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Tim Lincecum and Buster Posey worked well together in the 2012 postseason.
Tim Lincecum has worked primarily with catcher Hector Sanchez since the 2012 season, fueling speculation that there is some sort of rift between he and Buster Posey.
Could this be true?
At one point in his career, Tim Lincecum was the Giants' "face of the franchise." He won two Cy Young awards and was a dominant pitcher.
In the 2012 season, his brilliance was gone and he muddled his way through a 10-15 season, with an ERA of 5.18 and WHIP of 1.468. These numbers were by far the worst of his career.
Meanwhile, in 2010, when Buster Posey broke in with the Giants in late May and the team traded catcher Bengie Molina soon after, it was Posey who would help lead the Giants to their first world championship in San Francisco. Posey was named the NL Rookie of the Year.
Lincecum mentioned on more than one occasion how he missed Molina and how well the two worked together.
After sustaining a devastating leg injury in the 2011 season, Posey would return in top form in 2012. He earned Comeback Player of the Year honors and was the NL MVP. The spotlight on Posey was never brighter, while Lincecum was under a dark cloud.
Did this lead to any jealousy or animosity between Lincecum and Posey?
In the first two starts of Lincecum's 2013 season it was Sanchez, not Posey behind the plate. Sanchez is not nearly the same receiver or pitch-caller that Posey is, but he and Lincecum seem to have found some chemistry.
Manager Bruce Bochy insists there is no problem between Lincecum and Posey. He insists that Posey needs some rest periodically and it just happens to work out that he chooses to give Posey a break on the days Lincecum pitches.
It is no secret that of the Giants' five starting pitchers, Lincecum is by far the most difficult to catch. His command has been very inconsistent and he frequently has no idea where the ball is going. In 11 innings of work in the 2013 season, Lincecum already has an alarming 11 walks.
In addition, the pitch Lincecum uses to get most of his strikeouts, the split finger, often dives down into the dirt. Anyone catching Lincecum is going to get a tough workout and will be constantly blocking balls in the dirt, which will take it's toll on the body and stamina of any catcher.
Lincecum and Posey both insist there's no personality conflict or divisiveness between them. They also worked well together in the 2012 postseason when Lincecum was called on in relief.
The conclusion is that manager Bruce Bochy knows he must give Posey some periodic rest. Also, Sanchez needs some playing time to stay sharp.
Bochy gives Sanchez the start when Lincecum is on the hill, which also saves Posey from getting too beat up. This approach makes perfect sense and we must believe Lincecum and Posey when they say there is no problem between them.