Tim Lincecum

Tim Lincecum saves it for utterly spent Giants


PHILADELPHIA – The Giants’ 9-6 victory over the Phillies lasted 14 innings, involved 16 pitchers throwing 507 times to the plate, took five hours and 46 minutes, included more cramping than a track meet for septuagenarians and it finally ended 7 minutes before 1 a.m. Wednesday morning at Citizens Bank Park when Tim Lincecum really and truly recorded his first career save.

“Eck!” shouted Giants coach Shawon Dunston, as Lincecum met with reporters.

“Not without the mustache,” said Lincecum, who is clean-shaven again but for the soul patch.

Rather than rehash every draining detail, which is conveniently available for your digestion in the Instant Replay, let’s jump straight into the zany aftermath.

This is what you didn’t know while you were watching:

–Giants manager Bruce Bochy and interim pitching coach Mark Gardner decided prior to the game to hold off having Lincecum throw his side session, just in case they came upon an emergency-glass situation. Makes sense. Their long guy all season, Yusmeiro Petit, was starting and George Kontos threw two of the bullpen’s six innings the previous night. That turned out to be a prescient thought.

–If the Giants hadn’t taken the lead on Brandon Crawford’s three-run double in the 14th, Lincecum wouldn’t have appeared in the bottom of the inning when Kontos ran out of gas with one out and two aboard.

“I was only going to use Lincecum in that situation, with a lead,” Bochy said.

–If the game had remained tied in the 14th, the next pitcher after Kontos would’ve been left fielder Tyler Colvin, Bochy said.

“I asked him if he’d pitched before and he said high school,” said Bochy, and as a side note, Brandon Belt would’ve been forever jealous if that would have happened.

–Lincecum is still good to go Friday against the Dodgers at AT&T Park. He went down to the bullpen in the 13th and ended up throwing 21 pitches. And yes, as he jogged out to the mound, he did think back to his relief appearance here in Game 6 of the 2010 NLCS.

“Just get outs,” he said, asked his mindset. “Really, just try to keep my teammate’s runs from scoring. … That just shows a lot from our guys. Putting in all that work that they did, you want to make sure it isn’t for nothing.”

Lincecum did allow one of his two inherited runners to score, on a ground out. He wasn’t happy about that. It was the only run Giants relievers have allowed in 15 innings over two games here.

–Yes, a pitcher has thrown a no-hitter and recorded a save in the same season. Sandy Koufax actually did it three times, in 1962, ’64 and ’65.

–How did Hector Sanchez, who caught all 248 pitches, look to Lincecum in the 14th?

“Like he was wearing it pretty good,” said Lincecum, “and I wasn’t helping the cause.”

Sanchez was cramping up between pitches. Afterward, he did shirtless jumping jacks on his way to the shower, and yelled out, “I’m ready to go tomorrow!” He was joking, of course.

–Kontos threw 40 pitches one night after he threw 21, and said he could give Bochy a couple batters if needed on Wednesday. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t joking.

“I pride myself on being able to do this kind of thing,” said Kontos, who began his pro career as a starter.

–The Giants’ nine pitchers matched the second most used in a game in all-time franchise history. They used 11 in an 11-inning loss in 2012 against the Diamondbacks at AT&T Park. Oddly enough, Kontos, the winning pitcher in both of these games in Philadelphia, took the loss that day.

–Bochy said he didn’t anticipate a roster move despite the heavy bullpen usage. Jeremy Affeldt threw 39 pitches and will be off-limits, and so will Kontos no matter what he says. But other guys went short enough to be available. Regardless, Wednesday night would be an excellent time for Madison Bumgarner to flirt with a complete game.

–Madison Bumgarner had a hitter’s shin guard strapped to his leg pretty much from the 11th inning on, which shouldn’t surprise you. He wasn’t used. Tim Hudson and Ryan Vogelsong were the only other Giants who didn’t get into the game.

–Buster Posey had four hits, finished a triple short of the cycle, matched his career high with three extra-base hits, improved to 10 for 23 on the trip (.435) and took the team lead with 53 RBIs. His tying, ninth-inning home run off Jonathan Papelbon was the first the Phillies’ closer had allowed all season. He had faced 148 batters before Posey took him deep.

