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The Imaginary Posey/Lincecum Rift

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on February 13, 2013

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…..

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  1. xoot said, on February 13, 2013 at 7:27 am

    I think you’re right. Last year, during the regular season, Lincecum was absurdly difficult to catch. His pitches bounced all over the place. Instead of forcing Posey to make the extra effort necessary to do that job, and to take the constant bruising that went with it, Bochy gave him a day off. I’ll bet that’s 90% of the story.

    • blade3colorado said, on February 13, 2013 at 12:06 pm

      Xoot, good point. Many of Tim’s SOs occur with his pitches hitting the dirt. That’s his bread and butter area for effectiveness. As you pointed out, this would wear out a catcher, especially one who is still rehabbing his leg (and don’t anyone say that he isn’t – any injury – especially one like this, takes a couple of years to come back from). Again, excellent points. Dirt also said something with regard to it being a slow news day. I agree with that too.

  2. dirtnrocksnomo said, on February 13, 2013 at 7:28 am

    Seems like Kawakami stirring up shit for lack of anything to write. I’ve never understood the often alluded to rift between Posey and Lincecum. They’re just two different cats. I really think that is all there is to it. Not everybody on the roster has to be best buds.

  3. willedav said, on February 13, 2013 at 8:05 am

    Seems to me you would only do something like this if things were going well/not working. Greg Maddux threw to the backup during his Cy years with Braves, so obviously that was something that worked for him and team.
    Lincecum was bad no matter who caught him for most of the year. Since Hector has nowhere near the defensive skills Posey does you would think he would have been clamoring for him if anything.
    Then comes playoffs, TL is brilliant out of the pen and Posey is behind the plate. This whole thing seems like much ado about nothing. But that’s often Kawakami in a nutshell.

  4. ewisco said, on February 13, 2013 at 8:25 am

    regarding the flapaloooza, i’d want to bring the boys as well. are wives invited?

    • Flavor said, on February 13, 2013 at 9:10 am

      Sure, just count them on the list so we know how many tickets to buy. I’ll probably buy the package after I receive PayPal from all who are coming

  5. chipower9 said, on February 13, 2013 at 8:29 am

    I think may be some credence to your theory, Flav (on Kawakami’s unspoken point of Tim being difficult to catch), but think it is probably a combination of all those things, including as Dirt mentions them just being really different.

    I read the other day (will see if I can find the article) where Tim does have the propensity to shake-off a catcher regularly if one of his pitches isn’t working, or if one is working particularly well. He will go to that pitch that is working more frequently, even though the situation (hitter, count, etc.) might “textbook” call for a different pitch. You know, if the Giants continue to have the success they had last year, I could give a flying fuck about the “rift” between Buster and Timmy.

    It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

  6. twinfan1 said, on February 13, 2013 at 8:45 am

    Timmy is just as difficult to catch when he’s pitching at his best- and at his best he be bouncing shit. Kawakami’s piece is totally plausible- as is just about any theory on this, really.
    As Kawakami says, “It’s almost certainly true that Lincecum has never told Bochy he disliked pitching to Posey, and I know Posey wants to catch Lincecum.But it’s probably just as true that Bochy knew Lincecum was more comfortable with Sanchez or Eli Whiteside.”
    And he loved pitching to Molina, who was a coddler, “coaxed his pitchers, pumped them up”. He did win those CY’s with Bengie catching him.
    Anyway- Craig and Kawakami arrive at the same conclusion, anyway. Buster will catch Tim more. But I’d suspect that’s a directive, not a sudden appreciation for each other.

    • twinfan1 said, on February 13, 2013 at 9:34 am

      I still think the “smoking gun” was Eli catching him twice last year .With Hector, they had some decent chance of productivity offensively. Eli sucked “both ways”.

  7. chipower9 said, on February 13, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Just went back and caught up on the Flapalooza from yesterday’s thread. September 7th – I am definitely in. Club level would be sweet, as you can go inside and chat, and still catch the game. So Eric you are bringing your boys and the wife? I may bring Gail along with me, too (wasn’t sure if this was “just the boys”).

