BC-SJ-GIANTS NOTEBOOK

By Andrew Baggarly

San Jose Mercury News

PHILADELPHIA -- Among the many well-meaning amateur theories to explain Tim Lincecum's struggles this season, one appears to have some statistical merit.

Does Lincecum miss throwing to Bengie Molina?

The two-time Cy Young Award winner was 8-3 with a 3.12 ERA in 16 starts with Molina before the Giants traded the veteran catcher to the Texas Rangers on July 1. Lincecum is 1-1 with a 3.32 ERA in three pairings with backup Eli Whiteside. In his past seven starts with rookie Buster Posey, Lincecum is 2-3 with a 4.85 ERA.

Lincecum didn't completely reject the effect the catching change has had on him, but he made it clear it wasn't an overriding factor.

"People will say that because it's true, I've thrown to Bengie my whole career," said Lincecum, who has made special mention of Molina while accepting his two Cy Young trophies. "But when it comes down to it, I've had good games with Bengie and bad games with Bengie. I've had good games with Buster and bad games with Buster."

The first time Posey caught Lincecum this season on July 15 the right-hander threw a six-hit shutout against the New York Mets.

"When you get used to the guy, there's no feeling him out," Lincecum said. "I don't want to use it as an excuse, but I've always thought the relationship between the pitcher and catcher is a big thing, especially if you both have confidence in the same pitches.


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"I'll get used to throwing to Buster. It's been totally fine for me, working with him."

  • Lincecum threw his side session in preparation for his next start, which comes Saturday in St. Louis. He'll face Chris Carpenter, one of the Cardinals' co-aces (along with Adam Wainwright) who narrowly finished behind Lincecum in last year's Cy Young balloting.

    It will be Lincecum's first time pitching in front of Cardinals fans, who threw a fit when the Cy Young results were announced last November.

    "The Cy Young is over," Lincecum said. "I'm not thinking backwards, and I'm sure they're not, either. As players, we want to think ahead. It sounds funny to say, but if you start thinking too far back, you get ahead of yourself.

    "It's about a train moving forward, a team moving forward. That's what I'm thinking about."

  • The Giants placed right-hander Chris Ray on the 15-day disabled list with a strained muscle in his side and activated left-hander Jeremy Affeldt from his rehab assignment.