Giants bash, Lincecum wins to improve NL West math


Giants bash, Lincecum wins to improve NL West math


DENVER There is plenty of math in baseball. Here are somefun numbers for Giants fans to contemplate:

If the Giants merely go 8-9 to finish the season, theDodgers must go 15-4 to tie them atop the NL West standings. Oh yeah: And theDodgers have a home series coming up with the wild-card jousting St. LouisCardinals, followed by a road trip with stops in division-leading Washington and Cincinnati.

Or if you prefer the neat and tidy version: The Giantsmagic number is 13.

They took one more step toward their second NL West title inthree seasons and their ninth since moving to San Francisco, beating theColorado Rockies 8-3 behind Tim Lincecum in yet another thumper at Coors FieldWednesday night.

Combined with the Dodgers third consecutive loss, theGiants stretched their NL West lead to seven games with 19 to play.

Trailing the Dodgers for most of the season, the Giants tookfirst place July 14. Since then, they are 8-0-1 in nine road series. AndLincecum, for all his trials this season, has won five consecutive road starts something hes never accomplished before in his career.

Lincecums key moment came in the sixth inning, with theGiants leading 5-3 and the Rockies threatening. Giants manager Bruce Bochy cameout from the dugout following Charlie Blackmons pinch double, but thedouble-time in his step told everyone that he wasnt going to ask for thebaseball.

He wanted to look his pitcher in the eye and make sure hesaw what he wanted to see.

Lincecum went slider-curve-fastball to strike out DexterFowler and complete a six-inning performance that lacked aesthetic appeal butfilled the bill.

I said, Youre the guy right now. Focus on your pitches,Bochy said. He made three great pitches there. I think he knew that was hislast hitter so he gave it his all.

Your starters are critical for you, believe me. Weve had acouple guys have their hiccups. Hes picked up his game and helped to pick usup.

Lincecum has a 3.33 ERA in the second half after a 6.42 ERA before the All-Star break. More to thepoint, the Giants are 10-6 in his last 16 starts after beginning the year 2-12in his first 14 assignments.

It feels good from a personal standpoint, Lincecum said.You want to get better as the year goes along. Ive completely eliminated myfirst half from my mindset. My second half has been a little better and knowingwhat were striving for, and what direction were going into, that motivationis a little deeper.

Is he ready to take the ball in the front three of a playoffrotation? Where would the Giants slot Lincecum, who carried them so far in2010?

Those are questions that do not require answers for a coupleweeks still. But Lincecum said he would be ready for the stage when it arrives.

Right now Im not pitching great, but Im getting out ofjams, which was a lot different than the first half, he said.

Hed also like to be more efficient. Lincecum has thrownmore than 100 pitches in each of his last three starts but hasnt made it intothe seventh inning. And there are those walks four more on Wednesday,including three in the first two innings.

Including his two previous starts, Lincecum became the firstGiants starting pitcher since John DAcquisto in 1976 to walk at least onebatter in 10 consecutive innings. Thats not a distinction he embraced, even ifonly two of those 11 walks came around to score.

Im messing with fire there, obviously, he said. It onlytakes one blooper to turn it into a big inning. Its a fine line, but it givesme confidence to know Im in a jam and can get out of it.

Now the Dodgers, for all their high-priced acquisitions, arein the thick of it. While they try to rattle off an improbable run against someof the top teams in the NL, the Giants will play their next 16 games againstthe Diamondbacks, Rockies and Padres.

Theres one way the West is being won: The Giants are 32-21against division opponents. The Dodgers are 28-35. Thats a nine-game swingbetween the clubs.

Dont expect Bochy to take it easy or start skippingstarters or playing reserves anytime soon, though. Heck, he used sevenrelievers to get nine outs at Coors Field. He even used Guillermo Mota, JavierLopez and Sergio Romo one batter at a time to get through the ninth, despite afive-run lead.

Is he being paid by the pitching change?

Well, I think we all know this ballpark, Bochy said. Youdont want a rally getting started because once it starts, its hard to stop.

Confidence works that way, too. The Giants are awash in it.

Ex-Giants 3B signs deal with Yomiuri Giants in Japan

Ex-Giants 3B signs deal with Yomiuri Giants in Japan

TOKYO — Former Detroit Tigers infielder Casey McGehee has agreed to a one-year deal with the Yomiuri Giants of Japan's Central League worth $1.7 million.

The Giants announced the signing on their official website on Sunday.

McGehee played in 30 games for the Tigers in 2016 posting a .228 batting average.

This will be McGehee's second stint in Japan. In 2013, he batted .292 with 28 home runs and 93 RBI while helping the Rakuten Eagles of the Pacific League win the Japan Series.

The 34-year-old can play either first or third base.

Evans: Giants want to give Parker, Williamson chance to play, but...

Evans: Giants want to give Parker, Williamson chance to play, but...

While the Giants aggressively pursue a new closer, they haven't been aggressive for a new left fielder.

Angel Pagan is a free agent and isn't likely to come back. That leaves talented, but unproven youngsters Mac Williams and Jarrett Parker.

And for GM Bobby Evans, who is always looking for ways to improve the roster, it appears he is content going into the 2017 with Williamson and Parker filling the void in left field.

"Our mindset has been to keep an open mind in any way we can improve the club offensively. But that said, I feel like we've got a starting lineup today that we don't have to adjust or improve upon. I'd always like to find ways to improve it. I think there are some big market options, but we've got two young guys that we want to get a good evaluation on, and you can't really do that until they get major league at-bats. That's Mac Williamson and Jarrett Parker and both of them are really in-waiting for an opportunity to get everyday playing time and show what they can do," Evans told ESPN's Buster Olney on Friday.

But Evans is keeping an open mind regarding acquiring a left fielder.

"That said, I also have to make sure that if we have an opportunity to improve or solidify our lineup in some way, I want to take advantage of it. But I can't lose sight of the benefit of developing our own guys and giving them a chance and not locking ourselves into keeping them from playing time in the next two to three years" Evans said.