Posts Tagged Tim Lincecum

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. WS-GAME ONE, MADBUM MAKES ROYALS LOOK PLEBEIAN; UPDATED 10.22. WS-GAME TWO–What a difference a Madbum makes; and a Lincecum sighting. UPDATED-10/23/GAME THREE BUZZ–KC PITCHER AND ISHIKAWA HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON

(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.

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UPDATE/ Pre-game buzz GAME 3  10/23/ 9pm PDT  More Lincecum; Guthrie and Ish

Giants Manager Bruce Bochy said Tim Lincecum was getting an MRI this afternoon, but added that the pitcher indicated he felt fine. Lincecum, the guy who doesn’t ice is arm, should be ready to be a bullpen weapon on Friday. Bochy said Lincecum has to feel confident about pitching, after his first appearance in 23 days on Wednesday.  “I know we do,” added Bochy. “He could play a bigger role now, if he’s healthy.”

When I saw KC starter Jeremy Guthrie, I just knew the guy was at least half-Asian. Sure enough, his mother is Japanese American, born in Hawaii. Guthrie was born in Oregon, and went to BYU and Stanford. He is a fourth generation Japanese American.

He told the Japanese ball players blog that he speaks no Japanese, and has never visited Japan. But his  favorite food is Shrimp Tempura. “I feel a strong tie with Japanese culture, but I don’t know why. I feel close to Japanese players,” he said. The blog added that  Guthrie “feels there is a sense of “Japaneseness” in him that is different from most Americans.”

The Giants game 5 NLCS hero, Travis Ishikawa, is also a fourth-generation Japanese American.

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UPDATE GAME 2  10/22/ 8:45 PM PDT

What a difference a Madbum makes

Without the 25-year old ace, the Giants looked like the Royals did on Tuesday.  Ordinary.

They sent out Jake Peavy for Game 2, and Peavy has a thing about the 6th inning in post-season.

He doesn’t get out of it. True to form, he didn’t.

The game seemed to start off like Game 1, with the Giants pouncing. Facing 99 mph fastballs from KC’s Yordano Ventura, the Giants didn’t buckle. Leadoff man Gregor Blanco hit a line drive homer to right for a 1-0 lead.

When the Giants score first this post-season, they’re 5-0.

But Peavy was rocky in the first, as the Royals tied it when Billy Butler singled in Lorenzo Cain.

They went ahead in the 2nd on doubles by Infante and Escobar.

But the Giants came back in the 4th when Brandon Belt doubled in Sandoval.

It was all tied at 2, and then came that 6th inning.

Peavy had retired 10 in a row and looked to have settled in. But after a single to Cain and a walk to Hosmer, Peavy was gone.

Jean Machi came in relief. And true to his poor form of late, Machi gave up a single to Butler, who again delivered an RBI single to put KC ahead 3-2.

Machi left to be replaced by the home-run inducing Hunter Strickland. He began with a double to Salvador Perez, which made the KC lead 5-2.

And then Strickland did what Strickland does. A home run ball to Omar Infante to left, put KC ahead 7-2.

The Giants’ bats were stymied by the KC bullpen.They hit the ball hard, but struck out 6 times and never could mount a rally.

One good news/bad news situation was the appearance in relief of Tim Lincecum, the first time in 23 days he’s seen action. Lincecum came on in the 7th, pitched 1.2 innings and struck out two batters. But he hurt something in his lower body as he delivered a pitch and was forced to leave the game. Still uncertain how serious the injury is and if it will prevent him from future action.

The series now goes back for three games in San Francisco, and if the Giants win Games 3 and 4, they could conceivably close it out in 5 with another start from their ace Bumgarner.

But the Royals showed what they had in Game 2. And they showed how the series can easily come back to Kansas City.

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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.

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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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Back from No-no is an “Oh-No!”; Terrible outing for Lincecum, SF Giants as Cincinnati revives Big Red Machine, 11-0

In your wildest dreams, maybe Tim Lincecum would come up with a 2nd no-hitter, a back-to-back that would make history. No one has done it in 75 years, not since Johnny Vander Meer did it for the Cincinnati Reds.

 

It certainly didn’t happen tonight for Lincecum and the Giants.

 

Lincecum:First pitch back from No-No, was a ball. And it was downhill from there.

 

 

 

Baseball records are made to be broken, but not on this night when  Lincecum simply just didn’t have it from the first pitch.

But Bronson Arroyo did.

The Reds starter pitched  a 7-hit complete game shutout, powered by a 11-run, 17-hit attack and buttressed by some good defense, including a circus catch by the substitute center fielder Derrick Robinson in the 9th. The Giants’ Jeff Francoeur had hit a long fly to center that Robinson caught over the wall with his glove. As his gloved hand came back from over the wall, the ball popped loose, but Robinson ultimately managed to keep it from hitting the ground to record the final out.

A fitting end for a strange bombast of a game won by the Reds, 11-0.