    • ewisco said, on February 13, 2013 at 11:19 am

      I would definitely want to bring the twins. the wife hates being left behind for giants games but she may have to work, though with enough notice she should be able to get the time off. it might be interesting to have the wives. but then again . . .

    • blade3colorado said, on February 13, 2013 at 12:52 pm

      The more the merrier. Besides, Ferret (Jean) is a woman and I hope she hangs with us. There are a couple of other females who occasionally post here too and I hope they are down with this and show up.

  8. willedav said, on February 13, 2013 at 9:57 am

    I still think it was more Bochy searching for something that was gonna work and help turn lincecum around/boost his confidence (and I think postseason finally did that). Typical outing TL would have stretches where he was dominating, and then get whacked around, often when he put guys on base. And as all we all know he’s terrible at holding runners on. I know his BABIP was way high, just seemed he couldn’t put guys away when he needed to.
    I think it’s great Belt is to play more in ST in LF. End result (yes the D takes a hit) but Hector replaces a LF in the LU while posey and belt stay in there. Belt does fine vs. LHP. According to Chron with Pagan and Torres in the WBC Brown gets a chance to play different spots. bochy is quoted, “I want to move him around a little bit and take a look at it.” Hey, if he does hit .472 maybe he opens up a spot for himself.

  9. Bozo said, on February 13, 2013 at 10:05 am

    I’m thinking that it wouldn’t matter if Boch put the gear on this year, Timmy is going to kick some ass no matter who catches him. Nothing to back that up, just a gut feeling on my part,

    • chipower9 said, on February 13, 2013 at 10:06 am

      I agree.

  10. twinfan1 said, on February 13, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Zito was displeased with some of Posey’s pitch calls, but ultimately took responsibilty on himself because the pitcher does make the final decision on what to throw.He said he should have shaken off some of Buster’s calls..

  11. dirtnrocksnomo said, on February 13, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Is Sanchez participating in the WBC? I hope not because he needs to work on his catching skills. Watching him stab, stab, stab at pitches last year was painful.

  12. twinfan1 said, on February 13, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Henry tweets:
    “Lincecum throwing to Posey in first bullpen. He said one goal this spring was connecting more with Posey”
    Good idea, bro…
    Hector played 21 games in the VWL. He’s in camp and thinks it’s too chilly..

  13. snarkk said, on February 13, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    I’ve been down for two days with a massive case of tonsilitis, so I’ve missed the Flapalooza Folderol. Count me in for Sept 7. I went yesterday to the lady doctor ( I ALWAYS choose lady doctors, a benefit of a PPO, that choice, I mean), she took one look at the back of my throat and said “Oh, wow, you poor guy, you must really be in pain”. Would a male doctor have that bedside manner? Anyway, the antibiotics are kicking in, and the tennis balls on both sides of my throat are now about golf ball size, and the splitting 2 day headache is almost gone. You do not want this shit, although it’s probably helped drop 4 or 5 pounds with the fever. Giants – Dbacks sounds like a good tussle in September, hopefully a meaningful game…

  14. chipower9 said, on February 13, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Flavor – just sent you an email with details on the group tickets for Flapalooza.

  15. xoot said, on February 13, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    The 2010 PS, especially game 1 vs. Atlanta and the game 5 finale vs. Texas, may represent the best work Lincecum and Posey have done together. But there have been many other successes along the way:

    • xoot said, on February 13, 2013 at 12:42 pm

      Forgot to note–that game on the video was four days before Buster got railroaded at HP.

  16. Alleykat said, on February 13, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Hell i don’t put any stock in what Kawakama.says.Never thought he is nothing but a a mouth-piece.
    I was walking by the glass booth,where he and Baggs.hangout for the game.This was 2010 and i had a second before the game,so i said to him,looks like the Giants are making a run to over ketch.the Padres.who had a big lead and we cut it to 4 games.He just looked.at.me with his blank stare.then said”Well if the pitchers.and hitters.come.around.maybe.Baggs had a.look that was agreeing.with me.as.he.was shaking.his.head.behind Nummnuts!!!

