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Taking aim on thieves


Taking aim on thieves
As the discussion turned to one of Tim Lincecum 's few flaws, a difficulty holding runners on, Dodgers manager Joe Torre smiled and said, " Sandy Koufax couldn't either." Torre's implication was clear: Players cannot steal if they are muttering on their way back to the dugout after striking out.

Then again, even when runners do reach against Lincecum they are finding it harder to steal because he has made a terrific adjustment since the Brewers swiped four bases on Opening Day, two off Lincecum. He has a better slide step and is varying his delivery times. Since the opener, nobody has stolen against Lincecum. Arizona's Augie Ojeda was the only one to try, and Bengie Molina nailed him.

The issue gains relevance this weekend as the Giants play Colorado for the first time in 2009. The Rockies lead the National League with 18 steals. Center fielder Dexter Fowler has half of those.

Fowler now faces a Giants catcher and pitching staff that have allowed only six steals in 19 games since Opening Day, during which opponents have attempted only 12.

The Giants have a built-in advantage with three left-handed starters, but the entire staff has helped itself by focusing on runners.

"We've done fine so far," Molina said. "Sometimes we get out of it, don't think about it and get burned. The pitchers just need to pay attention to the running game, the guys who are running at first and second, and at the same time be able to make a pitch. If they do that, we'll be fine."

BRIEFLY: Manager Bruce Bochy said Fred Lewis ' recent struggles have nothing to do with batting leadoff, saying it is a timing issue. "He's late on the fastball and out front on the breaking ball." ... Reliever Sergio Romo elbow sprain threw full-speed batting practice at extended spring training in Arizona on Wednesday and will do so again Saturday. Bochy said Romo will rejoin the Giants when ready.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 1, 2009

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