Urban: Lincecum's progress, Giants' silver lining


Urban: Lincecum's progress, Giants' silver lining

June 17, 2011


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Mychael Urban

Giants manager Bruce Bochy wasn't demonstrative, boisterous or even slightly emotive Friday night while discussing his club's loss to the suddenly energized A's.There was a resigned passivity to what he brought to the postage proceedings in his smallish temporary office at Old Testament Coliseum (or whatever they're calling it these days).While discussing his team's offense, which managed to earn itself all of one run on six hits and zero walks, Bochy didn't need to trot out any biblical bluster."We squandered some opportunities tonight," he said of San Francisco's bagel in six chances with runners in scoring position. And, "Our margin of error isn't that big. And, "We don't put a lot of runs on the board."And, "We didn't hit too many balls hard today."Of his club's defense, which was charged with only two errors but had a real Benny Hill thing going for a spell, he was similarly matter-of-fact."It wasn't awful," he said. "But it wasn't the cleanest game in the world."Not even close. It was to clean what Felix Unger -- Monica from "Friends," for you hipsters -- was to dirty.Yet while the totality of it all left Bochy doing a subtle Mrs. Lincoln after the play, it wasn't all bad.Tim Lincecum, for instance, took the loss and fell to 5-6 overall, but he did so while posting his first quality start of the month and showed signs that he's started to figure out the mechanical issues -- no, it was most definitely not all mental, gang -- that turned his ERA over the previous three June starts into something you might see in a Ponzi scheme return-rate promise (9.39).RELATED: Giants Insider gallery: Lifeless in Oakland
The good news was that the Franchise, pitching for the first time as a 27-year-old, struck out seven and held the A's to two earned runs over six innings."I was back to being more aggressive," he said. "Letting things go."The bad news is that his fastball command -- or lack thereof -- was less than perfect, leading to five free passes that forced him to battle early and often. Ergo the departure after a leadoff walk in the seventh, with a pitch count of 113. Some interesting interpretations of the strike zone by the plate ump on several breaking balls, as well as the shaky D, didn't help, but Lincecum himself conceded that he was "throwing breaking balls in fastball counts." He said it was, in part, to try to fool guys by pitching backwards, but it's not a leap over Snake River Canyon to assume it was in part because he's still waiting for the GPS that guides his heater to come back from the shop."I've just gotta be better," Lincecum said. "I'm not saying it's all the way back."Another positive to come out of the postgame skull session with Lincecum was the burning of the tired he-misses-Buster-Posey and he-can't-work-with-Eli-Whiteside crutches that some people are offering the two-time Cy. Chris Stewart caught Lincecum on Friday, and Lincecum was moderately better, but when asked if any of the aforementioned excuses fly, the Freak didn't hesitate to riddle them with a verbal shotgun blast."Not at all," he said, reminding everyone that the catcher is the suggestion box, but the pitcher bought the lock and holds the key.In other words, the pitcher's neck and head trump the backstop's fingers every time."It doesn't matter who they're throwing behind the plate," Lincecum said. "As the pitcher, you have the last say."So that settles that. What, exactly, has been Lincecum's problem? Well, not to get all Insidery, but he hasn't been getting his upper torso over his legs, which means his finely tuned core and Ryan-esque leg drive haven't been providing the power and synchronicity he relies on, and that seems to have shortened his giraffe-like stride.In far simpler terms, he's falling toward first base too early.These aren't incredibly quick fixes. Lincecum's windup is a classic concerto, and an extra 10 minutes in rehearsal doesn't mean you're ready for Carnegie Hall. But Friday suggested he's already started the process, and that's probably why Bochy was so chill after such an uninspired performance.For all the ugliness, the thought of Lincecum on the verge of finding himself again must have seemed downright beautiful.

