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SAN FRANCISCO – Buster Posey’s first day off of the season comes on Tim Lincecum’s day to pitch.
In other news, garlic fries make your breath smell like garlic. And there is water under the Golden Gate Bridge.
Putting aside the jokes for a minute -- and the controversy, too – it’s no surprise that Giants manager Bruce Bochy is pairing Hector Sanchez with Lincecum for Tuesday night’s game against the Colorado Rockies.
Bochy telegraphed this move a few days ago. He was going to give Posey a rest either Tuesday night or Wednesday afternoon, as catchers often do when a night game is followed by a day game. The Rockies have a right-hander, Juan Nicasio, on the mound Tuesday and a lefty, Jeff Francis, on Wednesday.
In case anyone had forgotten, Posey led the majors with a .433 average against lefties last season.
"I knew I'd be getting this question," said Bochy, saying he preferred for Posey to start against the left-hander Wednesday.
Bochy was asked: If Lincecum begins to get results with Sanchez, would be consider making Sanchez his designated catcher?
"Well, I could," Bochy said. "That's always an option."
Bochy added the obvious: It's better to pair your backup catcher with the same starting pitcher, both for the comfort level of the catcher and the pitcher. But Bochy made it clear he wouldn't want to get in a situation where he had to sit Posey or first baseman Brandon Belt just because it was Lincecum's day to pitch and Sanchez had to catch him.
All that aside, the real issue isn’t whether Lincecum doesn’t like throwing to Posey. (Timmy has said many times there’s no truth to that, though many choose not to believe him.)
The real issue is whether Hector Sanchez will be up to the task of catching a pitcher who often struggles to find his rhythm on the mound. Anyone who watched Lincecum’s start at Dodger Stadium last Wednesday had to be alarmed by Sanchez’s struggles behind the plate. He wasn’t framing strikes, he had a passed ball and his receiving skills in general looked rough.
Sanchez missed a lot of time this spring with a sore shoulder, so he’s still in spring training, in a sense. But Lincecum will need all the support he can get while he finds a way to compete and win with the stuff he has, and a clean game from the catcher is part of that – no matter whom that catcher is.
Yes, backup Guillermo Quiroz is on the roster. Bochy doesn’t see him as a starter as much as late-inning insurance. But if Sanchez has another tough night handling Lincecum, it’ll be time to consider Quiroz – or deciding to give Posey a day off some other time.
One other note: Marco Scutaro is starting today, so we’re likely to see Joaquin Arias get the start at second base on Wednesday. UPDATE: Marco Scutaro told Bruce Bochy that he was feeling better at the plate, so he's going to start Tuesday and Wednesday. Bochy said he'd likely ait until Thursday to give Scutaro a day off -- not a bad idea considering temps will be in the 40s at Wrigley Field and Scutaro has dealt with back stiffness. Also, Bochy wants to get a start for Nick Noonan and he'd prefer it come against a right-hander.
San Francisco Giants
1. Angel Pagan (S) CF
2. Marco Scutaro (R) 2B
3. Pablo Sandoval (S) 3B
4. Hunter Pence (R) RF
5. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
6. Gregor Blanco (L) LF
7. Hector Sanchez (S) C
8. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
9. Tim Lincecum (L) P
1. Dexter Fowler (S) CF
2. Josh Rutledge (R) 2B
3. Carlos Gonzalez (L) LF
4. Troy Tulowitzki (R) SS
5. Michael Cuddyer (R) RF
6. Todd Helton (L) 1B
7. Wilin Rosario (R) C
8. Chris Nelson (R) 3B
9. Juan Nicasio (R) P