Somewhat routine outing for Lincecum


It took me darn near three hours to access the Giants/Rangers game on after a late Easter brunch.  Neither two customer service guys or I could figure out the problem -- but finally it just went away.

Which finally allowed me to watch the game, which showed primarily a continuation of the good things Lincecum has been doing this spring and resulted in a very solid, although not dominating, outing in which only two of the seven hits he yielded was hit hard.

Once of them, a two-run homer by Ben Broussard in the second, was REALLY hit hard.  When Tim leaves his fastball up in the zone -- especially against lefthanded power hitters -- they can sometimes hit it a long way.  And Broussard certainly did, easily clearing a high center field fence.

Interesting, by my count (and with no speed gun I could misname a pitch here or there) all but one of the hits off Tim came on such fastballs -- up, but not over the hands.  The only hit on an offspeed pitch as far as I could tell was a bloop single to left.

Tim continued to start most batters off with strikes, throwing first-pitch strikes to 16 of the 25 batters he faced.  While that was down a bit from his other starts that I have logged, it was still nearly 10% higher than the paltry 55% he recorded last season.  Incidentally, the Broussard homer came after a first-pitch ball


Tim also continued his trend of lots of ground balls and strikeouts.  He fanned seven in his six innings (96 pitches, 59 strikes), two by fastball, three on his curve and two with his change up.  Three were called; four were swinging.

He also recorded nine of his other 11 outs by ground ball, with one coming on a fly ball and another on a line drive.  The seven hits came on four ground balls, one line drive and two fly balls, one of them (Broussard) hit -- very -- hard.

So Tim's spring remains marked by lots of strikeouts, ground balls and hits -- mostly singles not hit hard.  He is still striking out more than a batter per inning, even if we don't include his minor league start in which he fanned eight in five innings.  He has yielded only the one home run.  His walks have been improving.  His strike percentage -- especially on first pitches -- is up.

The only real problems Tim has had this spring have been a somewhat shaky defense and a BABIP against of right around .400 (and actually slightly above it, I believe).  Most of the hits Tim has yielded have been up the middle or toward the lines.  He hasn't given up much in the alleys.  I know I was (somewhat rightly) criticized here for saying the Giants fielders should mostly cheat the middle and the lines (which would open up some L-A-R-G-E holes), but those are the directions most batters hit against Tim.

They have a hard time pulling his fastball, although lefty hitters often hit his curve down the first-base line.  A very high percentage of hits against Tim go up the middle.  Even most of the homers he yields (and particularly the hardest-hit ones) tend to be close to center field.

Tim's pitching splits haven't really differed much between lefty hitters and righthanders.  Righty hitters actually hit for the higher average, but lefties walk more and hit for more power against Tim.

For some, this was probably pretty boring.  But I do know a few of you are interested in learning how one of the young pitchers with seemingly a very high potential accomplishes his task.