Talking Giants Baseball: A San Francisco Giants/Baseball Blog: Giants starting pitchers sharp early in spring training

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Giants starting pitchers sharp early in spring training

Starting pitchers Tim Lincecum, Ryan Vogelsong, and Tim Hudson were question marks coming into 2014, but they have made a good first impression early in spring training for the San Francisco Giants.

Hudson made his spring debut against the Arizona Diamondbacks Sunday and proved his fractured ankle was behind him, pitching two no-hit innings. He was somewhat efficient, throwing 27 pitches in two innings, and he effectively pitched to contact with that sinker--like classic Hudson.

Vogelsong followed Madison Bumgarner, who pitched two scoreless innings of his own Friday, with two shutout innings and a strikeout against the Milwaukee Brewers. Vogelsong was throwing strikes and with movement, a formula that made him successful in 2011 and 2012.

Vogelsong is hoping his 2013 season was an aberration, where he had a 5.73 ERA in 19 starts. He was injured for half the year with a broken hand after he was hit by a pitch while batting in May.

Tim Lincecum pitching against the Padres in the Cactus League
Perhaps the most anticipated spring training start was from Tim Lincecum, who beefed up his offseason workout by throwing in a warehouse he rented out. Lincecum, who has not been the sharpest in past spring trainings, is looking to come out of the gate strong.

Although he ran into some trouble in his Cactus League debut Monday, it was almost a perfect tune-up for him.

After pitching a 1-2-3 first inning against the San Diego Padres, Lincecum gave up a leadoff double and a one-out walk in the second inning. But he got out of the jam by showing good command--retiring the next two hitters on a strikeout and groundout.

Instead of nibbling and losing his composure with runners on, Lincecum kept throwing quality strikes with good location and movement. It was a perfect outing for because he proved early on he could get out of his own mess and avoid a big inning that happened all too often last year.

Last season, hitters had a .352 OBP with runners in scoring position against Lincecum, which perpetuated rallies.

And in 2014, Lincecum's runners left-on-base percentage was about 69 percent, which is below average, according to MLB FanGraphs. In comparison, FanGraphs said Bumgarner's left-on-base percentage was nearly 76 percent, which is above average.

Lincecum is hoping to stop rallies this season instead of fuel them.

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