Short-attention-span reading, and writing...
Yes, it's mostly chaos and confusion surrounding Tim Lincecum's befuddling 2012 season, but there is also at least one coherent pattern.
Lincecum has pitched decently when the Giants give him extra rest (five days or more), as they will before his start Saturday in Chicago.
And Lincecum has been battered when he has pitched on four days' rest, as he was in his last start against Atlanta.
The Giants are 9-18 in his starts this season -- and 65-39 in games started by all other pitchers.
The Giants have lost five of the past six times Lincecum has started on four days' rest.
And in the 10 times that Lincecum has pitched on five days' rest, the Giants are 5-5 and he has a 4.50 ERA.
The Giants have won the past four times Lincecum started on five days' rest
The cumulative numbers are pretty clear and logical.
Lincecum has more life on his pitches and is more confident with his command and willingness to throw strikes when his arm is fresher by a day.
When he goes out there
The good news for the Giants: Lincecum will have the extra rest in each of his next two scheduled starts and in four of his final six.
Detroit and Chicago have the easiest paths into the postseason, because they play so many more games against the lousy bottom of the A.L. Central.
It is quite likely that Detroit and Chicago will gobble up two spots -- one as the A.L. Central winner and one as the No. 1 wild-card team.
I think it's a race to 92 wins for that final spot, either for a tie or an outright wild-card berth. And the A's need to finish 19-13 to get to 92.
There is no artifice or any need for it. Allen
And everything else in the post-Al Davis era now flows from that.
We don't know yet if Allen will be great, overmatched or in-between, or if McKenzie will provide him with the right players and how this partnership will evolve through tough and happy stretches.
But on the eve of the 2012 season, we know -- and can see and hear -- that things are different, because the coach's words matter now.
Unlike Hue Jackson, he is not acting like he is the star of a Broadway play.
Unlike every previous Raiders coach, with the exception of Davis in the 1960s and maybe John Madden, Tom Flores and Jon Gruden, Allen has actual, tangible power that rings throughout the franchise.
So Allen and McKenzie have very much presented themselves as twin chieftains of the Raiders reboot -- McKenzie builds the roster with Allen's assistance, and Allen runs everything else (locker-room mood, game strategies, lineups), with McKenzie's blessing.
There's finally a direct line of authority, and it pivots around the coach. We'll see if Dennis Allen is the right man for it, but we already know he is in better shape to do it than almost all of his predecessors.