Giants

Bochy changes tone, introduces Lincecum's leash

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Bochy changes tone, introduces Lincecum's leash

Less than a week ago, Bruce Bochy was asked if Tim Lincecum's Saturday start against the Houston Astros was in jeopardy.

No, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. No chance. Well throw him back out there.

Fast forward to Thursday, and while the plan is still for Lincecum to start Saturday, Bochy's message had a decidedly different tone.

Told that general manager Brian Sabean said on the radio that Lincecum's next start would likely be skipped if he turns in another lackluster performance in his second-half opener against the Astros on Saturday, Bochy confirmed the statement.

"Yeah," Bochy acknowledged. "I don't want to put added pressure on him, but sometimes you have to do what's right."

Lincecum closed the unofficial first half of the season with a stinker. His 3 13-inning, six-run meltdown against the Pirates last Sunday made Lincecum -- at 3-10 -- the Giants' first double-digit loser at the break since Barry Zito in 2008.

It also raised his season ERA to 6.42, which is the highest among all 101 qualifying major league starters.

Based on his comments after his most recent loss, it's clear Lincecum is not comfortable. "Its been terrible and its a terrible feeling youre letting your team down. Thats the hardest thing.

"But it seems everybody else is doing their job and were playing good ball. To be the weaker link ... it wears on you."

His manager, while acknowledging that the team is fitting their right-hander with a collar and leash, has not lost faith.

"I said this in Pittsburgh, I think Timmy's going to bounce back and have a better second half," Bochy said. "We certainly need him."

Over his first six seasons, the first and second half haven't been too different for the two-time Cy Young Award winner. He owns a 44-27 mark and 3.50 ERA in the first half, and a 28-24 record and 2.94 ERA in the second half.

"Hopefully he'll go out there and throw the ball the way can," Bochy said. "I look forward to seeing him pitch Saturday."

The entire baseball world does.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants drop finale in Miami

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AP

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as Giants drop finale in Miami

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — The flight from Miami to San Francisco is one of the longest in the league. It will not be a happy one.

The Giants fell behind early and never recovered, losing 8-1 in the series finale with the Marlins. The Giants had won six of nine entering the road trip. They dropped a series in Washington D.C. and then lost two of three to the Marlins. 

You are here already, so here are five things to know … 

—- Matt Cain deserved better in the first, and it was kind of a stunning error that cost him. With two outs, Brandon Crawford dropped a liner that was hit right at him. The next batter, Tomas Telis, hit a two-run double. 

—- Cain was charged with five runs in four innings, but only two of them were earned. He struck out seven and walked just one, showing a good curveball throughout. Several times, he dropped down for a new look. Like I said, he deserved a bit better than that final line. 

—- Pablo Sandoval’s walk in the eighth was his first since returning to the Giants. His numbers, by the way, are right in line with his Boston numbers. 

—- Albert Suarez has seen his stuff take a tick up during this stint with the Giants, but it’s not leading to results. After giving up a walk-off grand slam on Sunday, he allowed three runs in 2 2/3 innings in relief of Cain. Suarez currently has a 7.43 ERA. 

—- Giancarlo Stanton was 2 for 4 with two singles. His run of six games with a homer came to an end. I suppose that’s a small victory for the Giants?

Giancarlo Stanton to Giants? Upside vs downside from Marlins perspective

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USATI

Giancarlo Stanton to Giants? Upside vs downside from Marlins perspective

Because we are too cool to allow the games to sustain us and because we all think the purpose of sports is actually not to be the best player but the general manager, the new item on the baseball menu is not the pennant races but “Where should Giancarlo Stanton go?”

The usual suspects are listed – the Yankees, the Giants, the Chunichi Dragons, Real Madrid – and the $295 million still on his contract is not considered an impediment.

But the logic behind the Marlins keeping him is just as clear and more pressing. Namely, Bruce Sherman, the incoming owner, and Derek Jeter, the designated face, did not buy this team and promptly try to make themselves detested by the few people who still care about it.

So far, we know that the monstrous thing in center field (no, not Christian Yelich) is likely to be torn down, and that Stanton is don’t-go-to-the-bathroom-during-his-half-inning entertainment. Beyond that, we know only that the Marlins draw when they win a lot and barely at all the rest of the time. They are clearly a distant third in a four-team race with the Dolphins and Heat for people’s hearts, and now that hating Jeffrey Loria’s living guts are off the table for the fans, there really is no there, there.

So what’s the up-side of moving Stanton (and before we go any further, the Giants don’t have nearly enough assets to make that work, so calm the hell down) for the Marlins? Prospects, the dark hole that makes a three-year plan a six-year plan.

And the down-side? Sherman may as well move the team for the level of fun he’ll get from it, and the only reason to buy a team looking at a $60 million loss is for the fun. Besides, onlky a very few owners have ever made the full turn from villain to hero – the first impression almost always lasts forever.

So while Stanton may create immediate wallet relief for this aggressively average team (their current record of 57-61 is the 12th best in their 25-year history, and they’ve only had eight winning seasons ever), they also have nothing to sell the fans that they have to live with every day. And if they don’t have enough fans . . . well, I hear San Jose is always hot for a mediocre franchise that lurches between spending money and hoarding it.