Jul 08

Tim Lincecum Should Be Model To Matt Harvey

With the New York Mets in San Francisco for a three-game series, one of the obvious story lines will be Matt Harvey “auditioning’’ in front of Giants-National League manager Bruce Bochy to be the All-Star Game starter.

One of the best things about Harvey is his competitive drive, and his motivation isn’t the All-Star Game as much as it is to be the best pitcher in the sport.

LINCECUM: Harvey should be paying attention to him.

LINCECUM: Harvey should be paying attention to him.

It wasn’t too long ago his opposition tonight, Tim Lincecum, was considered the best. Not anymore. Here’s a guy who last year was relegated to the bullpen for the World Series.

The reports on Lincecum is he’s lost several mph., off this fastball, a pitch like Harvey’s that was in the high 90s, and danced and darted within the strikezone. Lincecum does not have the same dominance and there are numerous theories, including the torque and violence of his delivery has sapped him.

Whatever it is, Harvey should be paying attention, for what he’s experiencing now – from the cover of Sports Illustrated to dating a model to all the attention – is fleeting. It is the icing on the cake, but not the cake itself.

Harvey appears to have it all, which those around him say includes perspective and attitude. Harvey has nine no-decisions, including seven in games decided by three or fewer runs. Cut those in half to the positive and there shouldn’t be any debate as to whether he starts next Tuesday at Citi Field. Harvey brushes them off with a “that’s baseball,” shrug.

The one thing we haven’t seen from him is his reaction to true adversity. Not getting a few wins is one thing, but Harvey has not experienced losing his stuff, an injury or going on a long slide. He’s not experienced what every great pitcher goes through. From Sandy Koufax to Greg Maddux to Roger Clemens to Pedro Martinez; they’ve all endured getting knocked around by the fickle nature of their sport.

It has been smooth sailing so fair, but it’s never that way from beginning-to-end in a pitching career. So, when Harvey takes the mound tonight, it won’t be about starting an All-Star Game, but maintaining a star status.

Harvey won’t do it tonight because he’s too focused, but in that 24-hour reflective window of his after, he will do himself well to look at Lincecum’s career and understand the fragility of being the top dog.

Understanding it’s not all cream, but at times sour milk, is vital when it comes to being the best. What Harvey has now is the foundation for a great career, but it is something never to be taken for granted.

Nobody understands that more than Lincecum.

As always, your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to answer them. Please follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Jul 17

Mets Chat Room; paging the offense.

Game #91 at Giants

No question, Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito had a lot to do with it, but the Mets’ offense has been in a funk before coming to San Francisco.

The Mets, on a 1-5 slide, have scored just six runs in that span and hit a composite .222. They’ve been shut out three times, including the first two games of this series.

It won’t get any easier tonight against Matt Cain. They will be trying to avoid being shut out in three straight games for the first time since July 25-27, 1992.

Continue reading

May 09

May 9.10: Chat Room, Game #31 vs. Giants: Mother’s Day edition.

Happy Mother’s Day all. Greetings to all moms. Enjoy your day.

The Mets go for the sweep today of the Giants, which would be their tenth straight win at Citi Field. It will be Oliver Perez against Tim Lincecum, perhaps the game’s best pitcher.

After a dismal start, the Mets are only a game out of first place causing me to wonder where they might be if Jason Bay and Jeff Francoeur were hitting at all.

Bay has been getting better at-bats since the team returned home and has driven in first-inning runs in the last two games. Francoeur, after a hot streak to open the season, hasn’t been the same since the 20-inning game in St. Louis.

Francoeur admits to lunging and swinging at pitches outside the zone. He doesn’t have the same patience he had at the start of the season.

Things won’t get easier today against Lincecum.

Luis Castillo is out of the lineup with a bruised left heel and will be replaced by Alex Cora. Rod Barajas returns behind the plate.

Barajas made an interesting comment the other day about Perez, saying he fights himself too much and too quickly when things start to go against him. Perez is the kind of guy who needs a lot of stroking.

Here’s the lineup for the 17-13 Mets behind Perez:

Angel Pagan, CF
Alex Cora, 2B
Jose Reyes, SS
Jason Bay, LF
David Wright, 3B
Ike Davis, 1B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Rod Barajas, C
Oliver Perez, LP

May 07

May 7.10: Chat Room, Game #29 vs. Giants: Limping home.

For the offensively challenged Mets, the Giants aren’t the team they’d like to see this weekend at Citi Field. Not with their pitching anyway.

Jonathan Sanchez against Mike Pelfrey tonight figures to be significant to the Mets on several levels, beginning with questions about the durability of the latter’s shoulder.

Pelfrey complained of tightness after being shelled last Saturday in Philadelphia, but he was cleared after a MRI and light bullpen session Wednesday.

The Mets will miss Matt Cain and Barry Zito this weekend, but will get Tim Lincecum Sunday.
The 17-10 Giants are fresh off a sweep of the Florida Marlins in which their rotation’s ERA was a sparkling 2.57 during the series.

The Mets limp home off a 2-4 road trip a 9-1 homestand. During that homestand Mets pitchers registered a 1.83 ERA and struck out 62-59 innings.

A major storyline during the last homestand was Jerry Manuel juggling the batting order by dropping Jose Reyes to third ahead of Jason Bay.

Despite dismal showings by both Reyes and Bay in Philadelphia and Cincinnati, Manuel will keep that line-up. Bay is hitless in his last 12 at-bats and has one homer and nine RBI on the season.

Here’s the line-up behind Pelfrey:

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
Jose Reyes, SS
Jason Bay, LF
David Wright, 3B
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Ike Davis, 1B
Rod Barajas, C
Mike Pelfrey, RP

Nov 19

NL Cy Young today ….

LINCECUM: My Cy Young Award pick.

LINCECUM: My Cy Young Award pick.

Chris Carpenter, Tim Lincecum and Adam Wainwright. What’s not to like about any of them. Their presence gives their team almost a 70 percent chance of winning on any night.

But, if I could only take one, I’d go with the Giants’ Lincecum. He’d get my Cy Young Award vote today and could walk away with his second straight award.

Carpenter (17-4) led the league in ERA (2.24) and WHIP (1.01). His St. Louis teammate, Wainwright (19-8, 2.63) wins and innings pitched (233) and was fourth in ERA, strikeouts and win percentage.

Lincecum (15-7), however, was consistently dominant, leading the league in strikeouts (261), batting average against (.206) and was second in ERA (2.48) and WHIP (1.05). He only won four less games than Wainwright and two than Carpenter, I wonder how it would have been different if Lincecum had the run support of his Cardinal competition. Lincecum was given 5.83 runs to work with – a wash when compared to Carpenter’s 5.84. Wainwright, however, was given 7.07 runs a game.

While W-L record is a factor, I think Lincecum was superior in more areas than the other two.