Suffocating heat in DC awaits Lincecum, Giants


Suffocating heat in DC awaits Lincecum, Giants

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Coverage of Giants-Nationals begins at 3:00 on CSN Bay Area, followed by Giants-Nationals at 3:35, and Giants Postgame Live immediately after the final out.

WASHINGTON DC -- Tim Lincecum finally broke his career-worst winless streak in his last outing. He owns a run of 12 consecutive scoreless innings. Hes having success again.

But now the heats really on.

Lincecum has two starts remaining before the All-Star break, including Tuesdays series opener in the steam bath known as Nationals Park.

It won't be just a bit balmy. Triple-digit temperatures and a vicious storm combined to knock out power to millions in the DC area; hotels are filled with people who are staying in the District, unable to stand the thought of going home to no air conditioning. The city kept libraries and community centers open over the weekend so residents could seek shelter.

The game time temperature at Nationals Park is expected to be 97 degrees.

Its been well documented that Lincecum struggles in the heat. He performed much better in hot weather last season, but thats when he was carrying an extra 25 pounds. Now back to his ultra-lean Cy Young fighting weight, it wont take long for his long hair to be stringy with sweat.

The Giants brought along Dr. Anthony Saglimbeni to administer IV fluids to players. Some, like Lincecum, will get fluids as a precaution before the game begins.

Staying hydrated is the biggest thing, Lincecum told me. Its not just drinking that day. It starts the day before.

Even for catcher Buster Posey, who grew up in the south Georgia humidity, three years of games at cool, breezy AT&T Park can make you soft.

I guess well see, said Posey, whos likely to yield to Hector Sanchez on Tuesday and catch Wednesdays odd 11 a.m. local start time. I grew up playing in that kind of heat all the way through college. Being out here (in the Bay Area) last three or four years, its different. You need to make sure youre hydrated and stay hydrated over the course of the game.

The Giants traveled to Washington after Sundays homestand finale so they could get acclimated to the time and heat. But their flight landed at 4 a.m. local time Monday.

Its weird to land at 4 a.m., Lincecum said. Its not like youre acclimated after a day."

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.

Evans: Giants still in 'search mode' for closer, but 'it's progressing'

Evans: Giants still in 'search mode' for closer, but 'it's progressing'

As the Winter Meetings get set to begin in Washington, D.C. on Monday, the Giants still haven't crossed off the top item on their offseason wish list.

The closer role remains vacant.

Names like Mark Melancon and Greg Holland have been linked to the Giants over the last few weeks, but nothing has materialized.

On Friday, GM Bobby Evans provided an update while speaking with ESPN's Buster Olney.

"There's been a lot of signings and a number of trades. In many ways, more done prior to the winter meetings than in the last couple of years. We still are in process, relative to trade options, relative to free agent options, to be clear who's pitching the ninth inning for us. So we feel we have the makings of a good bullpen, we just need to be clear who's pitching the ninth. And we'd like to solidify that through the trade market or free agent market. It's progressing. We're a month into this process, so we have a lot more information. But ultimately, until we have a closer, we're still in the search mode.

There's a nice balance between both. It's just that, they both have costs. Relative to a trade, sometimes you're giving up, in some cases, one or more of your top prospects and other prospects below that. In the way of free agency, it's obviously an expenditure for a certain number of years that is elavated more on the supply and demand side. That said, there are some middle tier late inning options as well that may not be as demanding as some of the bigger names. Again, it's a balance of options trying to measure all three."