That’s right 11-0. The sixth time this year, the Giants have lost by 10 or more, but never by a shutout like this. (They’ve been shutout 7 times this season).

Lincecum was pulled after 3 and 2/3rds  innings, after giving up 9 hits and 8 runs, all earned, including 3 home runs.

Normally this season, you could see flashes of his brilliance amid one bad inning. In this game, every inning he pitched there was trouble.

The no-hitter had been a nice diversion in a season where Lincecum has lost ten of his last 12 decisions. Pitching on nine days rest, Lincecum said after the game, he felt fine going into this one.

It just seems  like we’ve returned to the troubled Lincecum, as the afterglow of the no-no has now officially ended. 

See  more of the  Linceblog at www.asamnews.com

 

 

 

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Linceblog: Lincecum all smiles, awaits next start on Monday (updated for 7/22)

Tim Lincecum was all smiles before the game tonight (7/20). Last night he was given a standing ovation from the dugout by the fans who still wear his #55 and live and die with every pitch he throws.

Lincecum is scheduled to start Monday night, and has said he’s ready to go after  the 148- pitch no-hitter he threw  on 7/13 against the Padres. 

In the meantime, the Giants need a good home-stand to put them back on track for a post-season run.  They started a new streak with a win against the Diamondbacks on Friday. But they are still 5.5 games behind Arizona  and in fourth place in the NL West.

Lincecum  was  the  focus of  trade  rumor talks well before the no-hit performance. But that may have only  increased his value, if the Giants consider themselves “sellers.”  The Giants’ front-office was quick this week to say they expect Lincecum to remain a Giant until the end of the season.

But you never know what might get dangled in front of the decision makers.

Judging from Lincecum’s pre-game demeanor tonight, the Asian American ace is staying loose and not letting any speculation spoil his post-no-hitter mood.

UPDATE (7/20)
On his 7th day of service in the major leagues, Kensuke Tanaka pinch-hit in the 8th, but grounded into a fielder’s choice.

Sergio Romo came out in 9th and gave up a run, but got former teammate Cody Ross to strike out and end the game.

With 4-3 victory, Giants take first two from NL West leading Diamondbacks, and will try to sweep the series on Sunday when the Giants’ real ace, Madison Bumgarner goes to the mound.

 

UPDATE: 7/21/13 9:30PM

The Giants couldn’t complete the sweep against the Diamondbacks, and lost the third game in the series, 3-1, despite a great performance from their de facto ace, Madison Bumgarner.

Coincidentally, it was poor outfield play by left fielder Kensuke Tanaka at the start of the game that resulted in the first DB run, and that held up for most of the game. 

Tanaka’s eighth day of service turned out to be not so great. The first-inning play was just the first of two that exposed him for being a converted infielder playing the outfield.  Another play, a ball in which Tanaka seemed to get a late jump, turned into a double, but did not end up costing a run. A third play, a base-running gaffe, saw Tanaka get thrown out at second after trying to advance on a misthrow to first.  It stifled a last inning rally that seemed to be developing for the Giants.

Later, Giants skipper Bruce Bochy told the media Tanaka’s first inning episode was a matter of poor defensive positioning and not his inability to play outfield. But I doubt if anyone in the front-office is considering Tanaka the solution to their left field needs.

The loss did keep the Dodgers from taking over first place from Arizona. LA beat the Nationals and were poised to take over if the Giants won. But that didn’t happen. LA is a half-game behind the Diamondbacks. The Giants remain in 4th, 5.5 games off the lead.

Still, the vibe is positive as Tim Lincecum takes the mound Monday night against the Cincinnati Reds. It’s the first start since Lincecum’s 148-pitch No-Hitter  week from Saturday in San Diego.

Though a longshot, there’s always the possibility of a back-to-back no-hitter.  Johnny Vander Meer did it 75 years ago on June 11 and then June 15. It’s the only time it has ever been done. And Vander Meer’s team? The Cincinnati Reds.

Are the stars aligned this week? Lincecum has looked good in his two starts prior to the no-hitter. In fact, he lost to the Reds when Homer Bailey no-hit the Giants on July 2nd.

I’m not worried about the 148-pitch count. Lincecum is well rested, and seems to have his confidence back in spades. 

B2B no-hitters requires a lot of luck, especially with catching teams at the right time. The Reds are 5-5 the last ten games and just lost a close one at home to the Pirates Sunday. And now they’re back Monday night? The tired, jet-lagged, time-shifted visitors may need some time to get used to the road, which means Lincecum is likely to have success keeping hitters off-balance with his fastball and change-up. Lincecum got the Padres to whiff in his no-hitter. And that should continue with the Reds.

There are a lot of positives going for Lincecum on Monday that say this is as good a time as there’s ever been for a back-to-back.

Besides, I figure there’s  more than a few of his Filipino fans saying multiple rosaries hoping for something special on Monday night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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