The Giants have said for months that Tim Lincecum will be viewed as a relief candidate, but the calendar might pave the way for them to reconsider that stance. Lincecum will throw his showcase Friday at 2:30pm in Scottsdale, two days after Jake Peavy’s start in Cincinnati and one day after Matt Cain’s start against the Rockies.
Lincecum, speaking publicly for the first time since September, told MLB Network’s Jon Heyman that he feels good, and he has been paying attention to the situation in his old home.
“I know the Giants have five or six starters … so I know I may have to look elsewhere,” Lincecum said. “I know what I’m fighting for, and I’m fighting to get back to starting.”
If Lincecum was looking for a gap to join the Giants rotation -- either soon, or at some point further down the line -- it certainly is widening. Peavy’s ERA is 9.00 after he gave up seven earned runs and four homers in a 7-4 loss in Cincinnati on Wednesday. Cain takes a 7.00 ERA into his sixth start.
Manager Bruce Bochy has continued to stand behind his guys, and on Wednesday he credited Peavy for throwing well after a five-run second, saying “he shined in moments.”
“The second inning got him, obviously it was a big inning,” Bochy said. “After that he was more like Jake, making some good pitches. He made one mistake there, but he just couldn’t stop it in the second inning. The long ball got him.”
Peavy tied a career-high by allowing the four homers. He said the eight strikeouts show that his stuff is fine.
“It was just poor execution in the second,” Peavy said. “It’s not a matter of stuff really. It just comes down to execution. I struck out eight guys today — the swing-and-miss stuff was there. It’s just got to be way better execution.”
Bochy agreed that Peavy’s stuff was there, and he insisted that Peavy is healthy. Cain’s stuff has generally been good, too, with his fastball getting back up to 93 mph after an injury-shortened season. Still, at some point the Giants will need more than stuff. They’ll need results, and Peavy and Cain have allowed 50 earned runs thus far.
After Cain’s last start, Bochy said the Giants weren’t close to a rotation shake-up. “I don’t think there’s an option that’s going to make the staff better,” he said. By Friday, that thinking might change a bit.