Different day, same struggle: Paul Goldschmidt continued to be Tim Lincecum’s nightmare on Opening Night at AT&T Park. The game seemed one-sided from the first inning as Lincecum felt the bite of Goldschmidt and the rest of the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Francisco Giants fell to their NL West rivals 7-3.
Lincecum was off his command from the first pitch, quickly giving up a triple and four pitch walk to Gerardo Parra and Martin Prado. Paul Goldschmidt continued to make Lincecum’s life terrible with a three run home run to put the Diamondbacks up quickly. “I left pitches up, and I had to pay for them,” he said after the game.
Manager Bruce Bochy also saw the struggle, adding, “The first inning is critical for a starter, and he was off.”
The first inning threw Lincecum off, and the damage continued. Another home run, this time from Parra, and a triple from Eric Chavez added to the damage. Four innings, seven hits, and seven runs later, Lincecum was done.
Bochy stuck by his 35-million-dollar man, saying, “I’m not worried. He needs to make better pitches, it’s that simple.”
Still, simplicity doesn’t seem to be working for Lincecum. Timing issues with his arm and the offspeed pitches, dropping his shoulder and the ongoing mechanical adjustment challenges have all affected his productivity. Still, these aren’t new problems for the former Cy Young Award winner, and no one has capitalized on his mistakes better than Goldschmidt.
After tonight, Goldschmidt is 13-for-24 against Lincecum, with seven home runs. His dominance began with his first career home run off the Giants’ right-hander, and hasn’t faltered since. Even when his second at-bat led to an out, a run scored along with it.
While Bochy just thought it was one of those days, Lincecum’s trouble with Goldschmidt are a far too common appearance during these matchups. After a while, the pressure of the matchup can become more of a mental hangup. However, when asked if he’d just pitch around Goldschmidt, Lincecum responded with a firm “No.”
While it was a rough outing for the Giants’ starter, the bullpen proved to be a bright spot in a tough game. Yusmeiro Petit, Juan Gutierrez, Jean Machi and David Huff combined to keep Arizona scoreless through five innings, giving up just five runs between them.
Other positive notes included solo shots from both Michael Morse and Buster Posey, both into the left field bleachers. Morse’s was measured at 449 feet, giving a souvenir to the fans up near the top of the section. His homer was the second of the season, and as a side note, fans have seemed to fully embrace “Take On Me” as acceptable walkup music. Posey’s blast was his third of the season.
One more offensive note: Angel Pagan has now hit safely in all nine games this year.
Tomorrow, the Giants will look to take the series against the Diamondbacks as they meet once more at AT&T Park. Righties Ryan Vogelsong and Randall Delgado are slated to face off, and Vogelsong will look to improve from his four-inning, four run outing in Los Angeles on Friday. He, like Lincecum, has referenced problems with mechanics, and will face the tough Diamondbacks lineup tomorrow evening.
Tough matchups may include Miguel Montero, who is batting .316 through 19 at-bats against Vogelsong, and Aaron Hill, who has a .563 average with a home run over 16 ABs.
First pitch at 7:15pm.