49ers select DE Solomon Thomas with No. 3 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft

49ers select DE Solomon Thomas with No. 3 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft

Position: Defensive line
College: Stanford
Height: 6-2 ½
Weight: 273 pounds
Selection: First round, No. 3 overall

SANTA CLARA – After some late intrigue surrounding the No. 1 overall pick, the Cleveland Browns went with the player universally considered the top NFL prospect.

Myles Garrett went with the first selection, then the 49ers traded back one spot with the Chicago Bears, who chose North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

The 49ers still got the player they would have chosen with the No. 2 overall pick: Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas with the second pick.

General manager John Lynch engineered a trade that enabled the 49ers to pick up third and fourth-round draft picks this year, as well as the Bears’ third-round pick next year to move back one spot.

With the selection of Thomas, the 49ers have now chosen defensive linemen with their first picks in each of the past three drafts.

The 49ers picked Arik Armstead with the No. 17 pick in 2015. Last year, in Trent Baalke’s final draft as general manager, the 49ers chose DeForest Buckner with the No. 7 pick.

Thomas becomes the highest-drafted defensive player from Stanford in school history. The Minnesota Vikings selected Stanford linebacker Jeff Siemon No. 10 overall in 1972.

The 49ers finished with a 2-14 record last season in Chip Kelly’s only season to land in the No. 2 draft slot. CEO Jed York fired Kelly and Baalke at the conclusion of the season.

Lynch had been shopping the No. 2 overall pick in trade scenarios in recent weeks. The 49ers accomplished their goal, trading back one spot and getting a bounty of picks to help in the rebuilding project.

The 49ers chose Thomas over such players as running back Leonard Fournette, defensive lineman Jonathan Allen and safety Jamal Adams.

Thomas, who spent five years in Australia as a youngster, came to Stanford as a top 25 national recruit. In his final college season, Thomas led the Cardinal with 62 tackles, 15 for loss, and eight quarterback sacks. He was an All-American and chosen as the winner of the Morris Trophy, awarded to the Pac-12 defensive lineman of the year.

Thomas appears to be a fit at multiple positions along the line in new defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s scheme. While he might be best-suited for an interior position, new coach Kyle Shanahan said recently at Stanford’s pro day that he believes Thomas can play the team’s pass-rush position.

The 49ers have struggled to generate much of a pass rush since the departure of Aldon Smith, whom the club released prior to the 2015 season after multiple off-field incidents.

Ahmad Brooks and Buckner tied for the team-lead last season with six sacks. Brooks and Aaron Lynch led the 49ers in 2015 with 6.5 sacks apiece. Brooks and Lynch both recorded six sacks in ’14 to lead the team.

The 49ers have nine draft picks remaining. Their next scheduled pick comes Friday with the second selection of the second round, No. 34 overall.

49ers trade No. 2 pick to Bears for four total NFL Draft picks

49ers trade No. 2 pick to Bears for four total NFL Draft picks

The 49ers on Thursday dealt the No. 2 overall pick in the draft to acquire more selections to assist in the organization’s massive rebuilding project.

After advertising for weeks that the 49ers were “open for business,” first-year general manager John Lynch executed a trade on Thursday night with the Chicago Bears.

The Bears moved up to No. 2, while the 49ers took Chicago’s No. 3 overall pick. The 49ers received the Bears’ picks this year in the third round (No. 67) and fourth round (No. 111), as well as the Bears’ third-round pick next year.

Cleveland kicked off the NFL draft with the selection of Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett. The Bears selected quarterback Mitchell Trubisky with the No. 2 overall pick.

The 49ers had engaged in preliminary trade discussions with six teams, a league source told NBC Sports Bay Area. Three teams were inside the top 10 and three teams were outside the top 10.

This draft appeared to set up for the 49ers to trade back because of their needs at so many positions. The 49ers finished 2-14 last season, leading to the firings of general manager John Lynch and coach Chip Kelly.

The 49ers entered the opening day of the draft on Thursday with a scheduled 10 draft picks, including the No. 2 pick in each of the first four rounds.