Ironically, his last start was against the Cardinals and he continued his strong start to the season by striking out 11 and walking only 1. The most impressive part of the start was his confidence in his fastball and his unwillingness to change his game plan. Even after the Cardinals started hitting his first pitch fastball. So far each one of his starts has given us a new reason to believe we are watching a truly elite pitcher.
Stat line (from the last game):
IP: 6, K: 11, BB: 1, H: 6, ER: 2
Stat line (for the season):
IP: 16, K: 22, BB: 6, H: 17, ER: 4
This game is a little different for the single reason that the Cardinals saw him last weekend so this start will be similar to a playoff start. As a result, Lincecum will change his game plan ever so slightly to keep the Cardinals from sitting on his first pitch fastball. However, his confidence remains high so I don't think he will stray to far from his fastball if he starts to get into trouble. Again, Lincecum will be asked to win a game after following a loss and I think he enjoys that added pressure.
I think I covered this last week so please refer to that column.
Three Things to Remember:
The 1st Pitch:
Last week, Lincecum threw a lot of first pitch strikes and the Cardinals were very successful at the start of the game because of it. However, Lincecum stuck with his game plan of first pitch fastball strikes and it paid off in the end. It will be interesting to see how much Lincecum start batters off something else besides the fastball.
Lincecum did not have to face the big man in the last start but I don't think he is going to get that luxury this time around.
The Giants have done a nice job of scoring enough runs to keep Lincecum in all of his starts. If Lincecum gets behind early, can the Giants score enough runs to keep them in the game? Furthermore, does Lineceum maintain his concentration even if the Cardinals put up a crooked number on the board early in the game.
I think my prediction from last week was just one week too early. I think Lincecum over thinks this start by going with too many off speed pitches on the first pitch and he gets in trouble early. While I think he will settle down, he cannot avoid the loss.
Giants 2 - Cardinals 7
IP: 5, K: 5, BB: 4, H: 6, ER: 4