Lincecum: 'It's competitive side of me that will get me through'


Lincecum: 'It's competitive side of me that will get me through'

DENVER Tim Lincecum was more than 30 pitches deep into thefirst inning, Shane Loux began marking up a bullpen mound and Giants managerBruce Bochy tried to fight back a very bad feeling.

We had to get somebody up, Bochy said. It was hot outthere. It was getting to a point where wed have to go get him. We had to takecare of him.

The last time Lincecum pitched here at Coors Field, helasted just 2 13 innings the shortest start of his career. This one wasthreatening to be even shorter.

But then Lincecum got ahead of Wilin Rosario with the basesloaded. He kept throwing fastballs. Rosario fouled off a pair with two strikes.Lincecum came back with another, and Rosario hit a harmless fly out to rightfield.

Lincecum drew the battle line. He did not let the Rockiescross it again, gutting through six innings as the Giants completed their firstroad sweep of the season with an 8-3 victory at Coors Field on Sunday.
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More than any velocity or any mechanical issues, its thatcompetitive streak that Lincecum was missing in the first half when the Giantswere 4-14 in his starts. Its been the difference as the Giants have gone 4-1in his outings since the All-Star break.

Im just trying to stay competitive, Lincecum said.Thats the biggest thing. When its on the line and I dont have crap, itsthe competitive side of me that will get me through.

It always has. Lincecum recognized early that his changeupwas acting as a cutter in the dry air, so he went to his curveball and abackdoor slider to set up his fastball. He wasnt dominant, walking five andstriking out just three just the sixth start in his career when he had morefree passes than tickets punched.

But he found a way to adjust, as Ryan Vogelsong and MadisonBumgarner had done the previous two games.

I dont think anything is different, Lincecum said. Imnot throwing any harder, obviously, or throwing a new pitch. Im just having moreconviction with what I throw.

I remember youd refer to me as a stopper. Im just tryingto get back that edge. Today wasnt a stopper situation, but youve got toapproach it like that."

Lincecum had one win and a 9.00 ERA in his first 10 road starts. He's 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in his last two road outings, both in hitter's yards (Philadelphia and Colorado).

He helped pitch the Giants to their first road sweep of the season; it was their 13th opportunity to complete a three-game sweep in 2012, but just the fourth time they achieved it.

I just wanted to dig deep," Lincecum said. "I knew this was a big game forus. We wanted this sweep. Were a half-game up and we wanted to just keepputting the foot to the pedal.

The Giants certainly did that while outscoring the pitching-poor Rockies 35-12 in the three-game series. Theyalso went 20 for 52 (.385) with runners in scoring position over the threegames.

But it was a tightgame for most of Lincecums six innings, and he benefited from a bit of luck,too. Two innings ended with lineouts. Another ended on a double play when leftfielder Melky Cabrera caught a fly ball and threw a strike to the plate tothrow out Rosario trying to score.

Lincecum had so muchbad luck to go along with bad body language in the first half. Now he seems tohave his fighting spirit back, and his teammates seem inspired to fight alittle harder for him, too. Lincecum gave Hector Sanchez a hearty pat on theback after the catcher blocked the plate as he received Cabreras throw.

I wasdefinitely pumped up, Lincecum said. I knew I gave him a pretty good beatingback there and he kept trucking along. Youve got to give him a hand there.

Said Sanchez: I tried to block the plate. Thats what everycatcher tries to do. Its a perfect throw. Its a big guy. But thats my job.

Its in Lincecums job description to be an ace. Perhaps itsnot too late.

'The Kid' Arroyo continues wildly impressive first week with Giants

'The Kid' Arroyo continues wildly impressive first week with Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — In a quiet moment in the dugout Friday, manager Bruce Bochy tried to figure out a nickname for his new budding star. During a week where Christian Arroyo has made the game look so easy, this has turned out to be the most difficult part. 

Bochy briefly settled on “Yo” before that was scuttled because the team’s video coordinator is Yo Miyamoto. Joe Panik said some players have tried C.A. or YoYo, but admitted that neither is all that good. The team’s Twitter account spent a few days trying to make Boss Baby a thing, but Arroyo wasn’t thrilled with that one and the experiment appears to be over. In a back room of the clubhouse, there’s a printout showing Arroyo and Buzz from “Home Alone,” but that comparison is much better made with Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman. 

Perhaps the answer is as simple as the path Arroyo’s bat takes to a fastball. As he watched Arroyo field grounders during batting practice, Dick Tidrow was asked about the 21-year-old. Tidrow, the team’s senior VP of player personnel, has seen and worked with Arroyo since he was drafted. 

“We always just called him The Kid,” Tidrow said. “He would turn around when I called him Kid.”

