Monday, May 16, 2011


The Not-So-Great Timmy Debate

Did Bruce Bochy leave Tim Lincecum in too long tonight? Yes and no. We can debate it until the cows come home, I suppose, but the ultimate decision to leave him in turned out to be a disaster. If you watched tonight's brutal loss to Colorado you saw Timmy cough up a 4-2 lead, having been left out to rot with his pitch count eclipsing the 110 mark in the sixth inning. Whether he was gassed or not, the Rockies jumped on him, lighting him up for five runs, culminating in a three-run home run by Carlos Gonzalez.

The fact that Lincecum was even facing Gonzalez was a point of controversy following the game. Personally, I would have pulled him for Jeremy Affeldt on the spot. Lincecum looked out of whack and his pitch count was getting ugly fast. He'd been walking batters and had generally been looking shaky for the past few innings, and I would have pulled the trigger.

Of course, this is why Bruce Bochy gets paid the big bucks to make decisions like these instead of second-guessing pricks like me who rave about it in their underwear at hideous hours of the night. Credit Bochy with at least giving a reasoned argument after the game for why he left Lincecum in. Bochy stated that he felt that Lincecum was still throwing the ball well and had his good stuff, so he thought he could get Gonzalez. Plus, he's the ace and, as Mike Krukow said on the air, when you win two Cys and close out a World Championship, you get a big leash.

Fair enough. I guess the counter-argument would be that Lincecum clearly (in my view) looked like he'd had it and should have been pulled for a lefty. It's early in the season still and, with his pitch count rising, I think the team still should be somewhat cautious about extending him in a game like this, ace or no. Then again, if Lincecum strikes CarGo out and the Giants go on to win, then Bochy looks like a genius and no one cares. Such is the nature of baseball. After Bochy's terrific postseason machinations last year, he's earned the benefit of the doubt in these situations.

--Nate Schierholtz hit another bomb today to temporarily give the Giants the lead. Schierholtz has been a guy I've been rooting for for a long time now. He's one hell of a fielder with a rocket arm and good baserunning skills. The only knock, and it's a big one, is that he doesn't hit enough to merit a role as anything more than a defensive replacement.

With injuries and Pat Burrell's sudden decision to harken back to his Tampa days, Schierholtz has found some more playing time and, wouldn't you know it, he's actually hitting. When he plays right field next to Andres Torres and Cody Ross, it's one of the best defensive outfields you'll see in the game today. Those three almost negate fly balls completely. It's an amazing thing to watch, really. If Schierholtz can continue to his just .280 with the occasional long ball to keep pitchers honest, he'll force Bochy to get him more time, and Giants pitchers will have the benefit of having that defense behind them more often.

-The Giants' win on Saturday degenerated into a hilarious bout of wiffle ball-style antics, and the result was one of the ugliest looking victories in Giants history. With horizontal rain whipping around for hours, there was no reason the game should have been played, but the Giants scratched out three ill-begotten runs and somehow came away with a victory.

Ryan Vogelsong got credit for the first complete game shutout of his career when the game was called after six innings. He was likely helped by a windstorm that would have taken a cannon to hit a home run in. The Cubs gave away two runs by throwing a slippery ball all over the field. Duane Kuiper apparently said that in all his years in baseball those were the worst weather conditions that he'd seen a game played in. Yeesh. Beautiful stuff only because the Giants won.

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