Lincecum: 'It makes it that much further of a fall'


Lincecum: 'It makes it that much further of a fall'


ST. LOUIS All the usual assurances and bits of sage advicedid not apply to Tim Lincecum.

Be yourself. Stay within yourself. Just do what yourecapable of doing.

But what happens when your best effort no longer fills thecoal car? What happens when you must pitch to a standard you can no longerbear? What happens when Tim Lincecum can no longer be Tim Lincecum?

Well, maybe what happens is a silent clubhouse, a hollowstomach and a stare straight off into the distance after the Giants lost 8-3 tothe St. Louis Cardinals Thursday night to fall behind three games to one in theNLCS.

Standards and pennants. The Giants must reach ever higher tograsp them now.

RATTO: Giants a little bit short of everything

Its extremely disappointing, said Lincecum, after pullinga knit cap down to his eyes. Because you feel within yourself that you canpick the team up in a situation like this. But when you dont go and do it, itmakes it that much further of a fall, I guess.

A terrible, terrifying fall.

The last time Lincecum started a postseasongame before Thursday, his teammates literally lifted him on their shoulders as they smudged agleaming World Series trophy with their fingers. He was and remains the only San Francisco Giants pitcher in the franchise's five-plus decades to own a victory in a World Series clincher.

Those Giants pitched their way through three postseason series,scoring just enough and using pluck and rowdy luck (and beards and thongs andeven a masked mystery man known as The Machine) to stand alone at the end.

They do not hold title to that kind of pitching now. MadisonBumgarner began running low on diesel a month ago, and the Lincecum thatdiscovered himself in September, 2010, never did resurface this season.

His miserable August that year was contained to one month.This year, it spread like a rash, and it never really went away.

Even the good starts in the second half only led toheightened expectations that, for reasons that he will dissect in the weeks andmonths to come, could not be met.

Thats obviously been the hardest part because Ive shownflashes of what I can do or what I think I should be doing, he said. Sothats the frustrating part.

When you come down to it, its not about what Ive done. Youknow, Ive got to figure out a way to do it differently now and get my outs. SoI think thats the frustrating part because Ive always been able to transitionon the run and not necessarily worry about that. So for me not to make thatadjustment, I guess, on the run its hard.

Lincecum will have to find a new identity as the raindropstrack down the windows of his Seattle condo. He might try a new grip on hischangeup, which was once the most lethal pitch in baseball. Maybe a differentworkout regimen can help him gain some of his lost velocity.

Maybe hell return to those three double-cheeseburgerlunches, followed by an afternoon nap, and pitch a little closer to his weightin 2011.

You might call it soul searching. But Lincecum has to findsomething much more practical than that. Hes under contract next season for22 million. Then comes free agency, and uncertainty.

I think that will be something Ill do in the offseason onmy own, he said. I cant really say right now what Ill do differently. Rightnow Im obviously upset at myself for the game today. But tomorrows a newday.

As for his day at Busch Stadium, it was more of what theGiants have seen from Lincecum all season. He struggled to put the ball wherehe wanted, he struggled to repeat his delivery and he struggled to put awayhitters in key spots.

In the first inning, his direction to the mound was allwrong as the Cardinals took a 2-0 lead within the first four batters. Pitchingcoach Dave Righetti made the first of his three mound visits.

He was cutting himself off there a little bit, Giantsmanager Bruce Bochy said. Hes done a great job for us. He gave us all he hadout there.

The Giants had to turn to Lincecum in this game. They had to go with hope. They couldn't feed Bumgarner and Zito to the Cardinals, who chew up left-handed pitchers.

And Lincecum, for all his laboring, almost gave them enough to exit a one-run game. Bochy saidhe wouldnt have asked Lincecum, who was pitching on three days of restfollowing his two-inning relief appearance in Game 1, to go further than thefifth.

But Matt Carpenter doubled off the center field wall and the Giants couldnt takeadvantage of center fielder Angel Pagans tremendous cutoff of Matt Hollidayssingle in right-center. Shortstop Brandon Crawford skipped his throw to theplate, and although Carpenter wasnt yet bearing down, catcher Hector Sanchezcouldnt handle the hop.

Carpenter scored to make it 3-1, and then Lincecum couldnt putaway Yadier Molina with two outs. A couple of two-strike fouls preceded asingle up the middle that scored another run, and ended the right-handersnight.

And, maybe, the most challenging season of his life.

You know, I think it just shows hes human, left-handerJeremy Affeldt said. For several years there, the kid I mean, Ive neverseen anything like it. He still has the stuff. Its just tonight, it wasnt hisnight.

Everybody needs to remember hes a human being. What Istill see is a talented pitcher whos done a lot of great things in his career,and he shouldnt be ashamed of what hes done at all. We all felt we had asmuch of a chance with him today as any.

Theres no regrets. He went out and gave it his all, and wesee that.

He gave what he could, and what he had.

Im always excited to go out there every chance I get,Lincecum said. Thats what were here for. We want to pitch and compete andthats great.

But I didnt do my job.

Regulars in lineup continue to scuffle, Giants end up with series split

Regulars in lineup continue to scuffle, Giants end up with series split

SAN FRANCISCO — The momentum generated by Christian Arroyo and Michael Morse late Wednesday night lasted just a few hours. By the end of this four-game series, the Giants were left with a harsh reality: Even with two injections of new blood, they are not hitting. 

