Lineups Posted: Maybe someone will issue a walk today

The series finale in Chicago happens today as the Cubs look to split the series with the Champs and the Giants look forward to a day off tomorrow after playing ten straight games. It’s early in the season, so I’m sure the players are looking forward to it.

After three straight games with a total of no hits, a couple walks, and a HBP, Buster Posey gets a day off today on a Tim Lincecum start.

Lincecum has walked 20.8% of the batters he’s faced so far, so every fifth guy in the order here in the Cubs lineup will probably be looking forward to a walk:

Of course, Edwin Jackson (12% BB%) is also known for his ability to walk players, and although his percentage isn’t the one-in-five Lincecum’s is, it’s still higher than the single digit percentage he’s put out over his career, and single digits is what you’d like to hit anyway. Lincecum’s career walk rate is 9.4%, so he’s way above that right now.

A lot of the talk that comes with Tim Lincecum goes to why can’t Posey catch him and Hector Sanchez always being his unsaid “personal catcher?” It looks like this is just the way it’s going to be, and we have to hope Sanchez is always improving with his ability to receive pitches and keep himself disciplined at the plate. Looking at the pitch log from Lincecum’s two starts (where Hector also caught), maybe there’s reason for hope in a small sample size:

vs. Dodgers

Screen shot 2013-04-14 at 8.43.09 AM

Look at all the balls called well inside the strike zone. While the umpire needs to recognize the strike zone, the catcher needs to help his pitcher out as well in receiving and framing, even if Lincecum has the off-the-wall command he does. Sanchez said he reviewed some tape and changed his footing so that he may better receive the pitches from Timmy before his second start. The pitches from the last game against Colorado:

Screen shot 2013-04-14 at 8.42.42 AM

Lincecum really misses high and inside a lot to RHH (these are from the umpire’s point of view), which is kind of scary. But in this plot, there are four balls just inside the zone that were missed, and one touching the zone that was called a ball. That could be a little Hector and a little umpire, but it is progress in the right direction for Timmy not suffering as much in missing strikes. The anti-personal catcher crowd tends to put Hector under a microscope, so look for how Hector catches and tries to frame pitches today. For me, that’s the most important thing. I expect a couple of strikeouts on pitches out of the zone, and maybe a base hit if he’s in the lineup. We’ll see how it goes today… but I advise you not to take a drink today every time a batter is walked by the starting pitcher. This would not be a good day to do it.

Game time is 11:20PM PST.

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