Pop quiz. Tonight’s start by Tim Lincecum was …
A. Maddeningly inconsistent
B. Brilliant at times
C. [crackpot Tim Lincecum is struggling theory]
D. All of the above
D. It’s probably D. However, there are some positives to take away from Lincecum’s start. His final line (6 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 8 SO) is, as usual, a mixed bag. The good stuff: one walk! Lincecum hasn’t walked one batter or less in a start since April — he did twice in the month, none since — and for a pitcher that’s really had problems with his control this year, it was a welcome sight. And, walks aside, despite all of his struggles, Lincecum has never stopped striking out batters, so that’s also good to see.
The bad stuff is largely centered on the four runs that Lincecum gave up in the 2nd inning. It was your typical 2012 Tim Lincecum inning: homer, double, fly out, walk, single (run scored), fielder’s choice, double (two runs scored), and a fly out. The double was the worst part of the inning — a fat curveball that Cameron Maybin ripped into LF.
From innings three-to-six, Lincecum struck out eight batters and really showed some nice command of his breaking stuff. More of that, please.
Ultimately it seems that your opinion on Lincecum’s problems has turned into some weird form of a personality test. If you think Lincecum is struggling because his fastball velocity is down a little, you’re an extrovert; if you think he’s struggling because of mechanical issues, you’re an introvert; and if you think he’s struggling because the Giants won’t let him smoke marijuana, you’re an idiot. It’s science.
I’ve given up on micro-analyzing everything about Lincecum’s starts. I hope he can string together some decent starts, like tonight, and find a little more consistency.
Don’t look now, but Ryan Theriot has quietly been on a roll. Theriot knocked in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning when he poked an opposite field single — off a 100 mph Andrew Cashner heater, no less — to score Brandon Crawford from second base and take the lead 5-4. Over the past seven days, Theriot is batting .381 and looks to be the Giants second baseman right now. If Theriot can even come close to his career averages, the Giants will take it.
Melky Cabrera and Gregor Blanco sure know how to celebrate a run scored.
I could watch this for hours. And then watch it some more. And then, eat a sandwich, come back, and watch it some more. It’s that good.
There’s something about watching Carlos Quentin play defense in LF. And by “something”, I mean it’s an awful, horrible experience. But man, that guy can hit a little. Quentin tied the game in the 8th inning when he hit a solo home run to dead center off Jeremy Affeldt. In 23 at-bats for the Padres this year, Quentin is batting a cool .522/.577/1.348 (yes that’s a 1.000-plus slugging percentage).
Have I professed my love of Gregor Blanco lately? No?
That’s Gregor Blanco “slug bunting” a double in the 9th inning. Blanco finished the game 3-5 with a double — pictured in the .gif — and a triple. His wRC+ is now an outstanding 129 on the season.
I know the gut reaction is to be hard on Steve Edlefsen for giving up the walk-off home run to end the game, but he’s been the lowest leveraged reliever on the team not named Shane Loux. Despite tonight’s flub, he’s been somewhat respectable — 5.65 K/9, 2.51 BB/9, 69.4 percent groundball rate — and with Santiago Casilla still not available to pitch, Bochy’s hand was forced a little. Sure, I would have preferred Romo to pitch that inning, but Edlefsen isn’t an insane choice to start the inning. Sometimes those things don’t work out. It’s baseball.