  17. Alleykat said, on February 13, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Like Twin said earlier,pitchers have the final say on what they want to throw.

    Great example,the last out in the W/S.Romo against Cabera,Romo threw him 5 straight sliders,Posey wanted a sixth.Romo shook him off and froze him with the fastball.Game,Set W/S thanks for coming.

  18. twinfan1 said, on February 13, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Baggarly has said a lot the same stuff that Kawakami and others have said. He was especially suspicious after the first Whiteside start.

  19. snarkk said, on February 13, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    I think it better than 50-50 that this is Timmeh’s last year with the Giants, regardless of whether he comes back to some type of his earlier form, or continues to struggle. I hope he has a solid season, and I could care less who catches him. I think it makes little difference in the scheme of things with a veteran pitcher. Tim was a young pitcher when Bengie caught him, so some guidance from an experienced catcher was obviously a good thing. Now, I think it doesn’t matter much. He’s one of my favorite Giants of all time, and has been generally a great character to have on this team, not to mention his obvious contributions to the stretch of success it’s had. I will savor his games this year…

    • blade3colorado said, on February 13, 2013 at 1:50 pm

      Tom, excellent post. I agree that Tim will probably be gone after this year. In fact, there are a couple of scenarios where he may be gone by the trade deadline. Should the Giants do a face plant this season – unlikely, but who knows for certain – the entire “paradigm” for success will probably be evaluated and fine tuned. Not necessarily whole sale changes, i.e., pitching will always come first here in my opinion. This fine tuning will occur as early as the trade deadline if the Giants are out of contention. Again, no way, no how, I am saying that the GMen will collapse, but stranger things have occurred.

      Regarding Lincecum – he will be moved if the situation warrants it this season, not next season. One thing I like about this Giants brain trust is the fact that they are constantly trying to improve the team and it’s very reminiscent of the 49ers and Walsh in their glory years, e.g., trade of Montana, Lott, Craig, etc. In short, the organization always comes first.

      • snarkk said, on February 13, 2013 at 2:21 pm

        The Yankees have a rule against long hair…

      • unca_chuck said, on February 13, 2013 at 4:46 pm

        Timmy already cut his in preparation . . .

      • snarkk said, on February 13, 2013 at 8:20 pm

        That’s my point…

  20. chipower9 said, on February 13, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    I am not entirely convinced that Tim is gone after this year. If he pitches well, then I see the Giants making a big run at trying to retain him. I have seen quite a few interviews where he talks about playing here, and I believe he is genuine when he talks about how much he loves playing here, and with this group of players. I think it is entirely too early to be calling for his definitive departure after this year.

    • snarkk said, on February 13, 2013 at 3:22 pm

      Chi, I dunno what kind of year he’ll have, but IMO if Tim has even an average year, let alone a good one, some teams are going to throw a ton of money at him. The Giants won’t, not the way they threw it at Cain. As Blade said, it’s possible they could even trade him before the deadline, but I think that’s less than 50-50 because there’s really no starter down below that’s ready to take a rotation spot with the big club. Tim’s a fan favorite, but the stadium sells out whether he’s on the club or not…

  21. dirtnrocksnomo said, on February 13, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Lincecum has always seemed to me to be a dude on an island in the clubhouse. Not that he doesn’t get along with the other fellas but when he first came up he was glossed the “Franchise” and I am sure some vets, whether reported or not, sort of rolled their eyes. Molina took him under his wing and helped guide him to success. Then poof, bye bye Molina. It was only natural that he had reservations about Posey but I don’t think there is anything to that anymore. After that Wilson seemed to be the only one Lincecum connected with and now its pretty much adios Wilson. Lincecum probably feels as isolated as ever but I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing. He needs that pissed of me against the world attitude approach. It feeds his confidence and success. A contract year only adds more fuel the to the fire.

    • xoot said, on February 13, 2013 at 3:26 pm

      Over the years, during batting-practice the only guy I’ve ever seen Lincecum hanging with in the OF as if he was enjoying it was Brad Penny. They looked a bit funny next to each other.

