Whatever strides Tim Lincecum made in the playoffs haven’t carried over, as the two-time Cy Young winner followed up a terrible 2012 season by posting a 10.57 ERA in five spring training starts.
Lincecum had 16 strikeouts in 15 innings, but allowed 22 hits and eight walks on the way to 18 runs. That includes five runs in 4.2 innings yesterday, after which Lincecum told Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury News: “I feel like my stuff is there. I definitely have confidence in all of it.”
Brown reports that Lincecum’s fastball topped out at 92 miles per hour yesterday, which is comparable to last season when he averaged 90.4 mph. Back in 2007 and 2008 he averaged 94.1 mph and as recently as 2011 he averaged 92.3.
On Monday, Cubs catcher Willson Contreras showed he was very confident heading into the 2018 season, saying, “I know that I’m going to be better than [Yadier Molina and Buster Posey].” Contreras explained that his goal is to become “the best catcher in the game for a long time — like it was with Yadier Molina, like it is with Buster Posey.”
Apparently, Contreras ruffled Molina’s feathers as the Cardinals’ veteran backstop took to Instagram to respond. Posting a picture of himself with Buster Posey and Salvador Perez, Molina wrote, “Respeten los rangos NOVATOS!! aqui con los q si han probao que son los duros!!” That loosely translates to “respect the ranks,” referring to Contreras as a novice.
Molina is no stranger to using Instagram to air his grievances. He apparently used the social media app to take a swipe or two at manager Mike Matheny last year.
Of course, Molina seems to be misreading the intent of Contreras. Contreras seems to think highly of Molina, having referred to him as being one of the best catchers in the game — even if it was in the past tense. Molina should know, being someone who also competes at the highest level, that having confidence is an important part of the recipe for success. Perhaps this will make for some interesting games during the season, breathing new life into the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry.