be unruly. Giants fans, generally are better than that.  But fans are fans and the lack of civility in our culture only encourages behavior like a banana throwing incident.

What’s worse is that a banana thrown at a black athlete like Jones, is a racial thing. Hadn’t heard of that, though I have  heard bananas used in context of Asians and Asian Americans. Specifically,  Filipinos were often referred to by racists as “monkey.”

This I know because my father told me stories of being called that regularly in San Francisco—in the 1920s, where “monkey” was a racial epithet.

So a thrown banana isn’t so innocent when the target is a  person of color.

San Francisco of the ’20s is a much different  city from the tolerant, multi-cultural San Francisco of today. Or at least, we’d like to think so.

If Jones was a victim of a stupid and ignorant act, the Giants, their fans and the city, owe Jones and the Orioles, an immediate and unequivocal apology.

Let’s hope one comes quickly, and because Jones is an avowed “foodie,” maybe  the Giants can toss in some Dungeness crabs. Jones probably has enough of those Blue Crabs from the Chesapeake.

Sports is a multi-billion dollar enterprise. But that shouldn’t mean we’ve lost our values and sense of  sportsmanship.

 

UPDATE FROM SF CHRONICLE’S JOHN SHEA, regarding apology from the San Francisco Giants:

Statement from the San Francisco Giants Regarding Incident at AT&T Park Yesterday

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — We were extremely disappointed to learn about the incident involving Adam Jones at AT&T Park yesterday. The Giants have a zero tolerance policy against this type of behavior, which results in immediate ejection from the ballpark. While we have been investigating the matter since we learned of the situation, unfortunately we have been unable to identify the person responsible. We would like to extend our sincerest apologies to Adam and the entire Orioles organization for this unfortunate incident. The inappropriate actions of this individual in no way reflect the values of our organization and our fans.

UPDATE : 8/14/13  2013

New report yesterday identified  a fan coming forward saying banana throwing wasn’t a racial incident. He threw the banana out of frustration. It was just a coincidence it went Jones’ way.

Jones still concerned about safety. We should be too. Not sure about fan’s credibility. According to the report I saw on (KOVR-TV),  fan grabbed a banana from a cart and hurled it on the field. Of course, just like that lost verse from  the ballpark anthem,  “Take me out to the ball game,” the part that goes,”Buy me some peanuts and bananas, I don’t care if I never get back….”

Doesn’t rhyme.

Maybe the fan should throw crackerjack next time. Won’t be seen as a slur, though it is caramel in color.

Certainly won’t do any physical harm. Or how about not throwing anything, period. It’s baseball, not soccer!

More concerned about surveillance cams. I suppose at a ball park you are in a de facto TV studio. And you do give up your rights. If fans thought of that, maybe they’d behave better. Though we see how well they behave on Kiss-Cam, Fist-Cam, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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