Tim Lincecum won his first start, but walked seven, matching a career-high. This Sam Miller piece, a BP Premium article, suggests that Hector Sanchez may have been responsible for much of the damage. In fact, the article outlines, using GIF's, the exact ways Sanchez fails to adequately frame Lincecum's pitches, and shows that Lincecum was robbed of perhaps as many as a dozen strikes, many
of them not even close to borderline.
The article explains the obvious fact that Sanchez is a subpar framer, and any analysis of his work shows that he lunges, drops his head, and generally acts like he's constantly surprised by the location of the ball. For all the talk throughout the Giants organization about players being ready for the majors before they are brought up, it's a little surprising to see that Sanchez is a player who is clearly not ready for the action on major league pitches.
And Miller highlights an article by Tim Kawakami that details the possible reason Sanchez has somehow become Lincecum's personal catcher:
…. It’s almost certainly true that Lincecum has never told Bochy he disliked pitching to Posey, and I know Posey wants to catch Lincecum.
But it’s probably just as true that Bochy knew that Lincecum was more comfortable with Sanchez or Eli Whiteside.
And it’s beyond doubt that Posey is nothing like Molina, who coaxed his pitchers, pumped them up, and especially was on the same emotional wavelength as the improvisational Lincecum.
Posey likes to make a plan, stick to the plan, and has been known to utter a few sharp words to pitchers—even Lincecum, even when Posey was young—during games to get them back on the plan.
Whether Lincecum realizes this is unknown, but he is struggling with Sanchez behind the plate (18 0f his last 20 starts), and Sanchez may very well be why. In fact, maybe the reason Lincecum was so lights out as a reliever in last season's championship run had nothing to do with the fact the he could “air it out” and not have to worry about running out of gas, and more to do with the fact that Posey catches and frames his pitches better, so he gets the calls.