The Kid is growing up quickly. Arroyo’s second homer of the week was the game-winner Friday, an eighth-inning blast that put a lead in Mark Melancon’s hands. The new closer made sure the new third baseman’s homer didn’t go to waste, clinching a 4-3 win that got the Giants out of the National League West’s cellar. 

The homer might have surprised Arroyo as much as anyone. He came here with a reputation as a mature and talented hitter, but power is not his calling card. 

“I’m not trying to hit a homer there,” he said. “Get the head out, see a pitch over the plate, barrel something, just keep the line moving. I got a good pitch, elevated it, and fortunately it went out.”

Arroyo already speaks like a hitting coach, but he is not afraid to admit that there are things he doesn’t know. It’s easy to get film on opposing starters, but there’s little a rookie can do to prepare for late-inning pitching changes. Arroyo consulted Buster Posey and Conor Gillaspie before facing Ryan Buchter, who has been in the division for two years. Gillaspie told him Buchter’s fastball has some late life and gets on a hitter. 

“I wanted to see it and the first pitch was a little low so I got a good read on them,” Arroyo said. 

The second one was right at the belt and Arroyo pulled it down the line for his second big league homer. He had just three last year in Double-A, but the Giants felt the 36 doubles showed that power was on the way. 

“He’s got pop,” Bochy said. “He’s not a guy trying to hit homers. He tries to put a good swing on it. But he drives balls and you saw it tonight. We see him more as a gap guy, but he’ll get more power as he gets older. We’re not asking him to hit homers, trust me, but it’s good to see him letting it go.”

The homer secured a win on a night when a lot went right. Jeff Samardzija was sharp, paying for one pitch to Ryan Schimpf that left the park but otherwise pitching seven strong. Panik and Brandon Belt ignited the offense early and Michael Morse came through with a game-tying sacrifice fly in the fifth. Derek Law and Mark Melancon closed it out, with Melancon getting help from Panik, who made a spectacular tumbling catch on a flare to shallow right-center. It was a big first out given that Melancon was pitching for the third straight day. 

“It was going to be in no man’s land,” Panik said. “You give it everything you’ve got. Fortunately the ball stayed in the glove.”

When it was over, the youngest Giant was in for another round of interviews to cap a hectic week. On Monday he made his debut and on Tuesday he picked up his first hit. Wednesday brought the first homer and Thursday was the first multi-hit game. What will the weekend include? Maybe a real nickname? 

For now, the Giants are fine with leaning on The Kid, because many of them didn’t even know how young the star of the week was until he was a couple of days into his big league career.

“I was thinking he was 23 or 24,” Samardzija said. “This has been really impressive.”

Instant Replay: Arroyo's late-game heroics lifts Giants past Padres

Instant Replay: Arroyo's late-game heroics lifts Giants past Padres


SAN FRANCISCO — On Monday, Christian Arroyo made his MLB debut. Tuesday brought his first hit and on Wednesday it was the first homer. Thursday’s game was his first multi-hit game as a big leaguer. What was in store Friday? The best swing yet.

Arroyo hit a go-ahead shot to left while leading off the eighth, giving the Giants a 4-3 win in their series opener with the Padres. The player coaches simply call “The Kid” has two homers in his first five games, and both have come in huge spots. Friday’s sent another jolt through AT&T Park and got a lead to Mark Melancon, who closed out the Padres. 

For four innings, a long-haired right-hander was no-hitting the Padres. Jeff Samardzija was sharp early and he got a nice cushion in the first. Joe Panik and Brandon Belt led off with singles and Panik scored on Erick Aybar’s two-out error. A Conor Gillaspie knock made it 2-0. 

The first hit allowed by Samardzija was a painful one. He plunked Yangervis Solarte to open the fifth and Ryan Schimpf hit a long dinger to dead center to tie the game. Cory Spangenberg followed with a single to left that skipped under Belt’s glove. Spangenberg went to third on the play and scored on a bloop. 

Belt made up for the play in the bottom of the inning, beating the outfield shift with a double and scoring on Mike Morse’s sacrifice fly to right two batters later. Samardzija ran into trouble in the seventh, but with two in scoring position and one out, he got a strikeout and a grounder to third. The Giants put the go-ahead run on second in their half, but Hunter Pence and Morse struck out. 

Starting pitching report: Samardzija has allowed six homers. He’s tied for fourth in the NL with a handful of players, including Johnny Cueto and Matt Moore. 

Bullpen report: Melancon has five straight saves since blowing his first opportunity as a Giant. 

At the plate: Belt reached base four times. His on-base percentage is sitting at a cool .390. 

In the field: Panik made a brilliant diving catch in center for the first out of the ninth. 

Attendance: The Giants announced a sellout crowd. One of the fans looked just like Samardzija, possibly on purpose. 

Up next: Matt Cain has a 2.42 ERA but he left his last start with a tight hamstring. He’ll face Jhoulys Chacin (2-3, 5.90).