Lincecum left to self-reflect in Seattle


Lincecum left to self-reflect in Seattle

Its sunny in Seattle today, which doesnt fit either Tim Lincecums mood or desire. He was likely looking forward to wrapping himself in the grey and damp of his native land -- after two starts in sweltering, suffocating East Coast heat -- while he reflected on his very terrible first half of the 2012 season.Instead, hell look out the windows of his swanky sky rise apartment and see bright sun, glistening off the water, feel mild temperatures in the high-70s, and curse his luck.The weather. Just one more freakin thing he cant control. For the first time since his rookie season, Lincecum is spending the All-Star game apart from the midsummer classic festivities. Instead hes spending it as the worst starting pitcher in the majors, with a 6.42 earned-run-average.Its a crazy, unfathomable plummet -- one that no one can explain, including Lincecum. Though, God knows, he keeps trying. The kid opens a vein after every start, reaches down inside himself and pulls out first his heart and then his soul and, after some rummaging around, his ego for all of us to look at and examine and dissect.He did it again on Sunday, calling himself the weak link -- something you are unlikely to ever hear another professional athlete say about him or herself. He cant seem to help himself -- theres no tough front with Lincecum.Hes searching for answers. What he probably doesnt need to do is overanalyze everything with all his buddies or family members back in Seattle. What he probably doesnt need to do is try to escape his issues.He told reporters on Saturday that he wasnt looking to do that.No, Im going to pick up a ball and keep my mind surrounded with baseball, he said. I have to think about what Ive gone through in order to remedy this.The Giants are right not to try to skip his next start. Hes going to have a couple of days away from the game, a break in routine. And the next opponent is the Astros, the worst team in the major leagues. Last time they were in town, Matt Cain pitched a perfect game against them. And while theres no diminishing such a towering feat, history will still note that it came against the Houston Astros. The Giants may run out of patience soon with Lincecum, but not yet, not in this next scheduled start.The Astros might be a way for Lincecum to find what he needs the most -- his swagger. For all the talk about mechanics, its clear that his biggest issue is mental. You can visibly watch his bad body language take over on the mound. He seemed to get his mojo back momentarily in the last home stand after a long talk with Ryan Vogelsong between innings against the As. He came back to the mound more determined, then carried that look over into his next start against the Dodgers.
RELATED: Without pitching against A's, Vogelsong saves Giants
But whatever gains he made melted away last week in the Eastern heat wave (and, yes, using the heat is making excuses, but the reality is Lincecum has never pitched well in high heat and humidity).Lincecum is looking for an explanation, which is why he keeps using his postgame sessions as therapy. Its been terrible, he said. Its a terrible feeling.Now, back in Seattle, he needs, take a deep breath, look around the nice apartment his baseball talent bought, and watch the sun glint off the water. Its not the gloomy clouds that match his mood, but maybe he can glimpse some reason for optimism on the horizon.And he needs to keep the ball in his hand and his mind, like he promised.

Giants hammer Taillon, return favor with 11-3 win over Pirates

Giants hammer Taillon, return favor with 11-3 win over Pirates


SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner saw no reason to make a big deal over his first win of the year, even if it came far deeper into the season than anyone expected.

In a season that long ago spun out of control for both San Francisco and its ace, Bumgarner was happier seeing the struggling Giants have one of their best games of the year.

Bumgarner allowed one run over five innings for his first win of the season, and the Giants beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 11-3 on Tuesday night.

"It was nice to be on the board now individually," Bumgarner said. "But that's not what it's about. It's about us winning games, and we played really good tonight."

Eduardo Nunez drove in two runs in his final game with San Francisco as he was traded to Boston for two minor leaguers. The veteran infielder was pulled in the fifth inning and was later seen on television shaking hands with several teammates in the Giants' clubhouse. The deal was announced after a few minutes after the final out.

Bumgarner also singled and scored, Buster Posey had three hits and an RBI and Joe Panik added a bases-loaded triple as struggling San Francisco won for only the fifth time in 16 games.

Josh Harrison singled twice for the Pirates, who fell behind 9-0 and couldn't recover. Pittsburgh stranded seven runners in the first five innings, including four in scoring position.

Making his third start since coming off the disabled list after nearly three months following a dirt bike accident in Colorado on April 20, Bumgarner (1-4) was mostly sharp while quieting a potent Pittsburgh lineup and ending the Pirates' seven-game winning streak at AT&T Park.

Three years after pitching a complete game to beat Pittsburgh in the NL wild card on his way to winning the 2014 World Series MVP, Bumgarner pitched out of a pair of early jams, allowed six hits and had four strikeouts.

"He did a nice job," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "I'm sure he's glad to get that (first win) taken care of. Once he went five that was enough."

It's the first win by a Giants starting pitcher since July 5.

Jameson Taillon (6-4) took the loss, giving up 10 runs in three innings.

"I didn't make good pitches once they got runners on," Taillon said. "They didn't waste any time. They had a merry-go-round going."

Posey lined a single that hit second base umpire Ed Hickox in the foot and knocked him down in the fifth inning. Hickox slowly got to his feet and was attended to by a member of the Giants medical staff but remained in the game.

Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto may need to make a rehab start before rejoining the rotation. Cueto has been hindered by blisters on multiple fingers of his pitching hand, an issue that has lingered for much of the past month. The right-hander played catch from 105 feet before the game. Pablo Sandoval moved from Single-A San Jose to Triple-A Sacramento as he continues to try to work his way back into the big leagues. RHP Chris Stratton was recalled from Sacramento and IF Orlando Calixte was optioned down.

RHP Jeff Samardzija (4-11, 5.05 ERA) pitches the finale for the Giants seeking to beat Pittsburgh for the second time this season while RHP Trevor Williams (4-4, 4.74 ERA) takes the mound for the Pirates looking for his fourth win in the last five road starts.

Giants trade Eduardo Nunez to Red Sox

Giants trade Eduardo Nunez to Red Sox

Eduardo Nunez's time with the Giants is up as they have traded the third baseman to the Boston Red Sox.

The teams announced the trade shortly after the Giants beat the Pirates 11-3 on Tuesday night.

Fox Sports was the first to report the news.

The Giants will acquire minor league pitchers Shaun Anderson and Gregory Santos.

Anderson, Boston's third-round pick out of Florida in 2016, has a 3.42 ERA in 97.1 innings between Low-A Greenville and High-A Salem this season.

Santos, a 17-year-old right-handed pitcher, was signed by Boston out of the Dominican Republic in 2015. Pitching in the Dominican Summer League this season, Santos has allowed just three earned runs in 30 innings pitched.

Nunez was lifted for pinch-hitter in the bottom of the fifth inning Tuesday night and was seen hugging teammates as he left the dugout.

In 75 games with the Giants this season, Nunez hit .308/.334/.417 with 21 doubles, four home runs, 29 RBI and 17 stolen bases.

Nunez was acquired from the Twins last summer for two prospects.