Giants Inch Closer

I watched the Giants game against the Rockies on TV last night.  Here are my thoughts.

The Giants just don’t look like a playoff team.  Yes, they won, but playing at home with the best pitcher in the NL starting.  The problem is that the Giants have no offense, and they don’t play fundamentally sound baseball to maximize the offense they do have.  In two separate innings last night the Giants had a man on third with no outs and failed to score a run.  That just doesn’t cut it when you play the good teams.

The Giants won yesterday on the backs of their best players: Tim Lincecum, Pablo Sandoval and Brian Wilson.

Sandoval’s homerun in the 5th inning was another reminder of what an incredible talent Sandoval is.  The count was one ball and two strikes, and it seemed as if Sandoval was sitting on the fastball for the first three pitches.  I thought, “Now is a good time [for Ubaldo Jimenez] to throw Sandoval a breaking pitch.

Jimenez threw Sandoval a slider, and it arguably got too much of the plate for a 1-2 pitch.  However, the breaking ball was right at the knees.  Sandoval’s stride was out ahead of the pitch, but he kept his hands back, and he then unloaded, hitting the ball the opposite way to left-center (Sandoval was batting from the left-side against the right-handed Jimenez) for a homerun.

In my mind, it was the right pitch at the right time, and Sandoval still crushed it.  It was simply another reminder of just how good Sandoval is.

It also means that Sandoval is going to have to become better at letting the pitchers walk him.  When a hitter shows that he can beat you even when you make the right pitch, you start to pitch around him whenever you can.

Not much to say about Lincecum that hasn’t already been said.  He’s just a great, great pitcher.

I am seriously concerned that his will be a flame that burns twice as bright half as long. In short, Good Ol’ Boch is working him hard.  Lincecum has now thrown between 115 and 127 pitches in seven of his last nine starts.  That’s a lot to ask of any pitcher, especially one who weighs only 170 lbs.

Lincecum led all National League pitchers in pitches thrown last year, and he’s leading all National League pitchers in pitches thrown again this year.  Not a good sign for the long term.

The heavy workload may not show any effects in the next year or so.  However, I have a strong feeling that whoever gives Lincecum his enormous free agent contract a few years from now is going to be Barry Zito-Mike Hampton disappointed.

Finally, aside from the obvious fact that the Giants won last night, the best thing about the game was the Giants won’t have to face Ubaldo Jimenez again in this series.  He’s a terrific young pitcher, who throws seeds without looking like it takes anything more out of him than having a catch with his sister.  He really looks like a pitcher: long, strong and lean.  He should be causing heart-ache throughout the rest of the NL West for the next few years at least.

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