Lincecum searching for execution, not answers


Lincecum searching for execution, not answers

DENVER Tim Lincecum had so many inches trimmed away at thebarber shop, you could see the back of his neck for the first time in years.

The Colorado Rockies proceeded to step on it Wednesdaynight.

Lincecum retired just seven of 17 batters while failing tocomplete three innings for the first time in 157 career starts in the Giants17-8 loss at Coors Field. After two outings, Lincecum has a 12.91 ERA. He hasallowed 14 hits and three walks in 7.2 innings.
RECAP: Lincecum rocked, Giants fall to Rockies 17-8

Whats wrong with the Giants two-time Cy Young Awardwinner? Where will he turn for answers?

I dont think its a matter of finding the answers per se,Lincecum said. Its just a matter of grinding through it. Youll have thesegames or streaks. You just get them out of the way now and grind through it.

The grind doesnt get any easier. Lincecums home debut isscheduled for Monday against Roy Halladay and the Philadelphia Phillies. (Andno, ssory doc, the Giants cant take out a 24-hour loan on Cody Ross from the Red Sox.)

Lincecum didnt look good most of the spring and hisfastball velocity continues to raise eyebrows. He pitched in the 90-92 range --slightly better than where he was in his opening-day loss at Arizona -- but below his average of 92.2 mphfrom last season, according to PitchFX.

The bigger issue was Lincecums inability to use hisput-away changeup effectively. Of the eight hits he allowed, seven were onoffspeed pitches, mostly changeups.

They did seem to be sitting on it, Lincecum told me.Theyre hunting my go-to pitch and I shouldve made the adjustment and thrownthe fastball more. It just happened too quickly. I didnt give myself a chanceto think about what was going on.

Lincecum was working with rookie catcher Hector Sanchez, alast-minute replacement after Buster Posey was scratched because of theshingles. Lincecum definitely looked perturbed when Sanchez failed to block asecond wild pitch that allowed a run to score in the third.

But Lincecum put the blame squarely on himself, saying,its just sloppy baseball for me.

Lincecum has been through these vexing times before.Remember his 0-5 August in 2010? Back then, he began using his slider more andended up being a dynamo down the stretch and through the playoffs.

Maybe the slider can be his magic bullet again, if hedecides to throw it. But Lincecum said the solution is even simpler: He justneeds to make his pitch.

Every year youre expecting to gain improvements andknowledge, Lincecum said. You find yourself fixing one thing and taking forgranted another thing. Its just being more aware and just executing pitches.Thats the biggest thing I can do.

Manager Bruce Bochy is not fretting over his ace, either.

I actually thought his stuff was a little crisper, Bochysaid. He was just up. He left a lot of pitches up, a lot of mistakes when hewas ahead in the count. He had a tough time putting hitters away. Really,across the board, we made way too many mistakes.

Hell find a way to come out of this.

It better be soon. Big Roy will be waiting.

Definitely, itll be nice to kick off our season at home,Lincecum said. Whatever losses we have to this point will be behind us.

Unhappy Buster Posey bashes Phillies closer after hit-by-pitch

Unhappy Buster Posey bashes Phillies closer after hit-by-pitch

In what was set up to be a pivotal matchup of the game turned into a heated exchange.

Buster Posey stepped into the batter's box in the bottom of the eighth inning Sunday against Phillies closer Hector Neris.

But Posey never got to swing the bat. On the first pitch, Neris drilled the Giants catcher in the ribs with a 95 MPH fastball.

Posey whinced in pain and as he walked to first base, he appeared to ask Neris if the pitch was on purpose.

After the game, Posey was asked about the kerfuffle.

"I'm pretty certain he hit me on purpose. And it's just a shame because I wanted to compete that at-bat and he's got good stuff. But I guess he didn't feel like he couldn't get me out," Posey told reporters after the game.

Posey was asked if he could think of any incidents in previous games against the Phillies that could have led to the hit-by-pitch. He said no and asked the reporters if they could think of anything.

