Giants

Lincecum just wants to win

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Lincecum just wants to win

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DETROIT -- Aside from a few slips of the tongue, Tim Lincecum has been nearly perfect this postseason in his new role.

The Giants right-hander added yet another chapter of dominance out of the bullpen on Saturday night as he delivered 2 13 shutout innings in a 2-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers in Game 3 of the World Series.

BAGGS' INSTANT REPLAY: Giants one win away from World Series title

Lincecum followed 5 23 scoreless innings from starter Ryan Vogelsong with three strikeouts and limited the Tigers to a walk. In 13 innings as a reliever this postseason, Lincecum has a 0.69 ERA and 17 strikeouts while allowing only three hits and two walks.

If the two-time Cy Young Award winner harbors any disappointment after he was removed from the rotation before the World Series, it hasnt surfaced in his performance.

The Giants send Matt Cain to the mound in Game 4 at 5:07 p.m. on Sunday against Detroits Max Scherzer in search of their second World Series title in three seasons.

The second we got that ring, its like that taste for that next ring is just sitting right in your mouth the whole time, Lincecum said before he decided to reword his statement. That sounds terrible. Let me rephrase that. It just leaves you wanting it even more, and if that means being a good teammate or being in the bullpen, I really dont care. I just want to win.

In his only 2012 postseason start, Lincecum allowed four earned runs, six hits and walked three in 4 23 innings in a loss at St. Louis in Game 4 of the National League Championship series.

The Oct. 18 performance came on the heels of a regular season in which Lincecum -- a Cy Young winner in 2008 and 2009 -- finished with a 5.18 ERA, the worst among qualifying National League starters.

But the bullpen has been a different story.

Lincecums 0.69 relief ERA is the 11th lowest in major league postseason history for pitchers with at least 13 innings.

If hes unhappy with his temporary role, its yet to be detected by teammates and coaches, who said theyre impressed with how he has handled the transition.

He could have been upset about going to the bullpen, and not one second did you ever see that from him, Vogelsong said. He just went down there and came out firing BBs, and hes been really impressive.

He has relished the role, manager Bruce Bochy said. He accepted it and really acted like he looked forward to helping the club in that role, and thats why I think hes having success.

He must have really relished Saturdays opportunity.

After he took over for Vogelsong in the bottom of the sixth inning with a man aboard and two outs, Lincecum got Jhonny Peralta to line out to right-center field. He defused a potential seventh-inning rally after he walked Austin Jackson with two outs with a three-pitch strikeout of Quintin Berry, the last two strikes swinging.

But Lincecum saved his best for the eighth when he retired Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera on a grounder to short and struck out cleanup hitter Prince Fielder on three pitches. After Delmon Young reached on Brandon Crawfords throwing error, Lincecum finished the frame with a strikeout of Andy Dirks.

Not only was Lincecums changeup effective, his fastball topped 93 mph.

He definitely has an air about him, catcher Buster Posey said. Its confidence. And the stuff is really, really good. The fastball has movement I havent seen in a while. I dont know exactly why that is, but Ill take it.

Reliever George Kontos thinks he has the explanation. Lincecum has been airing it out in the bullpen because he doesnt have to preserve anything for later innings. Instead of pitching deep into a game, Lincecum can use his entire arsenal knowing hell only need to 30-plus pitches.

Hes not worried about pacing himself, Kontos said. Hes going batter-by-batter and hes just giving the hitter everything he has got and hes got some pretty good stuff.

Dan Hayes is the White Sox Insider for CSNChicago.com

After Stratton leads way in Giants' shutout, what does his future hold?

After Stratton leads way in Giants' shutout, what does his future hold?

SAN FRANCISCO — After the final out Monday night, a round table was carried into the corner of the home clubhouse at AT&T Park and surrounded by chairs. Eleven players were sitting, eating, drinking and laughing as Chris Stratton prepared to address the media. 

It was a rare sight for the Giants these days, a very rare sight. But then, so was Monday’s result. Stratton led the way in a 2-0 win over the Brewers that was the first home shutout of the season and motivated the joyous post-game scene. 

