Sunday, May 6, 2012

Giants Update

This is generally a high point in the sports calendar with the NBA playoffs and NHL playoffs underway and the baseball season well into the grind of things. However, for me, this has been one of the slowest times of the year, just like February. As many of you already know, the NBA is not my sport. And since the Sharks are out of the NHL playoff race a little earlier than I anticipated, I'm not following hockey that closely either.

And that leaves me with baseball, which I've been following as closely as a human possibly can. I've tried to catch at least the first and last innings of every Giants game and have watched quite a few in their entirety so I am well versed as to how the Giants season is going. And I'm here to tell you it's going just alright.

The Giants offense had been producing for much of the start of the season but their bats have cooled off lately, with the exception of Angel Pagan's, who has a nice solid hitting streak going that is enough to make many of us forget about the loss of Pablo Sandoval. But, all in all, the last few games, ever since the series against Miami where San Francisco was swept, the bats have been pretty stagnant. Some of it has to do with opposing pitching, but the Giants bats have just seemed less impressive as a whole.

The pitching has improved over the last few games after a horrible start to the season. Madison Bumgarner and Barry Zito both look like they're going to have career years. Matt Cain is consistent as ever. I haven't seen enough of Vogelsong to get a feel for how he's doing. And then there's Lincecum...

...who's been terrible.

As I've said many times, most notably in my post comparing Lincecum with Cain right after Cain's contract extension, I don't think Lincecum will be in the majors for much longer. He is too erratic and his delivery is too fragile to sustain an entire 162-game MLB season. And to me, he really looks like he's on the decline. Apart from that one game against the Padres, Lincecum has not had a start longer than 6.0 innings and has an ERA of 5.68. That is terrible by any standards, let alone for a pitcher who is supposed to be the ace of his staff.

Lincecum is just going to have to work on his pitching, simply put. His stuff is not bad. Velocity is decent and movement is as good as always. It's his control that's been lacking. If he fixes that one facet of his pitching, he should be fine.

I don't pretend to be an expert on pitching mechanics, but any casual fan can see that the ball does not go where Buster Posey's glove is set. And this is a major problem.

I have no doubt that Lincecum will be able to figure it out. But he has to do it soon. The Giants are on the decline, and apart from Hector Sanchez's walkoff single today, have been poor in the clutch. As always, it's the role of the pitching staff to lead this club in times of trouble. And it's up to the ace to lead the staff.

So, step it up Timmy. Please.

It could very well dictate this season.

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