Well, sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the opposing pitcher. Often, in fact, when it’s Roy Halladay, one of the best pitchers of this generation. Even more often when you’re a Giants fan.
But today was especially frustrating because, well, Halladay didn’t look great. He consistently got first-pitch strikes and used the leverage to abuse hitters with cutters, splitters and curves, but he didn’t seem to fool the hitters overall. Sandoval got BABIP’d on hard line drives before pounding it directly off the base for a hit, Pagan flied out deep to right, and he and Posey both almost chipped off pieces of the Doc with hard comebackers. Melky walked on four pitches, Belt went 0-2 to a walk, and Huff even draw a walk. With pen. It looked like this:
And then there was that 6-pitch 7th inning, and I knew the game was over.
So let’s move on. We got Halladay’d. A shaky Roy Halladay against a solid Tim Lincecum is still a toss-up; after the disastrous first inning, this matchup wasn’t fair. Still, Melky had a rough game, but Pagan continued his resurgence, Panda extended his hit streak, and Crawford hit his trademark double. They didn’t look great, but it’s not like they completely wet the bed.
Now what’s going on with Lincecum? Well, I’m not as unworried as I was before, but I can keep reminding myself that August 2010 happened, only to be followed by September 2010. I’m not sure how much longer that’ll help to keep me relaxed and confident in Timmy’s ability to rebound, but that August was 5 games, not 3, so the world hasn’t come to an end yet. The official line right now is that there’s nothing structurally wrong with Lincecum, but he definitely wasn’t his normal self. He threw his four-seam fastball just 25 times, out of 94 total, and relied on off-speed stuff the rest of the time. I’m not sure I’ll ever really trust a pitcher who says that he’s fine despite obvious clues, but for now, that’s all we have to work with.
But I will admit, Lincekkah isn’t quite the holiday it used to be. A ran a poll on the site last year asking which pitcher I would choose in a Game 7, must-win scenario. Lincecum was the runaway winner, as you’d expect, with Cain and Vogelsong trailing. If I were to ask that question again, what would the answer be? Almost certainly not Lincecum, which is a pretty stunning development on its own.
Stats of the day:
9: First-inning runs surrendered by Lincecum this season so far.
5: Consecutive games without grounding into a double play. The Giants had 11 baserunners – 8 hits, 3 walks – and only two of those runners scored. The Giants are losing, but not in the same ol’ way as before.
4: Innings pitched by Halladay with <10 pitches.
3: Straight games that Lincecum has given up at least 5 runs.
2: Total pitches seen by Aubrey Huff in his four plate appearances. Or at least it felt that way.
1: Hit given up by Dan Otero in two innings. Kid looked good.
Bonus Stat of the day:
Captain Underpants: What it sounds like if you say “Captain Hunter Pence” quickly. Try it. Then try it again.
In fact, let’s try this again:
Starter Confidence Poll Redux