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The big story today in Giants Land is that Lincecum looked human last night, receiving his 2nd loss on the year. He’s now 10-2, or, a crap load better than Barry Zito. Lincecum struggled to get through 6 innings, giving up 4 runs and in the process he gave up two HR’s — a 3-run HR to Beltran and a solo HR to Delgado. His HR/FB% is still really low at 6.8% but he was due to give up a HR or two and that’s what happened last night.
The most concerning thing about Lincecum was that his velocity was lower than usual. BIS, courtesy of Fan Graphs, has Lincecum’s average fastball velocity at 94.2mph this year, but in last nights game, he threw a few fastballs between 91-92mph. The lowest velocity on a fastball of the night was a 90mph fastball that he threw in the bottom of the 5th inning to Mike Pelfrey.
Henry Schulman touched on the speed dip in the Chronicle wrap-up:
His velocity was down, too, from his normal 95 mph to 92. That matched the Mets’ Mike Pelfrey, who stifled the Giants on three singles through seven innings.
All of which raises the question of whether the accumulation of innings (1212/3) in Lincecum’s first full major-league season is having an effect. The Giants do not think so. They shuffled the rotation to get him two starts this week instead of one.
I’m not overly concerned with the velocity during last nights game. He was still touching 94-95 and did so more than once, but he was definitely up in the zone to start the game. Still, the influx of innings that Lincecum will be throwing this year will be something to keep an eye on. He’s on the cusp of the injury nexus for young pitchers and the Giants need him to get through this season healthy. Without a healthy Tim in the rotation, things start to look real ugly real fast.
The offense of course was putrid. The Giants were in their patented HACK MODE™ and helped a pitcher in Mike Pelfrey, who’s a decent starter but has struggled in his brief career, look like Tom Seaver. No dig against Pelfrey who’s been pitching decently of late, but the Giants looked exactly like the 14th team in the NL in runs scored.
Speaking of the offense, Bengie Molina has looked incredibly bad over the last month. His blazing May was the byproduct of a .360 BABIP that was nearly 80 points over his career BABIP numbers. In June Molina hit (.275/.287/.297) which is bad for a 7th placed hitter, downright terrible for a cleanup hitter. And in 24 brief AB’s this month, he’s had two knocks. Yet Bochy seems intent to keep Molina in the cleanup spot no matter how much he struggles. The alternatives for him are weak, but Rowand should be hitting higher than 5th.
I don’t even want to talk about Omar Vizquel and his 10 OPS+. His glacial bat-speed is so GAMER.
The real test of my will was having to listen to Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez. I know that baseball announcers are a touchy subject with some. I’ve had people tell me how much they hate the greats of Vin Scully or Harry Kalas and then spin around and tell me that they actually enjoy Joe Morgan or Tim McCarver. I get it, announcer preference is one of the personal things that you might not be able to convey to others. But Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez are terrible. Not since the early days of TBS Braves’ announcers had my mind been so thoroughly scrambled by dumb statements.
Statements such as:
~ Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez delving into everyone’s favorite topic, Barry Bonds! Darling droned on for a few minutes about how nobody would want Barry Bonds — and his stupid enormous OPS — because he’s immobile in the field! Barry is no longer a good fielder, but he’s played around replacement level over the last couple of years. It’s not pretty, but when you hit the way he does, it’s not going to kill you. This is coming a guy that’s had to watch Moises Alou patrol LF — when he not injured — for the last 1.5 years. Why need Barry when you have the mighty Endy Chavez?
~ Ron Darling telling me how awesome Mike Pelfrey was now that he’s (paraphrasing here) “Started relaxing, not over analyzing everything, and just pitching!” When announcers talk about stuff like this, it drives me up a wall. You know why? Because they-don’t-know. Maybe Pelfrey was pitching good because the Giants suck at hitting? Or maybe he was wearing a golden thong. Or started growing a mustache. Or ate a giant sandwich before the game. It’s pseudo-analytical babble that announcers like to spew out because it makes them sound like they know something. Bottom line, no matter how many times Keith Hernandez gushes over the new “Calm Pelfrey” it’s unquantifiable, undetectable, and unintelligible. File this under “Team Chemistry Matters!” for things you should ignore from announcers.
~ When the umps blew a call in the first inning — Fred Lewis ran out of the baseline to avoid a tag…wasn’t called out — I thought Hernandez might have a heart attack. “That’s EGREGIOUS!” he said. It was almost like hearing Ron Santo — who’s sorta lovable in a crazy Grandpa-type of way — but without any of the charm. Yes, the call sucked but it happens in baseball.
~ Yes, Mets announcers, Bengie Molina is our 4-hitter. And, yes, we suck at hitting. You could have gotten that out of the way in the first inning, but it was brought up like 18 different times in the game.
I used to catch Darling do Nats games on MASN when he worked with them but I don’t remember him being this annoying before. Keith Hernandez also isn’t a very good announcer, watching him try to explain the biomechanics of Lincecum from the SI article was terrible. Did you know he strides over 120%? Settle down, Keith. Also, his views on women are fascinating.
Comment Starter: Which announcers make you want to plug your ears? And if a Mets fan stumbles across this post, do you actually like Darling and Hernandez?