Lincecum showing leadership with contract stance

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Lincecum showing leadership with contract stance

Giants fans are, pun intended, freaked out over Tim Lincecums stated preference to play things year-to-year while waiting out his final two season of arbitration eligibility before hitting the free-agent market.Words to the wise: Simmer down.The panic that surfaced after Lincecums comments on his contractual future are understandable. Wholly. The man is a god here. Nearly as big an icon as -- gasp! -- Joe Montana, after just four full seasons in San Francisco; two Cy Youngs and a ring have earned it.Of course you want him to stay. And of course you have every right to read into his stance that hes paving the road away from AT&T Park, in search of ungodly (Gotham?) riches and an offense that doesnt make him feel as though nothing short of a shutout is a recipe for an L next to his name in the next days box score.But theres another, more flattering and sensible way of looking at the whole deal.

Lincecum is a leader on the Giants. Not the traditional, fire-and-brimestone, give-an-impassioned-speech-when-the-chips-are-down type of leader, but a leader nonetheless. Whether they like it or not, the best players on every team are leaders.So consider that Lincecums public stance is a show of that leadership. Hey, if the big dog, no matter how small in stature, is barking, you damn well better listen. And what Lincecum is barking about isnt money. Hes not that guy. Hes barking about the aforementioned lack of offensive support, and in even remotely suggesting that hes open to moving on after the 2013 season, hes saying one thing and one thing only, and hes not saying it to fans or the media. Hes saying it to anyone and everyone in control of the Giants purse strings.Dudes. Seriously. We appreciate you telling everyone that keeping us pitchers is your priority. But for the love of Willie Mays, understand that we wont commit unless you prioritize putting a complete team on the field. Were sick of carrying the load, so get off your wallets -- yeah, we saw the 81 sellouts, guys -- and get us some bats!Hes not just sticking up for himself. Hes standing up for Matt Cain, for Ryan Vogelsong, and for the many relievers who entered about 150 one-run games over the past three years.Hey, Lincecums not going anywhere for a while. Hes under club control. But hes shrewd enough to realize that his status as an icon in this city means the club, to an extent, is under his control.Question is, is the club shrewd enough to read between the lines?

Giants continue embarrassing stretch against rebuilding Padres

Giants continue embarrassing stretch against rebuilding Padres

SAN FRANCISCO — Three years ago, the Giants and Padres were the two teams in it until the very end for Pablo Sandoval’s services. He ended up in Boston, and when he became available again over the past week, the Padres politely backed away. 

They prefer youth and Rule 5 Draft picks. They came into this season knowing they might lose 100 games, and they didn’t mind. If anything, they welcomed the increased shot at the top pick in the 2018 draft. They’re here to tank, but the Giants (who expect to welcome Sandoval back on a minor league deal as soon as Friday) just won’t let them. 

Thursday’s 5-2 loss to San Diego was like so many others over the past calendar year. The Giants didn’t hit, they didn’t come through in the clutch, they did not support their starting pitcher, and they did not guarantee a handshake line. 

The Giants have lost 15 of 20 to the Padres since last year’s All-Star break, including three straight last July to kickstart a tailspin that has lasted over a year now. They have dropped four of five meetings in this second half, which was supposed to prove that a Padre-like rebuild is not needed up here in the Bay Area. They are five games behind the Padres in the race to finish a distant fourth in the National League, and in a season full of disappointment, that stands as one of the more embarrassing facts. 

Not even Madison Bumgarner’s return to AT&T Park could turn the tide. The lefty looked good most of the night, but two homers left him with a rougher-than-hoped line. Bumgarner gave up four earned on two homers. He has allowed multiple homers in back-to-back games for the first time in his career. Both starts have come against the Padres. 

“I’ve got to stop giving up homers,” Bumgarner said of his start. “That’s not going to work.”

Bumgarner said he felt fine physically, and his curveball — the pitch that has backfired on him most often since his return — feels right mechanically. He was facing his last batter in the seventh as George Kontos warmed up with a runner on. Corey Spangenberg hit a two-run shot to the deepest part of the yard to make it 4-2. 

Buster Posey flied out with the bases loaded in the eighth. The Giants brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth but couldn’t score, which has been the norm against the Padres. The Giants are averaging just 3.2 runs per game during this 20-game stretch of futility against a team they once dominated. 

“We need to win ballgames right now,” Bumgarner said. “We’ve got to start doing that. There’s no magic solution. We’ve got to start playing better, all of us.”

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as homers hurt Bumgarner vs Padres

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as homers hurt Bumgarner vs Padres

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — A day after he did his press conference from a “Game of Thrones” throne, manager Bruce Bochy said he was happy the Giants won their series finale against the Indians and kept that plan in play. In that respect, he’s lucky his team wasn’t facing the Padres on Wednesday. 

The Giants were on Thursday, however, and they continued their baffling stretch of ineptitude against what is supposed to be the worst team in the National League West. The 5-2 loss to San Diego was the 15th in the last 20 meetings between the two teams, one of which has a $200 million payroll and the other of which is actively tanking. 

The Giants had a shot at a comeback in the eighth, but Buster Posey flied out to right with two outs and the bases loaded. Here are five things to know, if you are the curious type: 

—- Madison Bumgarner has faced the Padres twice since returning. In 13 1/3 innings, he has allowed 10 hits and seven earned runs. He is getting hurt by a familiar problem for the 2017 Giants: The Padres have four homers off Bumgarner in those two starts. Hunter Renfroe and Cory Spangenberg took him deep Thursday, with Spangenberg hitting one out to the deepest part of the yard on Bumgarner’s final pitch. 

—- This is the first time in Bumgarner’s career that he has allowed multiple homers in back-to-back starts. 

—- Kyle Crick showed good stuff — sitting 96-97 — while stranding a runner on second in the eighth. He followed that with a scoreless ninth. The Giants should make it a priority to throw him into some deeper water over the next two months. 

—- There’s an epidemic these days of outfielders making foolish throws to the plate. We see it just about every night, and it cost the Padres in the sixth. Gorkys Hernandez was on second and he took off right away on Denard Span’s single to right. Renfroe had no play at the plate but he threw it anyway and Span took second. He scored when Eduardo Nuñez singled to left. 

—- The Giants announced their second consecutive sellout. That’s a streak. Maybe?