8 Observations From the Giants’ Win Over the Blue Jays


Apr 20, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum (55) pitches during the seventh inning against the San Diego Padres at AT

Tim Lincecum mustered one of his better starts of 2013, as the San Francisco Giants held on to beat the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night 2-1.

Andres Torres’ two-run homer erased Edwin Encarnacion’s solo shot in the first inning, and Lincecum didn’t need any more support.
1. After Lincecum left a meaty fastball over the center of the plate to Edwin Encarnacion–it landed on the building in center field, or in short, Barry Bonds territory–he used his curveball more and more. Brooks Baseball claims he threw 31. To put that into perspective, he threw 35 four-seam fastballs. He flopped it into get strike one, he threw it in 3-1 counts, 2-1 counts and even a little when he was ahead. It only garnered three whiffs, per Brooks Baseball, but it was effective.

2. Jose Bautista and Encarnacion could’ve combined for three homers, but the spacious AT&T Park and Andres Torres’ speed saved Lincecum twice. Exhibit A: Bautista pulled a hanging curveball on the inner half of the plate down the left field line, which, for a second, looked to be on its way to the bleachers. But Andres Torres tracked it down. After Bautista just missed his 13th homer of the year, Encarnacion lined one onto the warning track. Yes, it was another location mistake, but it’s AT&T Park, not the hitter-friendly Rogers Centre.

3. The Giants, as simple as it may sound, need quality starts from their starters. They are now 16-6 when the starter whirls a quality start–six innings, three runs or less. Entering the game, the rotation recorded just four quality starts over the last 19 games, and Tuesday marks Lincecum’s fourth of the season.

May 23, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion (10) celebrates his grand slam home run against the Baltimore Orioles in the sixth inning with right fielder Jose Bautista (19) and left fielder Melky Cabrera (53) at the Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

4. Melky Cabrera’s return to AT&T Park wasn’t as bad as I expected. Sure, he got booed, but it wasn’t terrible. Cabrera went 2-for-4 after going 5-for-8 against his former teammates in Toronto a couple weeks ago. He can still hit, folks. His double-digit home run power might be gone for good, however.

5. Torres’ home run off Josh Johnson in the second inning was, well, unexpected. It was just his second long ball of the year, and Johnson’s career HR/9 rate of 0.6 doesn’t exactly suggest that he’s a common victim of the long ball. But he hung an elevated changeup on the outer-half of the plate, and Torres swatted it. No, we’re not talking Encarnacion-distance, but it wasn’t a cheapy.

6. Back to Lincecum. Per ESPN.com, he threw 10-of-23 first-pitch strikes. He pitched well overall, but that ratio isn’t very good. But it’s interesting because Lincecum had one of his more efficient outings of the year. He threw 17 pitches in a shaky first inning, but from that point forward, he didn’t use more than 16 pitches in an inning. He is one of those pitchers that can pitch from behind in a count because of his stuff, but his command is the equalizer. On Tuesday, he had command, and he stayed afloat.

May 29, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum (55) delivers a pitch against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning at AT

7. Alfonso Marquez–yes, the same umpire who blew two calls last Saturday–made another debatable call in the sixth inning. The situation: Bautista sharply lined out to Pablo Sandoval at third base. Sandoval threw wide to Marco Scutaro, but the throw beat Johnson, the runner diving back to second base. However, after he barely nicked the base, Scutaro tumbled and the ball came out of his glove. The call stood, and the Giants escaped the threat, but Scutaro really never had control of the ball. It’s debatable, but hey, Marquez owes the Giants a few.

8. Lincecum on five days rest: 2.95 ERA. The extra day of rest will be a discussion point over the next few days, and with Chad Gaudin scheduled to pitch on Sunday (June 9) against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Lincecum would again be pitching on extra rest. Since the Giants have an off day on June 10, that’s six days of rest. On six days of rest, he has a 2.25 ERA, but he’s only been in that situation once, obviously.