For the eighth straight game, the Giants lost a game that Tim Lincecum started. It's not that simple. But it kind of is. If the Giants started a seven-game playoff series tomorrow, Barry Zito would probably start a game and Lincecum might be left off the roster.
It is June 10, 2012, and I just typed those words.
Thought about closing the laptop, and going for a drive after typing that. But seeing as I spent the game crouched in the corner of my bedroom, drinking straight from a bourbon bottle and swearing at the TV, I should probably stay off the road. I can't even find my keys. Think I chucked them at the TV.
It's obvious that there are two Tim Lincecums now:
1. The pitcher out of the windup, who will never have Madduxian command, but who can still strike out hitters on three pitches, strike out the side, and look like the pitcher we remember
2. The pitcher out of the stretch, who is sprinkled with weaponized Jonathan Sanchez dust
The first guy makes us feel better early the game. The second guy does a little goat dance on our hopes. Game after game after game. You can believe that it has to do with nervousness or mind games -- that when a guy gets on, Lincecum melts into a puddle of goo. I'm still sticking with mechanical, with an outside chance that physical problems are afoot. Not thinking elbow or shoulder, necessarily. Could be back, hip, or … a foot. Anything that could futz up mechanics. But something's causing baseballs in the middle of the strike zone when runners are on base.
That's for the Giants to figure out. It'll be fun! Like a mystery novel. Like Agatha Christie's Oh, God, What Did I Step In? or Sue Grafton's 'G' Is For Goddammit, Lincecum, Cut This Out. Can't wait to see what the surprise twist is! Maybe Brett Butler did it.
All of the options are pointless or gross. Waiting for him to figure it out is overly optimistic. Putting him in the bullpen is a short-term salve that helps nothing, and it's not like Zack Wheeler is in Fresno, desperately making a case to come up. Skipping a start is an inoffensive option, so I wouldn't mind that. But there's a pretty good chance that Tim Lincecum would be the pitcher who came back.
Dunno. I don't know what needs to be fixed. I just know that I want it fixed right now.
So I just typed "If the Giants started a seven-game playoff series tomorrow, Barry Zito would probably start a game and Lincecum might be left off the roster." That's the second-stupidest thing you'll read. Here's the stupidest: Eight months ago, I was rooting for Pablo Sandoval to win a Gold Glove.
Eight months ago. He looked great last season. He led the world in UZR. Today he played like the guy who lost his spot in the lineup to Edgar Renteria and Juan Uribe. He was as bad as I've ever seen him, and that includes when he was making the conversion back in 2008.
The five runs scored after:
- An Adrian Beltre double under Sandoval's glove. (1-0)
- A Craig Gentry single that Sandoval knocked down, which led to ...
- A bunt by Alexi Ogando that Sandoval inexplicably let go so he could cover third (3-0)
- A juggle on a probable double-play ball that allowed Josh Hamilton to bat with two outs (5-0)
If Joaquin Arias were at third base today, the game might still be going on. That isn't to say that Lincecum is blameless, as he allowed the hard-hit balls and the RBI doubles. But you can see how Sandoval didn't do anything to help the Giants today.
Games like this will happen, and I'm still fine with Sandoval at third. But this is about to become a thing. And it's going to screw Brandon Belt if he doesn't start hitting. To get Arias at third, the Giants will move Pablo to first. They'll swap out 75 points of OBP for improved defense at third. And after a game like today, you can understand the temptation.
Which is all to say, start hitting, Brandon. And start fielding, Pablo. Or else things will be mighty different, and soon. I'll guess that June 19 is the day Arias at third base becomes the norm, unless Belt starts hitting before then. No pressure, Brandon.
I would rather put a Fathead of a naked Tommy Lasorda on my office wall than see another "Gamer Babe" sign on television. It takes a loss like this to snap. I've snapped. Internet memes get to die out on their own. This one could haunt us for years. Someone set us up the bomb.