The shutout was just the second of the season for the staff. Ty Blach went the distance in the other one and Stratton, a fellow rookie, did the heavy lifting Monday, throwing six strong innings before giving way to the bullpen. Matt Cain pitched the seventh, Mark Melancon pitched the eighth while going back-to-back for the first time in three months, and Sam Dyson closed it out quickly. 

There’s a chance that Stratton joins that group in a few days. Johnny Cueto is scheduled to make a rehab start on Tuesday night in Sacramento and that could put him on track to return to the rotation a turn later. That would line up with Stratton’s next start, but Bruce Bochy wasn’t ready to kick the young righty out of the rotation, not after back-to-back scoreless starts against two of the better lineups in the league. A few days after striking out 10 Washington Nationals, Stratton cut through the Brewers. He has 12 2/3 scoreless innings over his past two appearances. 

“For how we’re using him, he’s really handled it well,” Bochy said. “We skipped him, moved him back three or four days, but he doesn’t let it faze him. This is an important time for these young players coming up, whether it’s (Ryder) Jones or (Jarrett) Parker or Stratton. They’re trying to show they belong in the Major Leagues.

“You’re hoping these guys show they’re ready to play here and we don’t have to do something else because we can do it internally.”

Bochy said he could use a six-man rotation when Cueto returns, or a starter could be skipped. That will all sort itself, but the manager made one thing clear. 

“We’d like to pitch him as much as we can,” Bochy said of Stratton.

That’s the same thing Bochy used to say of another right-hander, one he compared Stratton to before Monday’s game. Bochy was asked about Yusmeiro Petit, and he smiled and fondly stated, “He was so good. So good.” The Giants see some Petit in Stratton. He is unaffected by long layoffs and he’s capable of starting, relieving, or even pumping his fastball up a couple ticks for short outings. 

Petit was a mainstay in San Francisco for years, a key cog in a championship team. Bochy has been looking for that piece since Petit departed in free agency, and Stratton seems like he might be suited for the role. He will want more, of course, because all pitchers do. The Giants will give him five more weeks here to try and earn that. 

For the moment, Stratton’s focus is elsewhere. He turns 27 on Monday and the celebration started early. As Stratton answered questions, veterans at the table heckled him about striking out just one Brewer. 

“I left all the strikeouts in Washington, I guess,” Stratton said. 

Nick Hundley walked up with a TV remote and held it up between the cameras. 

“What was your thought on the punchout?” he asked. 

“I’m glad he swung,” Stratton said, smiling. “It was a ball.”

“Did you think about getting any more?” Hundley asked. 

With that, he smiled and ducked back behind the cameras to return to the celebration in the corner. A few minutes later, Stratton joined him.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' first home shutout of 2017

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' first home shutout of 2017

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SAN FRANCISCO — Ty Blach has been a bright spot in this losing season, giving the Giants a young, cost-controlled lefty who can potentially fill a huge role next season. Chris Stratton is trying to do the same thing from the right side. 

The 26-year-old continued his August surge, throwing six dominant innings against the Brewers in a 2-0 win that was the staff's first shutout at AT&T Park this season. 

It was the kind of night that's been so familiar over the years. The Giants had six home shutouts last season. Here are five things to know from this year's first ... 

—- The Brewers are first in the league in homers and the Nationals are third, so Stratton had his work cut out for him the last two times out. His results: 12 2/3 innings, 9 hits, 0 runs, 3 walks, 11 strikeouts. That’s quite the statement. Stratton’s scoreless streak is the longest by a Giants rookie starter since Chris Heston threw 16 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings in July of 2015. 

—- Matt Cain was used as a short reliever to protect a two-run lead in the seventh. He had a 1-2-3 inning that ended with a strikeout. 

—- Mark Melancon pitched back-to-back games for the first time since May 19-20. He struck out Neil Walker and Ryan Braun in a perfect inning. 

—- Jarrett Parker reached base his first three times up. He’s hitting .385 at home this season but he’s just 4-for-35 (.114) on the road. Weird splits for a Giant slugger. 

—- Brandon Crawford is finally finding some traction. His double in the fourth was the big hit in a two-run frame that gave Stratton a lead to work with. Crawford is 7-for-17 on the home stand with three extra-base hits and four RBI.