Another night, another disappointing performance for Tim Lincecum.
The two-time Cy Young Award failed to get back on track last night against the Marlins, giving up six runs over 5 2/3 innings as part of a 7-6 loss.
Lincecum allowed just one run over the first five innings — a long solo blast by Giancarlo Stanton which actually hit the home run thing in left-center field — before coming unglued in his final inning of work. He gave up three hits, a walk and a sacrifice fly to tie the game and then a go-ahead three-run homer to Chris Coghlan before Giants manager Bruce Bochy brought the hook.
Lincecum has allowed four runs or more in four straight starts and now owns an unlikely 6.41 ERA over his first 10 starts this year. The only qualified starting pitchers with a higher ERA are Luke Hochevar, Mike Minor and Clay Buchholz.
Giants trainer Dave Groeschner assured Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com after last night’s start that Lincecum is healthy, but his prolonged funk remains one of the biggest surprises of the 2012 campaign.
Your Friday box scores:
Cubs 0, Pirates 1
Royals 2, Orioles 8
Padres 1, Mets 6
Rays 7, Red Sox 4
Rockies 6, Reds 3
Blue Jays 3, Rangers 14
Tigers 10, Twins 6
Nationals 7, Braves 4
Indians 3, White Sox 9
Phillies 5, Cardinals 3 (10 innings)
Yankees 6, Athletics 3
Brewers 7, Diamondbacks 1
Angels 6, Mariners 4
Astros 3, Dodgers 1
Last week it was widely speculated that Shohei Otani, the highly-touted Japanese pitcher/designated hitter who stars for the Nippon Ham Fighters, would not come to the United States to play due to changes in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The upshot: the new CBA caps money available to international free agents under age 25 at $5-6 million and Otani, 22, would be worth way more than that, so why take the pay cut?
Now, however, Jeff Passan of Yahoo reports that the Fighters are set to post Shotei Otani following the 2017 season. Passan says that his sources have told him that there are potential ways around the limit on spending for under-25 players like Shohei Otani and he links a Japanese article from Sponichi which says the Fighters would post him after the 2017 season.
It’d be interesting to see what that loophole is. Without knowing the exact terms of the CBA on this score it’s impossible to know, but one possibility is that there are different rules applicable to those with professional experience in other countries as opposed to amateur free agents.
Whatever the case, the notion that we could see Otani in the U.S. at age 23 or 24 is pretty exciting.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.