In case you missed it, in the bottom half of the sixth inning last evening Tim Lincecum was given a new ball by homeplate umpire Laz Diaz. Tiny Tim began to rub up the ball then proceeded to look at it much like a confused dog would look at his owner. You could almost see his head cock to a 90 degree angle. Lincecum asked for a new ball, tossed it back to Buster Posey and was captured mouthing, and I quote (close your virgin ears if you don’t like fancy profanities) “fuck this juiced ball bullshit”.
The Rockies use of their humidor has been well questioned over the years. The Giants on Jon Miller brought up the topic of something fishy going on earlier this year and local Bay Area newspapers reported that the Dodgers pressed Giant front office and staff over their concerns about the Rockies use of the humidor as well. Is there any truth to it? Tough call. The stats do back up some oddities. In the first 75 home games of the year, the Rockies have hit .304 with 102 homers and 790 hits. Opponents have hit .258 with 67 homers and 698 hits. The Rockies have outscored visitors 452-345. Home field advantage is one thing – but that’s an absurd difference.
Jeremy Affeldt, who pitched for the Rockies in 2006 and 2007 said there is a clear difference in the feel and grip of the ball when it’s been humidored, so Lincecum’s near instant questioning of the ball has to raise some concerns.
MLB doesn’t “watch” over the process of how the humidor is handled (in fact, the MLB was unaware of the installing at the time) and the Rockies become very combative when questions arise about the process. Then again, if the umpires room attendant was a Rockies employee (as he is) and the “process” wasn’t monitored (as its not), it’s almost natural to raise an eyebrow or two.
I’m not saying the Rockies cheat. I really don’t know. It’s pretty clear that that Colorado air has some serious effects, not only on balls, but players as well. The change in altitude is drastic and balls that sit in a bag for 5-6 innings before being in use could easily be effected. But the concerns are starting to get more and more notice, even a National League GM (not Brian Sabean) said he expects the topic to be heavily talked about at the GM meetings in November. We’ll see.
As for the game, the Giants took one more step to the postseason with a crucial 2-1 victory last night. Tim Lincecum was every bit of Cy Young Lincecum, the only run allowed coming off a bloop double followed by an infield drawn in single. The Giants offensively struggled to put runs on the board (shocking) but they did force Rockies starter Jakeljrklj2wkljfremakfmlekdlm Chacin to throw a mountain of pitches, something he had to do with the Rockies bullpen being taxed the night before in Arizona. If that was indeed the Giants gameplan, big up’s to them for the solid execution.
The only two runs of the game for the Giants came off the bat of Pat Burrell, who launched a beautiful two run bomb into the left field seats in the top of the 7th. It was more than enough for Lincecum who tossed, IMO, his best game of the year, considering the circumstances. Brian Wilson came in to close out the 9th after Lincecum’s eight strong and the win dropped the Rockies to 4.5 back with only a handful to play. It’s not insurmountable, but, it was a devestating blow to the Rockies. The next two are must wins for the Purple’s.
In other related news, the Reds and Padres took part in a nice little battle down at Petco where the Padres squeaked out a victory, but, it’s not as bad as you think. The Reds loss combined with the Giants win gave the Giants a better overall record, which means the Giants would have homefield in the first round if the two did matchup which is very possible. We still have a long way to go with all the record sorting out, but, the Padres beating the Reds did have some good news attatched to it.
Back east, Adam Dunn whipped out the Thundah Stick on the Atlanta Braves last night as the Nationals whooped up on Tim Hudson and company. The loss for Atlanta dropped them to second in the Wild Card race as they now sit .5 games behind San Diego. The Braves have lost four in a row – not the time of year to have that type of losing streak.
Updated standings for potential seedings:
Philly – 93-61
San Fran – 87-67
San Diego – 86-67
Cinncy – 86-68
Atlanta – 86-68
Colorado – 82-71