The Imaginary Posey/Lincecum Rift
Tim Kawakami wrote an article on the Buster/Timmy relationship at the Merc. You can read it here: http://tinyurl.com/azhpggl
He notes Timmy only pitching to Buster in two of his final 19 starts in 2012 and then goes on to theorize why Bochy kept them *apart* for so many of Tim’s starts. I’ll summarize them and then note the biggest one that Kawakami ignores:
1) they’re just really different dudes. No duh. I can’t imagine they’d be so different that Tim is the only pitcher Buster can’t catch because of a personality difference.
2) Tim liked to pitch to Hector or Eli more than he liked pitching to Buster. If Lincecum is this sensitive I can’t imagine how he ever got to the big league level, much less won 2 Cy Young’s.
3) Posey’s a no-nonsense catcher who “tells his pitcher’s what time it is” and this approach rubs Timmy the wrong way on the mound. Again, if he’s this sensitive, so sensitive as to prefer a catcher who doesn’t say *meanie* words to him, I can’t imagine he’d have gotten as far as he has in his profession.
4) And this is the one Kawakami fails to discuss and I think it’s the most important reason why Posey basically stopped catching Tim in his last 19 starts: Tim is very difficult to catch. And Bochy had the brilliant plan of resting Posey’s ankle throughout the season, ultimately getting him around 100 at bats at first base last year. Pitcher’s are creatures of habit. It was the perfect match to give Buster day’s off from catching an unpredictable pitcher like Lincecum in a predictable rotation that fell on Tim’s starts (allowing regular rest for the ankle and allowing Tim to pitch to a predictable catcher). Resting Posey turned out to be a brilliant move since it was clear he played the playoff’s on his last gallon of gas and adrenaline. Without the regular rest he would probably have been worthless in the 2013 playoffs and then where would we have been?
I suppose there’s a 5th possibility (another one that Kawakami fails to address) having to do with pitch selection. But I haven’t ever noticed Tim shaking off Buster all game. I also haven’t ever heard about a pitch selection rift or seen Lincecum give up a bomb and then glare at Posey. So I don’t think pitch selection is it. But if it is, why not just have Raggs call the game from the dugout. Roger Craig did it for every pitcher on his staff, the Giants could certainly do the same if this was actually the issue…….
My guess is that Posey will get about half as many starts at 1st base this year. The ankle is stronger and he can catch more games behind the dish. And I’m fully expecting to see the Tim/Buster battery working regularly together in this upcoming 2013 season…..