Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Lincecum Report – Preview Start #2 (actually #1)

Last Start

To say his last start (relief appearance) was unconventional – would be an understatement. I would like to know how many starting pitchers have made their season debut by starting the 4th inning of the game they were supposed to start. If I was to take a guess, I would say nobody.

As for the performance, he did an adequate job staying ahead of hitters which led to the Giants only victory of the season. Besides throwing first pitch strikes, he also mixed in enough first pitch strikes to keep the Dodgers from sitting on his fastball (which is hard to do even when you know it is coming). As I said in my review, I think he did an outstanding job.

Stat line (for the last game):
IP: 4, K: 4, BB: 4, H: 4, ER: 1

Stat line (for the season):
IP: 4, K: 4, BB: 4, H: 4, ER: 1


Pitching Psychology

As expected, the Giants are awful. They have played three good teams not great teams and they have lost every game except for Lincecum’s one appearance. While the team is bad, Lincecum’s confidence has to be high as it is now obvious that he will be one of the few bright spots for the 2008 Giants. Pitchers at any level feed off of being the ace of the staff and Major league pitchers are no different. Lincecum should be coming into this start with the confidence of an ace and the desire to get the first home win of the season. This frame of mind can only help the Giants in tonight’s game.


Opponent Overview

The Padres come into tonight’s game with a 5-3 record. No matter who is pitching, the rest of the NL West knows that they should win every series they play against the Giants. Tonight should be no different as they have a solid veteran starter in Randy Wolf going and the mental edge over the Giants (save Lincecum). However, the Padres line-up is less than menacing and should be considered their Achilles heal when it comes to their chances of winning the NL West. Lincecum should be able to keep the Giants within striking distance as the game moves into the later innings.


Three Things to Remember

The 1st Pitch
I am not sure when this point will be removed from the list of things to remember but I can promise you that it will not be in April. Lincecum needs to continue what he started in his last appearance by starting hitters off with strikes. His stuff is too good to do anything but pound the strike zone.

Start Down, Stay Down
When you pitch for a bad team, you need to keep the game close from the beginning. The Giants are incapable of coming back from multi-run deficits for two reasons:

(1) Once the Giants get down by 2 or more in the early innings, the entire team (and fans if they are at home) start the “here we go again” chant and the team is in a defeatist mindset before they even step up to the plate

(2) The Giants need at least three hits to score a run as nobody is a real threat to hit a home run.

If Lincecum gives up a couple of runs in the first three innings, you might as well pull out that book you always wanted to read because the game is over.

Pedro Martinez
Another logical step for Lincecum is turning into an intimidator. The more he backs hitters off the plate, the more dominant he will become. Pedro Martinez set the standard for this style of pitching for guys weighing less than 160 pounds and Lincecum should follow his lead.


Prediction

I think the Giants win tonight. Lincecum will be coming into the game with some confidence and he will keep it close by holding the Padres offense in check. If the Giants realize they can still win the game by the seventh, they will find a way to scrape together enough runs for the team to be successful.

Final Score:
Padres 3 - Giants 4

Lincecum’s Stat Line
IP: 7, K: 7, BB: 2, H: 3, ER: 1

1 comment:

Suckaflea said...

RT, I thought Lincecum didn't throw as many changeups as usual against the Dodgers, but he had his curve working so it didn't matter. Did you notice him staying away from the change? Obviously, locating pitches is key to any pitcher, but with Tim(Can I call you Tim?), he needs to locate his curve when he isn't feeling his change. That's what is most impressive with Lincecum(No, I can't call you Tim?). Fastball - 94-96, Curve - 80-83 and then the Change 77-80. Three different speeds that confound the opposition. Sticking with location, it's the biggest difference in the disparity of hype between Cain and Lincecum. Cain is younger than Lincecum, but he doesn't locate like Lincecum does and opposing batter are more patient. Yesterday, when the Ump had a small strike zone, it was no surpise Maddux pitched so well(29-14 lifetime vs. the Giants), while Cain struggled. When you overthrow your fastball, it tends to straighten out. I can only imagine that Cain was frustrated with the strike zone leading to straight fastballs and four Padre singles in a row. As much as I like Lincecum(he's so hot right now), I like Cain more, but he has to locate. Pitching is like realty, location, location , location.

As for tonight's game, Lincecum CG, 4 H, 10k, 3BB, 1-3. Giants win, 3-1. That's right. I drink Kool-aid. Giants Kool-aid.