Tag Archives: Marco Scutaro

Linceblog: On Mother’s Day, Tim Lincecum labors like a mother early, then comes on strong with “best” game of season as SF Giants thump the Atlanta Braves

The Giants, all muscle on Mother’s Day, pounded the Atlanta Braves with three solo homers– a splash hit homer into McCovey Cove from Pablo Sandoval, and long-balls to left from Brandon Belt, and Marco Scutaro.

It was just the lift Giants starter Tim Lincecum needed to provide 7 innings of shut-out baseball, as the Giants beat the Braves 5-1, winning three games in the four-game series.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Lincecum “was on top of his game,” keeping the ball down with effective use of his secondary pitches.

“Today he had great focus,” said Bochy. “That’s when he’s at his best when he has his concentration on every pitch, and today I thought he did. He didn’t drop his guard at all when he got ahead in the count. He just pitched. Every pitched. He and Buster worked great together.”

I asked Lincecum in the locker-room about that “focus” Bochy talked about.

OK, his best game this year. But, still, as Lincecum said, he’s “not jumping up in the air right now.”

A bit more consistency is needed before we can all joyously proclaim the Lincecum of old is back.

At the start of the game, as Lincecum took the mound, he greeted an older woman, part of the Strike Out Cancer Day ceremonies, with a warm hug and signed her baseball.

Then, as Lincecum has in previous starts, he began to labor—almost like a mother.

In the first inning, he threw as many balls as strikes (nine each) and got into trouble with a runner in scoring position. He settled down to strike out Justin Upton. But then Freddie Freeman drew out a 7-pitch at- bat before flying out to right.

The questions began: Would we see the good Lincecum or bad one today? Would he have that one infamously bad inning?

In the third, the Braves threatened again. Jordan Schafer took Lincecum to a 3-1 count before singling. He stole second and went to third on a grounder. Lincecum then walked the dangerous Brian McCann on 4 straight pitches.

With runners on 1 and 3rd, Lincecum showed his wildness by throwing two more balls out of the zone to the next batter, clean-up hitter Justin Upton. Then Lincecum settled down, and with his fast-ball got Upton to fly-out to right.

From then on, Lincecum cruised  with “three-up/three-down” innings in the 4th, 5th, and 6th.  The seventh was marred by an inconsequential walk.  In all, he threw 111 pitches, 65 of them strikes. In pitching shut-out ball, he gave up just two hits, struck out seven and issued three walks.

Lincecum seemed to relax once the offense got going. Belt’s solo blast in the second was just a hint of what was to come. Then came Sandoval’s splash homer in the third. Crawford knocked in a run in the fourth. In the fifth, the Scutaro homer and a ground-rule double from Gregor Blanco added two more runs to complete the scoring.

On this Mother’s Day, there were no bad innings for the Giants at bat, or for Lincecum on the mound.

The seventh win in this 10-game homestand showed Eastern Division leading Atlanta that it’s no fluke the Giants are first place in the West.


Championship wetness: The Giants win the Pennant and no one is dry

Normally, only the players get to bathe in championship wetness after a successful championship run.

Not so the San Francisco Giants. With impeccable timing, the Giants secured the final out of their 9-0 Game 7 NLCS  victory – appropriately a pop fly by series villain Matt Holliday to the man he ran over in game 1, Marco Scutaro—and the celebration was on for everyone.

The skies opened up and showered players and fans alike with a drenching, cleansing rain, a massive pour from a magnum of some Veuve Cliquot in the sky.

Congratulations, Giants.

It’s sweeter when no one expects you to be there in the end.

I write this more as a San Francisco native and as a season ticket holder. I don’t get to play the game, but I’ve watched all the games, physically attended about 60 of them, and dutifully wave an orange towel as well as the next guy. Maybe better.

Can’t help it. I’m a Giants fan.

Still, it’s interesting how little respect from the national media the Giants get. Who cares right? But it does matter. People who don’t see this team play, might read a few stats, see a couple of games, and think they know who will win the World Series.

They don’t know.

This Giants team is special. Talk about overcoming adversity. At every point in the season there was some event or issue that changed things.

The closer Brian Wilson is out with Tommy John? The All-Star left fielder Melkey (the other) Cabrera is suspended? The Dodgers are loading up for bear? The Giants end up with Marco Scutaro? 

This was an evolutionary season, where despite it all the Giants overcame to climb what could be the highest mountains in sport. To win six straight elimination games? Ridiculous. It’s like the NCAA tournament, only in baseball.

Down 2-0 in a 5 game series, the Giants stave off elimination to won three in a row against the Reds.

And then it happened again. Down three games to one, the Giants won three in a row against the Tigers.

And the stars were all the improbable guys. Marco Scutaro on offense, Brandon Crawford and Gregor Blanco on defense, and the $126-million dollar man Barry Zito, who did a Dutch boy number in game five in St.Louis, pitching a gem that stuck a big finger in the dike and kept the Giants alive for games 6 and 7.

So what happens when Buster Posey and Hunter Pence start getting into the act for real?

Unlike the national observers, I don’t see the Tigers able to stop the Giants karma.

Think of how Hunter Pence made his presence felt in game 7 with that ridiculous catch-me-if-you-can ground ball that deked it’s way past the St.Louis shortstop Pete Kozma.  That was no seeing-eye grounder. The slow-mo replay shows Pence’s bat hit the ball three times, changing the spin and direction that totally faked out Kozma.

How do you explain it? The ground ball cleared the bases and put the Giants up 5-0 in the third.

The game was over. But I remembered how the Cards snatched victory from the Nationals who were up 6-1 in the final game of their NLDS series. Was a five run lead safe? Not to worry.

I knew the Giants would win when my adult daughter, who was wearing her Giraffe hat for Brandon Belt (he’s nicknamed “Baby Giraffe”), actually called Belt’s home run shot.

What’s going on here?

There’s something special going on at AT&T.  Like 2010, but different. Better. And maybe even divine.

When the rains came it was practically biblical. Not a dry guy or gal in the house.

The World Series is next. And now that some time has passed, and I’ve parked my ark,  it’s plain as day.

The Giants, appropriately, in 7.

see also www.aaldef.org/blog