“He’s a good player, and when those players get in that zone, they’re fun to watch,” Bochy said.

It wouldn’t have been as much fun for Posey if he had started behind the plate.

–Crawford, who earlier in the game committed his second error in two nights, had what might have ranked among his biggest hits ever against a right-hander. He was batting .207 against them entering the game but his three-run double off Jeff Manship snapped a tie in the 14th.

“They were getting a little tired,” said Crawford, asked if he had his legs under him. “I think everybody’s were. I tried to keep it simple. We only needed one run. I tried to stay compact, more than earlier in the game, and hit it on the barrel.”

–Bochy cancelled batting practice and players will arrive later than usual on Wednesday. Strength and conditioning coach Carl Kochan yelled to Sanchez to meet him at 2 p.m. to run stadium stairs. He was joking. Even if he were serious, Sanchez would not be running stadium stairs.

–Joe Panik’s ankle swelled up after he sprained it while trying to avoid pitcher Roberto Hernandez’s foot at first base in the first inning. He was replaced in the bottom of the second. He expects to be out two days or so, but the Giants aren’t discussing the disabled list.

–Because of Panik’s injury, Ehire Adrianza had seven at-bats in a game he didn’t start, which established an all-time Giants franchise record. The previous mark of six at-bats (also plate appearances) was done many times, last by Harry Spilman in 1986.

(Yuniesky Betancourt was the last big leaguer to come off the bench and get seven at-bats, for the Royals in 2012. The major league record is nine – and 10 plate appearances, too – by Tom Paciorek for the White Sox in 1984.)

–Finally, Panik’s parents earned the Croix de Broad Street. They were among the select few who stayed for the entire game.

“A couple friends, too,” he said. “They’re troopers.”

Them, and everyone else on the visiting side.

Starts times of postseason games announced


Every year the playoff schedule is announced, every year people complain. And it’s understandable why they do. After six months of games starting at around 7pm — bam! — the playoffs come and you’re either staying up late or tuning in early to watch your local nine.

Of course, the reason for this is that Major League Baseball has two fundamental problems to deal with when the playoffs come around (a) the country is big; and (b) baseball is local and two-thirds and more of the fans don’t have a local team to root for in the playoffs. As such, baseball has to make a schedule that somehow deals with teams — like the Mets and Dodgers — who have big time differences between their home fan bases while trying to rope in as many national viewers as possible.

This means compromises and weirdness like, say, the first couple of Mets-Dodgers games starting after 9pm Eastern time on Friday and Saturday. Or the Texas Rangers starting a game at what, back home in Texas, will be 11:45AM. Which, admittedly, aren’t great start times, but do we expect Dodgers fans in L.A. to fight Friday rush hour traffic and be home in time to watch a game featuring the local team any earlier than 6pm? Seems like a tall order.

Anyway, the early round schedule was just released and you can see it below. If you are so inclined you can find all manner of inconveniences here. Sure, if you don’t have a job — or if being online and watching baseball all day is your job — Friday’s back-to-back-to-back-to-back playoff games are pretty sweet. But otherwise, just plan accordingly and do the best you can.

And remember: no one gives a rip about these schedule issues about ten minutes after the games start:

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Wild Card, Division series umpires announced

Angel Hernandez

Major League Baseball just released the umpire assignments for the Wild Card Game and the Division Series. As always, the basis for these assignments is a proprietary, scientific calculation undertaken by Major League Baseball, mixing in (a) skill; (b) seniority; and (c) trolling of baseball bloggers who, unlike 99% of the rest of the world actually know the names and track records of various umpires and who are easily riled.

Which is to say that, while we have no Joe West in the early playoff rounds this year — too obvious, perhaps? — we do get an Angel Hernandez.

Here are the assignments. The asterisks represent the crew chief of each unit. Guys with little up arrows next to their names are regular season crew chiefs in their own right. Print this out and keep it near your television so you know who to yell about before the broadcasters tell you who to yell at:

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