Tim Lincecum is sporting a 3-10 record and a 6.42 ERA going into his first start after the All-Star break.
Something has to change, and it has to change now. Of the 18 games that Lincecum has started, the Giants have only won four. Substitute in a mediocre pitcher who wins maybe half of those 18 games, and the Giants would be 52-35 and have a solid couple-game lead in the NL West.
These numbers are shocking and not something you would expect from a two-time Cy Young Award winner who is still only 28 years old.
They are horrendous, terrible, awful—I mean, you pick the adjective and it fits Lincecum's wretched numbers and performance. There is no place for someone who is doing so badly on one of the best pitching rotations. Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain and Ryan Vogelsong are some of the best pitchers in baseball. Each one is a top-five pitcher in a major pitching statistical category (wins, ERA, strikeouts and/or WHIP).
But Lincecum is in a perfect position to rebound off of his two previous starts in which he couldn't finish four innings and gave up 14 runs combined. Timmy will be in front of a home crowd that will be praying that he can figure it out.
And the Houston Astros have the fewest wins in the National League and not a hitter batting over .300. Four of the five Astros starting pitchers with over 60 innings pitched have ERAs over 4.50.
If “The Freak” can’t get it turned around now, there is no reason to expect he will figure it out anytime soon. Sadly, it isn’t all that perplexing that the former Giants ace is doing so terribly; throwing 93-95 MPH consistently for a couple years with his wiry frame just cannot physically hold up.
The guy is not even six feet tall, and he weighs a mere 160 pounds.
If Lincecum doesn’t figure it out, the Giants need to trade him. He is due $22 million next year and may not be worth $1 million. It may not be the popular decision considering what Lincecum has done for the Giants, but it makes financial and baseball sense.
That is, of course, assuming he doesn’t rebound. If he rebounds, these trade talks will dissipate into the summer night.
Let’s see if Lincecum can pull it together starting tonight.
Read more of my baseball, basketball and Bay Area sports writing on the popular website, Bases and Baskets.