Tim Lincecum is a two-time Cy Young Award winner. Timmy won a World Series in 2010 and has been dominant every year of his career. Until Now.
Instead of the one big inning chasing him in every game, Timmy was inconsistent the whole game yesterday against the Texas Rangers. He started off with a 30-pitch first inning when he walked the bases loaded after getting the first two outs.
There are no more excuses and no more wins for Lincecum since April 28th. He has the second-worst ERA in the National League with at least 10 starts (6.00 ERA) and third-worst WHIP (1.58). Even with his one bad inning, he is not fooling anybody.
This former All-Star is now fifth on the list of possible starters from the Giants. Even Barry Zito looks better than Timmy. Zito? Yes, and it is not even close.
There is a major problem here.
The San Francisco Giants are 32-16 when he doesn’t start and 2-11 in games when he does start. To put that in mathematical terms, the Giants are a .667 team without him and a .154 team with him on the mound. Even the 1962 Mets had better success (40-120, .250). The Giants are 0-8 in his last eight starts, too.
Is this a trend? Is the baby face boy growing up and out of his success?
Can Tim Lincecum adapt to become a better pitcher?
Last year Timmy had his first losing record at 13-14, but it wasn’t because of his pitching. He actually lowered his ERA and WHIP from his 2010 World Series season. The Giants offense was anemic last year.
The one thing that does possibly signify a problem is constant drop in velocity. Timmy used to throw 94 mph in 2008, 92 mph last year and this year it has dropped to 90 mph, according to fangraphs.com. So, he still throws fast, but the decrease in velocity really hurts him setting up his other pitches.
He has also been in the league now for six years and there is a lot more data for hitters to study. So, this is the time in a pitcher's career where they adapt, differentiate their pitches and make things fresh. Doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results is insanity.
There is hope, but we have heard this before after almost every game this year. Timmy gets a return date to his home in Seattle for a game against the Mariners on Saturday, June 16th. This game could be the booster that his career needs at this point or it could be another punch to the gut, having to deal with unrealistic expectations on his first journey home.
Giants fans are willing to give him a lot of wiggle room, since he did help bring home the first World Series trophy since the move to San Francisco. However, his future is not as secure as it used to be. The Giants will have a decision to make after the 2013 season. Do they want to spend gross amounts of money for a product on the decline or will they let Timmy test out the free-agent market?
Hopefully, Timmy can adapt to his current situation and show everyone he has the resolve and the talent to be a pitcher that dominates the San Francisco Giants' record books for generations to come.
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