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No one knows how to explain it.
How can a back-to-back Cy Young Award winner from 2008 and 2009 be reduced to statistically the worst starting pitcher in the majors just three years later?
Some blamed his drop in velocity, while others blamed it on the inevitable happening—he's just too small to maintain pitching at a high level for an entire career.
However, the optimists liked to blame his struggles on his "bad luck," as his BABIP of .323 and his FIP of 3.75 show that he just might be getting some unlucky bounces of the ball when it's put in play.
Whatever it is, Lincecum is having not only the worst year of his young career but one of the worst-ever years statistically for a pitcher.
There is reason to be optimistic now, however. Lincecum has complied a couple of very impressive starts in his last two outings. He had the best fastball command he's had all season and a newfound confidence that is needed in this game.
He's done that before this season, however, and followed them up with another disastrous start, so it's not safe to say that Lincecum is back quite yet.
If Lincecum is able to carve up the San Diego Padres during his next start and pitch well against the New York Mets in the following start, at the very least one could say that Lincecum has officially returned to his 2011 form.
It just doesn't make sense for such an elite pitcher to fall off the map so quickly at such a young age. Lincecum is just 28 years old, which means he hasn't even entered his prime years yet.