Posey's comments were brought to Neris after the game.

"It's stupid because nobody who watched that said, 'Oh he hit him on purpose in that situation,'" Neris told reporters, according to the Philly Inquirer.

Posey and Neris have faced each other just one time in the past. In the ninth inning of the June 3 matchup in Philadelphia, Posey flew out to left field.

Strickland hammered by Phils, Giants officially eliminated from NL West contention

Strickland hammered by Phils, Giants officially eliminated from NL West contention


SAN FRANCISCO -- Madison Bumgarner pitched six innings in one of his best starts this season, took a line drive off his left shin and hit an RBI single that temporarily gave the Giants an early lead.

The reward? A heaping of praise from manager Bruce Bochy, handshakes from his teammates and another no-decision - Bumgarner's third in eight starts since coming off the disabled list.

Philadelphia rookie Rhys Hoskins homered again, Pedro Florimon contributed with his bat and arm, and the Phillies scored three runs in the eighth to beat the Giants 5-2 on Sunday.

In what has been a theme for San Francisco much of the season, Bumgarner's efforts were overshadowed by another meltdown from the Giants' bullpen.

"I thought it was a good day for Madison," Bochy said. "We had it lined up like we wanted as far as the bullpen. (Hunter Strickland) just had an off day making some mistakes."

Bumgarner allowed one run and four hits. He stayed in despite taking a sharp line drive off his left shin in the second inning by Nick Williams - earlier this month, Williams hit Mets ace Jacob deGrom in the triceps with a line drive, forcing him from the game.

"I tried to do a kick save but I wasn't very good at soccer," Bumgarner said. "It almost worked out."

Hoskins connected for a solo drive in the ninth inning, making him the first Phillies player in at least 100 years to hit five home runs in his first 11 major league games.

"I got to better counts, I think this week, and the results show," Hoskins said.

Florimon hit a two-run single off Strickland (2-3) to cap a three-run eighth inning that made it 4-2. Florimon also had an RBI double off Bumgarner in the second, then made a sparkling defensive play in left field to throw out Buster Posey at the plate in the bottom of the inning.

It was Florimon's first major league game in left field.

"I just try to catch the ball and throw the ball to home plate and see what happens," Florimon said. "I made a good throw."

Adam Morgan (2-1) retired three batters for the win, a day after throwing just one pitch and getting the victory.

Hector Neris pitched 1 1/3 innings for his 15th save. He struck out Pablo Sandoval with the bases loaded to end the eighth after hitting Posey in the back with a pitch, then fanned Denard Span with two on in the ninth to end it.

The Phillies won the season series against the Giants for the first time since 2011.

Philadelphia trailed 2-1 going into the eighth. Hoskins and Maikel Franco hit consecutive one-out singles before Jorge Alfaro tied it with an RBI single. After Williams singled to load the bases, Florimon slapped a 1-2 pitch into right field.

Posey had two hits and an RBI, extending his hitting streak against the Phillies to 22 games. Kelby Tomlinson scored a run and Ryder Jones doubled and scored for San Francisco.

Posey had a rough afternoon physically. In addition to taking a 95 mph fastball in the back, Posey also appeared to get hurt while tagging out a sliding Cameron Perkins at the plate in the second.

Afterward, the Giants' All-Star catcher voiced his displeasure about Neris.

"I'm certain that he hit me on purpose," Posey said. "It's just a shame because I wanted to compete that at-bat and he's got good stuff. But I guess he didn't feel like he could get me out."

Giants 2B Joe Panik (concussion symptoms) continues to make steady progress and could come off the disabled list in time to join San Francisco on its upcoming road trip that begins Friday in Arizona.

Phillies: The team gets an off day before hosting Miami in a doubleheader Tuesday. RHP Dan Straily (7-8, 3.80 ERA) pitches in the first game and RHP Jose Urena (11-5, 3.61 ERA) goes in the nightcap.

Giants: RHP Chris Stratton (1-2, 4.91) faces Milwaukee on Monday.