It wasn’t a no-hitter, but Tim Lincecum was about as dominant as it gets on Thursday night in San Francisco as the Giants captured Game 1 of the NLDS by a score of 1-0 over the Braves.
Racking up a postseason franchise record 14 strikeouts over nine innings of work, the 26-year-old from Bellevue, Washington carved through Atlanta’s lineup with ease. He allowed just two hits — a double to Omar Infante, a double to Brian McCann — and walked only one batter.
Lincecum, the 2008 and 2009 National League Cy Young Award winner, didn’t
have the best 2010 regular season and finished up on September 29 with a
relatively pedestrian 3.43 ERA over 33 starts. That’s all in the
past now. Lincecum is still “The Freak,” or “The Franchise,” or whatever you want to call him.
But, again, the umpiring is going to dominate the night’s headlines. The Giants plated their lone run largely because of a blown stolen base call in the bottom of the fourth inning that put rookie catcher Buster Posey into scoring position and allowed him to cross home plate a few batters later.
Had the right call been made, the game probably would have moved to extra innings at a 0-0 tie and Lincecum surely wouldn’t have gone the distance.
Alas, the Giants boast a 1-0 lead in the five-game series.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Indians and Padres are still discussing a potential trade for a starting pitcher, namely Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. Rosenthal adds that a deal isn’t close and is unlikely to occur before Opening Day. The Padres are balking at the Indians’ asking prices for the two starters.
The Padres could certainly use an ace at the top of the rotation. With the addition of Manny Machado, the lineup is looking decent, but beyond Joey Lucchesi, the starting pitching doesn’t inspire confidence.
Kluber, who turns 33 years old next month, has club options for the next two seasons at $13.5 million and $14 million with $1 million buyouts each. Last year, the right-hander finished third in AL Cy Young balloting, finishing 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA and a 222/34 K/BB ratio in 215 innings.
Bauer, 28, is earning $13 million this season and will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration heading into 2020. Last year, Bauer went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA and a 221/57 K/BB ratio across 175 1/3 innings.
The Indians are the prohibitive favorites in the AL Central once again, but that has as much to do with the mediocrity of the rest of the division as the Indians’ commitment to competing. If the Indians were to trade either or both starters, that would be good news for the Twins, who are projected to be 15 games worse than the Indians but still finish in second place, according to PECOTA from Baseball Prospectus.