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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Lincecum, Starters Struggling

For a second straight start, Tim Lincecum was lit up pretty good, this time in Colorado by the Rockies. Not the start he was looking for after getting lit up for 5 runs in the five innings on Opening Day vs. Arizona last week.

It was much of the same for Timmy Wednesday, only this time he didn't get out of the messes enough to last till the fifth like he did last Friday. He lasted only 2 1/3 innings (6 runs, 8 hits, 3 K's), for his shortest outing of his Major League career, and put the Giants behind the 8-ball early again. It's a shame too, because, once again, their offense showed up, and a halfway decent performance out of Timmy on any other ordinary night would have netted an easy 8-4 victory or something like that, certainly not a football score-type loss. The Giants offense hasn't scored less than 4 runs in any of their 5 games this season, which was the supposed magic number for them to get to in order to support their "dominant" pitching staff. Problem is, the pitching staff, sans Barry Zito's brilliant performance on Monday night, hasn't been all that dominant, which is extremely odd, considering pitchers tend to have the advantage on hitters earlier in the season when they're fresher. This Giants staff looks like they're still in spring training mode or something, like they're still just going through the motions out there in this first week of play and they aren't playing with any fire whatsoever. Now, I'm in no position to panic, they could go 3-17 to start the year and still have a decent shot at making the playoffs with the new format, but they're expected bullet-proof pitching staff has been slow to the party, something that's never happened with the Cain-Lincecum era. That said, I completely expect things to turn around for the Giants, especially after they come home Friday, and if Timmy doesn't go 7 innings of 2-run ball in his next outing back in the friendly confines of AT&T, I'll be surprised.

The Giants were also down a solider Wednesday, in what will hopefully just be a short-term issue. Buster Posey was a late scratch on the lineup card due to suffering symptoms of Shingles. It's supposedly a minor case, and in the pre-game show, Bruce Bochy said Buster would have played had it been a playoff game or in the pennant race, but they're taking it easy with him and I don't blame them. They're considering him day-to-day, which is a good thing, considering a lot of these cases would land a player on the 15-day DL. Also, luckily for the Giants, is the fact they have young Hector Sanchez in Posey's absence back behind the plate, as the kid showed again Wednesday that he can hit Major League pitching, tacking on two more RBI's to his nice start to 2012. Also, Nate Schierholtz, in his first start of the season, showed up in "Don't forget about me" mode, as he was dialed, going deep twice in what should have been a game the Giants took control of. They battled back from the early 6-1 deficit to take a 7-6 lead, at which point I thought they would take off and score a few more runs and seal the deal with their pen, but it was completely the contrary. The Giants bullpen got absolutely smashed, as Guillermo Mota and Jermey Affeldt alone got lit up for 10 runs and 12 hits in 3 innings of work. Not good in a game in which your ace gets knocked out early and you need your bullpen to come through for your.

They have Thursday's rubber match to kind of make good on this awkward opening road trip, that has seemed like an extension of spring training in a way. I guess it doesn't all feel real until we see them play at AT&T, but the play from both them and their opponents thus far, with the errors and mistakes in the field, has been an odd ordeal. Hopefully Madison plays Zito Thursday and ends the Giants roadie on a high note.
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