Urban: Lincecum back to meeting Giant expectations

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Urban: Lincecum back to meeting Giant expectations

June 23, 2011

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Mychael Urban
CSNBayArea.com

Long after he'd satisfied the swarm of reporters requesting his postgame thoughts on Thursday, after the home clubhouse at AT&T Park was all but empty save a few stragglers, Giants ace Tim Lincecum pulled an all-black, short-sleeved, micro-fiber workout shirt over his head.

Wearing an expression that conveyed equal parts relief and satisfaction, he turned away from his double-wide locker and graciously acknowledged an unexpected visitor.
"It's about time, right?" he said with a wry smile.Unclear was whether he was mimicking the likely reaction of many Giants fans to his merciless mugging of Minnesota, or whether he was simply providing his own reaction.RECAP: Lincecum strikes out 12, Giants take series, 2-1
More than likely, it was both.This is not the first trip down the waterside for Lincecum, whose ugly first three starts of June sounded alarms that echoed those heard last August.It's not his first sprint up the slippery slope aside the slide, either. He got back to the top, to the head of the line, last September -- and with Thursday's seven stifling innings in which the Twins had trouble touching him, he appeared to have again found his way."I didn't really catch him in spring training, so I knew what he threw but didn't really know what it looks like and when he likes to throw it," said Chris Stewart, who gained such knowledge while handling Lincecum's Saturday start in Oakland and appeared to expertly apply it five days later. "Today we were on the same page pretty much all day, but the main thing is Timmy was just really, really good."That might be underselling it. Lincecum was great, as evidenced by the 12 K's hanging on the brick wall down the right-field line after the Freak finished with a flourish, striking out the side in the seventh before handing a 1-0 lead to the bullpen. The Twins surely felt like they'd been plastered to a brick wall themselves.
GIANTS INSIDER GALLERY: Lincecum is back
The problem for Lincecum, though, is that greatness is expected. For him, greatness is par for his career course. Birdies and eagles? It'll take no-hitters, 20-punchout performances, truly transcendent triumphs for him to get credit for those.Maybe "problem" isn't the right word here, come to think of it. If outside expectations are that high, no matter how unrealistic they might be, something has gone so spectacularly well that it's hard to paint it as problematic."Unfair?" Again, hard to slap some spit on that label. Greatness brings great "glue" -- MLBese for big money -- and commensurate fame, and there's nothing unfair about that.Besides, you easily could flip that script and say it's not fair for the Twins when Lincecum, as he so often does, delivers the expected greatness.He delivered against Minnesota by featuring his curveball quite a bit more than usual -- a tweak to his game plan that doubled as a means to the end of correcting a slight mechanical flaw that contributed to the mini-June swoon.While in the midst of his funk, Lincecum has insisted that his issues were all in his head. Yet as he explained in the near-empty clubhouse late Thursday afternoon, recent conversations with his dad, Chris, convinced him that it was as mechanic as it was mental.VIDEO: Tim Lincecum on his father
In layman's terms, the result of those conversations -- as well as the feedback of pitching coach Dave Righetti -- has Lincecum no longer "flying out" with his left shoulder so early that it forces a premature tilt toward first base, giving him better balance (read: command) and leg drive (read: sustainable velocity and stamina).What makes an elite athlete get away from what so clearly works for him in the first place? If anyone had the answer to that, a lot of coaches and trainers would be out of jobs.Exhaustion might be a possible cause, though.Up and down the slide they go, trying to live up to ridiculously lofty standards; merely good performances seen as less than that, great ones seen as merely good.That's got to be taxing at some point, no? Yes.So maybe we've got it all wrong. Maybe Lincecum's refreshingly unguarded comment in the quiet of the clubhouse had nothing to do with his return to Freakiness."It's about time, right?"Could you blame him if he was just talking about a nap?

Warriors rookie McCaw starts vs Nets with Durant ruled out

Warriors rookie McCaw starts vs Nets with Durant ruled out

OAKLAND -- With Kevin Durant out of the Warriors lineup Saturday night with swelling in his left pinky finger, rookie wing Pat McCaw will start at forward against Brooklyn at Oracle Arena.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr made the announcement two hours before tipoff.

As for Durant, the contusion in his left pinky finger, sustained Thursday, is still in the healing process.

“Kevin’s hand is still a little swollen,” Kerr said. “It’s not anything we want to mess around with. We’ve got a long trip coming up, a lot of games. It made sense to give him the night off. We’ll have tomorrow off, flying in to Philadelphia. So hopefully the next couple days it’ll calm down and be fine. It’s kind of a day-to-day thing.”

The decision to start McCaw -- who often competes with Ian Clark for playing time -- was based mostly on how he matches up against the Nets.

“They both have my trust and my confidence,” Kerr said. “Both of them are very effective. It’s depending what we need. If we need ball movement and cutting, I’m more likely to go to Ian. He’s a great back-cutter and he gives our offense flow and he’ll make spot-up shots. If we need some size defensively, we’ll go to Patrick. They’ve both been effective. I wouldn’t say either one is ahead of the other. They’re both going to play.”

New acquisitions shine as Quakes end preseason with win over USL's Republic

New acquisitions shine as Quakes end preseason with win over USL's Republic

The San Jose Earthquakes concluded their 2017 preseason campaign with a 4-1 win against Sacramento Republic FC at Avaya Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Shea Salinas, Simon Dawkins, Jahmir Hyka and Danny Hoesen each scored for the Earthquakes in the victory to give San Jose a 6-1-2 record in preseason play.

In the 14th minute, Salinas gave the Earthquakes a 1-0 advantage when he one-timed Tommy Thompson's cross into the back of the net. In the buildup to the goal, Nick Lima threw the ball in and found fellow Homegrown player Thompson on the right side of the six-yard box. With one touch, Thompson crossed the ball to Salinas who made no mistake with his finish.

Republic FC equalized the match in the 54th minute with a penalty from Sammy Ochoa after Anibal Godoy was called for a handball in the box.

The Earthquakes regained the lead in the 66th minute when Dawkins sent a powerful low shot into the bottom left corner of Sacramento's goal from the top of the 18-yard box after receiving a through pass from Darwin Ceren.

After entering the match at halftime, Hyka made the game 3-1 in the 79th minute, finishing Godoy's cross with one touch.

Hoesen concluded the scoring for the Quakes in first minute of stoppage time after he dribbled past the Sacramento defense and sent the ball across the goal into the bottom right corner to make the final score 4-1.

"It was good," said Quakes defender and second-ever Homegrown signing Nick Lima, who started Saturday. "It was obviously our first time in the preseason in the stadium. It was good to get out there with our starters and I think we finished the way we wanted to. There's obviously a lot of improvement that we need to do, but now we have a week just to focus on Montreal. That was the ultimate goal from the beginning of preseason to get ready for that game and I think we took a step in the right direction."

The Earthquakes will start the 2017 MLS Regular Season next Saturday, March 4, at 6:45 p.m. against the Montreal Impact.

Earthquakes media services.