Bochy tested in Lincecum's shutout
Giants skipper wanted ace to finish game despite pitch count
SAN DIEGO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who has two sons, employed his parenting skills to usher Tim Lincecum through his first professional complete game and shutout.Just as a parent senses when it's right to allow a child greater freedom, even if some risk is involved, Bochy believed that he was furthering Lincecum's development by leaving him in to finish Saturday night's game, although the right-hander's pitch count tested the skipper's nerves. "When he came in after the eighth inning, you knew how bad he wanted to finish it," Bochy said Sunday. "It's like kids growing up. Sometimes it's the time. You extend the curfew, [let them] get on a bike, whatever. And I thought it was the time. If I had taken him out, he would have felt he didn't have a good game.
"I told him he was killing me, though, putting me in that spot."Indeed, in the last five seasons, only two Major League pitchers -- Livan Hernandez and Jason Schmidt -- have thrown more pitches in a game than the 138 Lincecum amassed aagainst the Padres. Hernandez was the last to total exactly that many, on June 15, 2006, for Washington against Colorado. Hernandez also has logged four of the highest five pitch counts of the last five seasons: 150 (June 3, 2005), 145 (July 31, 2005), 143 (Sept. 11, 2004) and 141 (June 27, 2004). Schmidt threw 144 in his May 18, 2004, one-hitter for the Giants against the Cubs. Even with this information at his disposal, Bochy probably would have stuck with Lincecum, in the belief that staying in the game would further his development by building his confidence.
"That's big for a pitcher to get that first shutout," Bochy said.Bochy also acknowledged that Lincecum's Cy Young Award candidacy entered his mind. Lacking a complete game, Bochy reasoned, might hamper Lincecum's chances against Arizona's Brandon Webb, the other top contender for the distinction.
"I didn't want that in the record when they talk about Cy Young votes," Bochy said.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.