  22. xoot said, on February 13, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    Last year was an aberration for Lincecum in many ways. He threw one WP every 11.2 IP in 2012. In 09, 10 and 11 it had been one every 23.7, 25.6 and 24.4 IP. (I can’t blame all of that huge change on Hector.) In any event, who can say how soon another aberrant year may come around? Even if Lincecum pitches well this year, the Giants aren’t going to be excited about a long-term deal. Other teams may be.

    • twinfan1 said, on February 13, 2013 at 4:08 pm

      Well, Buster caught 973 innings and there were 26 WP, 1 per 37 IP. Hector caught 441 innings and there were 24 WP, 1 per 18.3 IP.

      • xoot said, on February 13, 2013 at 4:11 pm

        yeah, I agree — Hector spent a lot of time chasing those Lincecum breaking balls and splitters in the dirt.

  23. twinfan1 said, on February 13, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    I’ve posted for a couple/three years that Tim wil leave when he’s eligible. A return to CY form makes it a dead ass certainty- a poor year muddies the waters. Who would want him at even half what he’s getting now?

    • Flavor said, on February 13, 2013 at 4:39 pm

      I think it depends on Zito’s year. Yeah, I went ahead and said it! 🙂 If Tim has a middling or shitty year and Zito wins 15 (or more) again it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to see the Giants extend Zito and wave ba-bye to Timmy. They aren’t going to want to have to fill 40% of their rotation (Tim and Zito) and it could be 60% if Voggy leaves and there’s a team buy out on him after this season. If Zito *reverts* then they might just cut the cord with him for 7 mil and turn to Timmy who, as you said, could probably be had for half what he’s getting now (if he has a middling year) and he’d be expected to fill out the 4 spot in the rotation.
      And when I say *middling* I mean just that—something in the middle. Not the shit he produced last year. In 162 innings last year (the *qualifier cut off*) he had the worst era in the National League at 5.18. And it really wasn’t close for 2nd to last with Joe Blanton at 4.71.

    • twinfan1 said, on February 13, 2013 at 5:12 pm

      I doubt that you want to hear about their VORPs. Or that “other stuff”. So I’ll just say what fine a man Zito appears to be-and I did like your post about “Timmy” being the perfect nickname for Lincecum now.

  24. DJLoo said, on February 13, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    I’m not happy about Tim’s haircut. I think it’s a contract year ploy that his agent probably thought up to make him more appealing to a team like the Yankees.
    KInda like a filthy lowlife criminal who shows up in court all cleancut in a suit & tie…

    • Flavor said, on February 13, 2013 at 4:40 pm

      I don’t think that’s it, his performance will do the talking and plenty of teams will trip over themselves to sign him if he *reverts*.
      But I like the devious angle Loo, you’re thinking out of the box.

      • snarkk said, on February 13, 2013 at 8:21 pm

        I was out of the box at 2:21…

      • Flavor said, on February 13, 2013 at 8:29 pm

        yes, it appears you were. So does that make Loo an *out of box* groupie? An out-of-box *coterie hanger on*?

  25. Flavor said, on February 13, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Something I did not know about Voggy (and am a little embarrassed to not know this). I thought Voggy came back from Japan and signed with the Giants. But I just read that he was signed by The Phillies upon his return from Japan (signing with them in 2010). He was released 7 months later in July. Two weeks later he was signed by the Angels who released him after the season ended. He never pitched for either team at the big league level and it’s surprising to me that they neither team wanted to keep him around just for AAA roster depth………

  26. twinfan1 said, on February 13, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    If it’s still the way it was when I was going to the games, a guy who looked like Tim does now couldn’t buy a beer with 12 photo IDs and voucher from the President. If you didn’t look 21 you could not buy beer, period. And at the old ‘Stick, I was carded when I was FIFTY…..
    I digress- I like the idea of a new look but THIS? And think of what it’s done to the cabbie look alike guy. His life is fucked. Now the dude will have to pretend he’s Alanis Morisette…


    • DJLoo said, on February 13, 2013 at 5:19 pm

      At Citifield they’ll card you if you’re 136.

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