July 14, 2013 · 21:29
“It’s pretty surreal for me to be a part of that, obviously I’ve gotten to see a couple of those, but to be in the middle of one is a little different. I’m still kind of pinching myself right now.” Tim Lincecum
Last night in San Diego San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum added another accomplishment to his career. The two time National League Cy Young Award winner and Most Valuable Player pitched his first no hitter against the San Diego Padres. It happened 11 days after the Giant’s were the victims of the first no-hitter of the season pitched by Homer Bailey of the Cincinnati Reds.
I tuned in late to the MLB channel when I saw a tweet that Lincecum was pitching a no-hitter through 6 innings. Watching Lincecum, his shirt drenched in sweat shut down the Padres over the next three innings was nothing short of amazing. Now shorn of the long hair that was a part of his image since his first year in the majors Lincecum showed his mettle and with each batter dominated the Padres, striking out 13 during the game.
It was good to see. Lincecum, a pitcher who is a class act and well liked around the league had fallen on hard times since helping lead the Giants to their first World Series title in San Francisco in 2010. In 2011 he went 13 and 14 despite keeping a respectable 2.74 ERA but in 2012 he struggled, eventually being regulated to the bullpen when to the surprise of many he went about his business in a stellar fashion pitching middle relief including during the playoffs and World Series where he was a key part of the Giant’s success in winning their second World Series title in three years.
He has struggled again as a starter in 2013 but has begun to break out of his funk through dogged perseverance. Last night Lincecum, nicknamed “the Freak” no-hit the Padres on 148 pitches. It was the second highest number of pitches served up by a pitcher completing a no-hitter since Edwin Jackson did so with 149 pitches for the Diamondbacks in an inter-league game on June 25th 2010 and the second highest pitch count total in a no-hitter since 1988.
Hunter Pence makes a Diving Catch to Save the No Hitter in the 8th Inning
I am hoping that this really marks the return of the “old” Tom Lincecum, both for his sake and that of the Giants. No matter what it was a magical night where “the Freak” made history and was backed up by the outstanding defense of his team, especially Hunter Pence who made the defensive play of the game to end the 8th inning snagging Alexi Amarista’s sinking liner with a full dive to end the inning. Lincecum said “I thought for sure it was a hit. You see Hunter flying out of nowhere making the flying grab. That was a really impressive big play for us.”
Coming off their 2012 World Series title the first half of the 2013 season has been miserable to say the least. Yet despite a being in 4th place with a 43-51 record the Giants are only 6.5 games behind the NL West leading Arizona Diamondbacks. If Lincecum and his fellow starting pitchers can get back to their old form the Giants could still take the West.
If nothing else last night was something to celebrate, and I like many if not the vast majority of Giants fans hope that this signals the return of “The Freak” to greatness.
Filed under Baseball, News and current events
Tagged as alexi amarista, arizona diamondbacks, Baseball, cincinnati reds, edwin jackson, homer bailey, hunter pence, national league west, no hitters, san diego padres, san francisco giants, the freak, tim lincecum
October 24, 2011 · 20:18
Derek Holland (Getty Images)
I said yesterday that in order to win game four a pitcher had to shut down the opposition. Derek Holland who was solid in the regular season but struggled in the post season pitched a great game and was backed by strong defense.Hollandpitched 8.1 innings allowing just two hits while striking out 7 and walking 2 Cardinals as the Rangers evened their series defeating the Cardinals 4-0.
The game was close as Cardinals starter Edwin Jackson left the game in the top of the 6th inning with two runners aboard and the Rangers leading 1-0. Jackson had allowed three scattered hits but had given up 7 walks, the final two in the top of the 6th leading Tony LaRussa to pull him in favor of Mitchell Boggs who gave up a 3 run home run to Mike Napoli on his first pitch. Holland on the other hand maintained his control, poise and kept the big right handed bats of the Cardinals silent by pitching aggressively on the inside portion of the plate. Albert Pujols who had set a World Series record on Saturday night went 0-4 and both Cardinals hits came from Lance Berkman who doubled and singled. Neftali Feliz got the final two outs for the Rangers securing the win.
The Cardinals had no runs on 4 hits and committed no errors leaving four men on base. The Rangers had 4 runs on 6 hits with no errors and left 8 runners on base. Hollandgot the win andJacksonthe loss.
