He made it into the seventh inning last Thursday night with the no-hitter intact, and when he finally came off the mound in the same inning, the line score wasn’t nearly as strong as his performance indicated. Nonetheless, Tim Lincecum would garner his 10th win of the 2009 season.
Along with Matt Cain, Lincecum is part of dominant top-two in the San Francisco Giants rotation, a rotation that has led the 49-39 Giants from being a former laughing stock in the National League to current leaders of the NL Wild Card race.
How great it looks to have the Dodgers and Giants atop a division once again.
Both former first round draft picks, Lincecum (10-2, 2.33 ERA) and Cain (10-2, 2.38 ERA) have almost identical numbers, each having 18 starts. And it appears Cain is OK after taking a line-drive off the elbow.
The sole reason the Giants are leading the NL Wild Card is pitching, specifically starting pitching. They have had only six starting pitchers this entire season, with the only exit from the season opening rotation being Jonathan Sanchez—he was sent to the bullpen but was promoted back to the rotation when Johnson went down with an injury.
I wonder how Sanchez will do back as a starter? Maybe his almost perfect was because he found himself again in the bullpen. After three appearances in the pen (4 IP), he struck out five and did not walk a batter.
Do I smell a Joba-type controversy?
The point is that Sanchez is home grown, as is his recently called-up replacement Ryan Sadowski (2-1, 1.00 ERA), a 12th round pick in 2003. Closer Brian Wilson (24th round) is from the same draft which produced Sadowski.
Now, some of the young position players are beginning to produce, such as 1B Travis Ishikawa, Pablo Sandoval and Nate Schierholtz. They also just recalled John Bowker, an OF who has been tearing up AAA pitching.
And the Giants have much more down on the farm ready to contribute.
The Giants are six games ahead of the New York Mets, a team which had decided to go in a different direction than the Giants. The Mets went with major free agents (Beltran and Castillo) and big time trades which cost the team prospects AND big money.
For a few exceptions, namely Barry Zito and Randy Johnson, most of the Giants team is home grown. I recently wrote a piece which stated the Mets would be better in the long run by seeking out a trade for David Wright for good, young pitching and good defensive players.
It was not well received. But even though most people disagree, it doesn’t mean the facts are incorrect.
Despite the two-game offensive barrage against the downward spiraling Cincinnati Reds, and the “huge” trade for Jeff Francoeur, the Mets will continue to flounder in the NL East. While the flaky Oliver Perez has returned from his “knee injury,” the Mets STILL do not have the pitching to compete in that division.
They need to get some younger pitching and allow their younger guys to get a shot in the second half. No more Livan Hernandez and Tim Redding starting games. Bring up Jonathan Niese and let him get the 15-or-so starts the No. 5 starter will receive.
After a slow start, Niese has excelled lately in Buffalo. It will only make him better for NEXT season.
Also, now that Fernando Nieve has turned into the second-coming of Nelson Figueroa, he should only be given another start or two, and when Nieve continues his decline, why not give Tobi Stoner a shot?
Promoted to AAA last month, Stoner has performed admirably (2-2, 4.38 ERA) at that level. As a college drafted player from 2006, he needs to be on the 40-man roster by November. Why not include him sooner?
Are the Mets really saving 40-man roster spots for Ken Takahashi (40-years-old), Elmer Dessens (38) and Carlos Muniz (28)? And where does 30-year-old superstar OF Cory Sullivan fit into the long range plans of the Mets?
And if Niese replaces Nieve, the equipment guy only has to change one letter on the back of the uniform.
The current crop of players have not won since being together, and during the last two seasons the Mets have collapsed late. Whatever the reasons are for the prior and current mess they brought upon themselves, the process of “scrap heap” pickups and playing aging veterans has to stop.
Besides Mike Pelfrey, Minaya has yet to draft and develop anybody of major league quality in his seven seasons as a major league GM. It is time for the young guys to get a shot. But we know that Minaya can't play that game because his job might be on the line.
With the stellar job he has done thus far with a big bankroll, what other job in major league baseball will he be able to get?
So Omar will continue with his current method of overpaid non-winners, who will end up playing before sparse crowds in the new CitiField. Winning teams have always won by drafting well, not writing big checks.
But for the sake of the franchise, Omar needs to follow the lead of San Francisco, Tampa Bay, Florida and Los Angeles as a few of the teams which has developed their own players. These players were given the opportunity (more than two straight three-game series), and they have begun to produce. Omar needs to do that even if he is not around to reap the rewards.
The Giants are the best example of what a team with young pitching and a big ballpark can do.
They can lead the National League Wild Card race, just a year after being a doormat.