Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Lincecum situation has been mismanaged badly

I'm no pitching coach, everyone knows that. I'm not a psychotherapist or oracle. I, like you, am nothing more than an educated observer with a passion.

It doesn't take much observation or baseball know-how to determine that Tim Lincecum hasn't been the same pitcher in 2010 that he was in his Cy Young seasons of '08 and '09. That was evident early on this season. Increased walks, decreased velocity, and too many home runs allowed have told the tale so far.

As for Sunday's 8-2 debacle against San Diego in which Lincecum allowed 6 runs (5 earned), all I could think was, "I told you so."

And I may have advocated several days ago that this start against San Diego should've been skipped, and I was right. But the fact remains that everyone from Andy Baggarly and Mychael Urban to 22Gigantes and myself have advocated for Lincecum intervention... for weeks, if not a couple months.

Has it happened? No. Nothing.

Dave Righetti and Mark Gardner have next to no influence and power over Lincecum. Ditto for Bruce Bochy. They let Lincecum's quirky delivery and off-center habits run their course, because they were having a TON of success. Who were they to intervene? If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That's what I say... and that's what they said too.

Well, now it's broke and no one has any idea how to fix it...

...except for Tim's father Chris.

Everyone who knows anything about Lincecum knows the story. The over-extension, the picking the dollar bills up off the dirt on his follow through. Dave Righetti and Mark Gardner don't know squat about Lincecum's problems, and that's not neccessarily any surprise or total fault of their own. No one's seen anything like it before. All they have is a front row seat to the Freak Show, relying on past film and a steady diet of observations.

Much of the adversity faced by the Giants this season has stemmed from inactivity, complacency, and a slow-as-molasses-in-wintertime approach to making changes. This was the case with the Rowand-Torres mess early on as well as the mistake to call up Buster Posey about a month too late.

With the season and the playoffs on the line, it is now too late to skip one of Lincecum's starts. This was the time to do it, and they carted him out there anyway. The guy is changing his windup and mechanics on his own-- on a game to game basis! That right there should sound like tires screeching to Bruce Bochy and company. It's like, "HELLO! RED FLAG STARING YOU IN THE FACE!"

Chris Lincecum should've been called in as a paid consultant weeks ago, if not months. If both Timmy and Giants management are too proud to bring his broken down ass into Chris's repair shop of miracles, at bare minimum, Timmy should've had a start skipped while he tinkered with his motion so radically in the middle of the season.

The same argument could be made for Pablo Sandoval's struggles and how coaching this year seemed not to make a difference with the stubborn and hyper young Panda. There was no time off to work on problems-- no diciplinary or motivational tactics to get him into gear.

Sandoval, like Lincecum, is an extrodinarily unorthodox and unique player. He does very few things by the book and has a personality to match. Like Lincecum's mechanics, Pablo's personality is an obstacle that was not dealt with properly. Luckily for the Giants coaching staff, Pablo is perhaps exiting the filthy quagmire he called his 2010 sophomore campaign on his own.

The bottom line is that Tim needs to suck up his pride, which has to be quickly evaporating, the Giants coaching staff needs to intervene forcefully and immediately, and both sides need to admit that they have no clue how to fix our broken down superstar.

August 15th, in the midst of a tight playoff race is no time for foolish pride, or a general cluelessness as to how to fix our best player. If the status quo regarding Lincecum continues, you can count on watching 4 teams not from San Francisco representing the NL in the 2010 playoffs.
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  1. I couldn't even finish the game today.

    It's like a bad train wreck...

    Is it just me or did someone get a raise and then their pitching seemed to get flushed down the drain?

  2. I like a lot of what you are saying here. But if they skipped his start, it would tell the entire baseball world that there's something wrong with him, and Bochy's too old school to tip his hand to anyone.

    I wrote something similarly last week about how they should call up Tim's father, but they handle him very carefully. They don't want to upset him and have steered clear of any of that. If Tim doesn't want his dad involved, what else can they do? Skipping today would've waved a white flag to the rest of the NL and some of the Giants' swagger would've been gone. Tim's a Cy Young winner who struggles, not a young rookie, or a 5th starter who is struggling.

    If you force him to not take the ball, you take a lot of sails out of the team. He's the single most important player on the team and if he doesn't go out there, it's officially panic time. They want to avoid that.

  3. It is a well known fact in all of baseball that Lincecum isn't right. Skip the start. We are raising the white flag by running his ass out there every fifth day when he can't get past the 5th inning due to runs scored, bases on balls and/or pitch count. Send him to Fresno since he has options and have his dad meet him down there.

  4. gosh darn it, i know this is off the subject of our man lincecum, but it must be said somewhere! kruk and kuipe must have been told not to badmouth our higher paid players, and for this year Zito is off the hook. I speak of the 13.5mil salary for the often-worthless aaron rowand. In my opinion, and i watched the 1st game of the padres' series, rowand gave up a run by allowing headley a triple instead of a double by falling down on the warning track on a one-bouncer. Next inning he inexplicably runs off of 2nd base and is caught in a rundown with ONE out. His effort in the outfield years past was commendable, however, Torres belongs in center field. Rowand with his TEN hr's (aug. 15th) and his limited range has been a burden to the team. Most of the Giant pitchers are fly-ball out hurlers and Ol' aaron ain't what he used to be. Nuff' said. Now , how about the newly acquired Guillen's awesome basepath speed? See him run slower than benji molina legging out his attempted triple? When he was thrown out, I wondered why we traded for him if he obviously cannot run. Pathetic attempt to add pop to the lineup so far...

  5. I saw this coming from the very beggining of the season. Pitchers cannot continue to pitch in tight games. They must pitch comfortably with a favorable high score on their favor from time to time. This is specially true at the end of the season when they start to get tired and the batters start to catch up on them and their timing. unfortunately management did not do their work in the off season. Now the frailty of the "Freak" is showing up.

  6. As soon as they found out he was smoking pot they should have intervened - heavy discipline, sit him down, maybe send him down. Take it from an old hippie - pot will suck the motivation and the common sense out of you like a dog suckin' an egg...