Arroyo drove in another run Thursday, but that was it for a lineup that couldn’t support Matt Moore’s effort. The bullpen, which had kept Bruce Bochy’s guys in close games all series, finally broke in the 10th. The Dodgers walked away with a 5-1 win and a split of a series that was rather uninspiring for both sides. 

After scoring 10 runs on the last road trip, the Giants scored just eight during the four games against the Dodgers. Three of those RBI came from Arroyo, called up Monday. A fourth came from Morse, called up Wednesday.

“We’ve got to get this offense going,” Bochy said. “It’s a better offense than what we’re doing right now. You need to find a way to put a few runs on the board. We had our chances, we just couldn’t find ways to get the big hit.”

With Denard Span out for at least another week, Bochy moved Hunter Pence to the top of the lineup. His temporary No. 3 hitter against lefties, Eduardo Nuñez, has one hit in his last 20 at-bats. Buster Posey, the cleanup hitter, is batting .357, but he has driven in just three runs this month. With two on and one out in the eighth, he bounced into a double play. The production closer to the bottom of the order has been nonexistent, leading to constant shuffling that has moved Nuñez and Belt to left at times. Bochy said the staff will continue to search of a lineup that works. 

“You talk about it and do thing to adjust, and it will get better, but right now we’ve got some guys who aren’t swinging the bat well, to be honest,” he said. “You look at the order and we don’t have a lot of guys swinging well.”

The list does not include Arroyo, the rookie who will eventually have to deal with adjustments from pitchers. It doesn’t appear that’ll be a problem. Arroyo has been making adjustments from at-bat to at-bat. He did so against Sergio Romo for his first career homer and said he learned about the depth of Julio Urias’ curveball during their first two battles Thursday. In the sixth, the 21-year-old Arroyo drove in the game-tying run against the 20-year-old Urias. The lefty had walked Posey to face Arroyo, who singled up the middle. 

“He handles himself so well,” Bochy said. “They walked Buster and he smokes the ball. This kid has shown he’s not in awe. The upper deck, the bright lights, he comes to play.”

Arroyo’s effort briefly backed Moore, who was sharp in seven innings. Moore struck out eight, six of them looking, but he didn’t get much help and the bullpen fell apart in the 10th with a series of walks.

Bochy challenged his starters on Saturday at Coors Field and they responded with a strong series back home. The bullpen was tested during the first week but — Thursday’s result aside — it has settled down. The Giants are not as worried about their pitching as they were as they flew back from Denver. They know, however, that this team is going nowhere if two runs per game continues to be the nightly output. 

“We’ll tweak it again,” Bochy said of his lineup. “We'll see if we can get this thing right.”

Instant Replay: Moore tosses gem, but Giants lose to Dodgers in extras

Instant Replay: Moore tosses gem, but Giants lose to Dodgers in extras


SAN FRANCISCO — Quietly over the past couple of weeks, Bruce Bochy’s bullpen had started to settle. Bochy praised the group before Thursday’s game, noting that roles were being defined by pitchers who entered the series finale with the Dodgers with a 0.94 collective ERA this season. That changed in the 10th inning Thursday.

Three relievers combined to give up four runs on four walks and three singles. The implosion ended with a 5-1 loss to the Dodgers and a split of this four-game series. 

For most of the game, this was a day when youth shined. Corey Seager celebrated his 23rd birthday with a solo homer in the first on a two-strike pitch from Matt Moore that caught the heart of the plate. The Giants will be dealing with Seager for years, and if all goes according to plan, there will be years of Julio Urias vs. Christian Arroyo battles, too. 

The 21-year-old third baseman won the first matchup, lining a single to center. Arroyo flew out in his second at-bat against the 20-year-old Urias, but they faced off a third time in a big spot. Brandon Belt drew a one-out walk in the sixth and went to third when a pickoff throw skipped down the line. After an intentional walk of Buster Posey, Arroyo lined another one back up the middle. Urias stuck his glove up but it ticked off and into center for a game-tying single. 

Arroyo ended the young lefty’s day. Moore was done after seven sparkling innings. He struck out eight, six of them looking. 

The game went to extras, and Cory Gearrin walked pinch-hitter Adrian Gonzalez to lead off the 10th. Chase Utley was called up to bunt but he couldn’t get it down. Instead, he hit an infield single off Steven Okert that stayed true to the third-base line. After a walk of Yasmani Grandal, the third straight pinch-hitter, Andrew Toles lined a single to center to give the Dodgers a lead and the wheels soon came off. 

Utley alertly tagged up and scored on a pop-up to foul territory. Justin Turner’s single extended the lead to three and Hunter Strickland’s four-pitch walk of Chris Taylor pushed another across. 

Starting pitching report: Moore gave up 19 hits and 11 earned runs in his two previous starts, but the Dodgers had just two hits, the Seager homer and a Chris Taylor single. Taylor reached third with one out, but Moore got Scott Van Slyke and Cody Bellinger to go down looking. 

Bullpen report: Mark Melancon came on in a non-save situation for a second straight day and pitched a scoreless ninth. 

At the plate: Buster Posey’s hitting streak ended at 12 games. He twice bounced into double plays.

In the field: Posey chased a high pop-up down the right field line in the fourth, but he was going to come up short. Kelby Tomlinson came out of nowhere with the helping hand, making a running catch near the visiting bullpen. Posey smiled and shook his head as Tomlinson whipped the ball back to the infield. 

Attendance: The Giants said they sold out a 500th consecutive game.

Up next: The Giants have a three-city road trip coming up, so it’s time to take advantage of a weekend at home against the Padres. Jeff Samardzija and Luis Perdomo get the opener.