Tonight the Cardinals will send Chris Carpenter to the mound. Carpenter the victor in game one is probably the best pitcher in the series and I expect a strong outing from him especially if he mixes his devastating curve ball with his other pitches. He will face Rangers ace C J Wilson who was 16-7 with a 2.93 ERA in the regular season but is 0-3 in four starts during the post season. He has pitched 21.1 innings giving up 19 runs 17 of which were earned on 25 hits 6 of which were home runs and has walked 14 while striking out 21. His post season ERA is 7.17. In order to win the Rangers will have to get to Carpenter early and play thatWilsonhas a good start. The Cardinals after having been shut down on Sunday night are certainly going to be out for blood with Wilson on the mound. If Wilson falters expect Ron Washington to pull him early.
One lineup change for the Cardinals is that Jon Jay will not start tonight and is being replaced in center field by Skip Schumaker who hit .283 in the regular season.
We’ll see what happens tonight.
Filed under Baseball
Tagged as 2011 world series, albert pujols, c j wilson, chris carpenter, derek holland, edwin jackson, lance berkman, mike napoli, ron washington, st louis cardinals, texas rangers, tony larussa, world series
October 23, 2011 · 17:42
“I’m sure the ball looked to him like a water balloon up there.” Ranger’s reliever Darren Oliver. Albert Pujols hits his historic 3rd Home Run with 2 outs in the top of the 9th against Darren Oliver
Game three of the World Series between the St Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers was one for the ages. Cardinals First Baseman Albert Pujols set a record for a World Series game going 5-6 with 3 home runs and 6 runs batted in. He is the first player to hit three home runs in a World Series since “Mr. October” Reggie Jackson did it in game six of the 1977 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Babe Ruth how did it in the 1926 and 1927 World Series. Pujols home runs were all massive going 43 feet, 406 feet and 397 feet respectively. One commentator referred to Pujols as “Mr. Octobert” to distinguish him from Jackson.
The game was a big change from games one and two where pitching and defense dominated. In those games the teams scored a combined 8 runs on 23 hits and only committed 2 errors. In those two games the Texas pitching staff had a 2.11 ERA and St Louis a 2.00 ERA. However in game three on a warm and windy night in Arlington the pitching staffs of both teams broke down and both bullpens showed signs of overuse. In game three the teams scored a combined 23 runs on 28 hits and the Rangers committed 3 costly errors plus one that should have been an error which resulted in a blown call at First Base and helped the Cardinals to a big 4th inning. The series ERA for the Rangers ballooned to 6.66 and the Cardinals to 3.80.
Of particular concern for the Rangers is their g0-to man in the bullpen Alexi Ogando who was central to their success as a set up man for closer Neftali Feliz has been thunderstruck during the World Series. He has three appearances and only gotten one out in each appearance. He has given up 5 hits, one being a home run and two walks and allowed 4 runs of which 3 were earned for a 27.00 ERA in the World Series. Ogando has to be on for the Rangers to win.
Conversely the batting averages of the teams which had been very low in games one and two Texas hitting a meager .186 andSt Louisa marginally better 2.03 went up. At the end of game three the Cardinals average was .267 and the Rangers to .252. The Rangers series On Base Percentage (OBP) is .292 and a Slugging Percentage of .378. The Cardinals OBP is now 3.70 and a .455 SLG.
Lance Lynn got the win in relief for the Cardinals and Rangers starting pitcher Matt Harrison took the loss. Tonight Edwin Jackson 12-9 3.79 will be on the hill for the Cardinals and Derek Holland 16-5 3.95 will pitch for the Rangers. Holland has not performed well in the playoffs giving up 8 earned runs and 18 hits including 5 home runs in 13.2 innings. His playoff ERA is 5.27 and his opponent batting average is .305. Jackson too has struggled in the playoffs giving up 8 earned runs on 16 hits with 4 home runs in 12.1 innings. He has a playoff ERA of 5.86 and opponents are hitting .302 off of him. Jackson in his career against the Rangers is 2-3 with a 4.02 ERA and opposing batting average of .244.
Pujols is now hitting .418 in the playoffs with a .492 OBP and .818 SLG. In addition to Pujols mammoth feat David Freese continued his record playoff run hitting safely in 13 consecutive games with 21 hits including 7 doubles and 4 home runs. He has a .429 batting average, .481 OBP and .816 SLG. Allen Craig who has been an amazing pinch hitter during the 2011 playoff made his first start in Left Field hit a hitting a solo home run in the first inning off Matt Harrison.
I expect more fireworks from both teams tonight and think that in order to win one team will have to get a clutch performance out of their pitching staff. The Rangers are down but they are not out. They have the firepower
Filed under Baseball
Tagged as 2011 world series, albert pujols, Alexi Ogando, allen craig, babe ruth, darren oliver, david freese, derek holland, edwin jackson, matt harrison, me octobert, mr october, neftali feliz, reggie jackson, st louis cardinals, texas rangers, world series