USA TODAY Sports
Tim Lincecum has been inconsistent to start the 2014 season.
Tim Lincecum came into spring training in excellent shape. He worked a lot harder this winter and also did a lot more throwing.
His extra work paid off initially, as Lincecum looked sharp early on in the Cactus League games.
However, he tailed off in his last few outings and entered the regular season with a great deal of uncertainty surrounding him.
Giants GM Brian Sabean took some criticism when he signed Lincecum to a two-year, $35 million contract. Lincecum is one of the fans' most beloved players, but Lincecum still must produce to justify the signing.
Lincecum has shown some excellent flashes, but he has been unable to sustain it.
The lack of consistent command has hurt him. However, instead of walking people, Lincecum has missed in the strike zone—and when he does that, he no longer has the velocity to get away with those mistakes.
In his three starts, Lincecum has pitched only 15 innings. This places a burden on the Giants' bullpen, as they have to cover the remainder of the innings. In Lincecum's starts, the bullpen has eaten up 15 innings, which is far too many.
Lincecum has allowed 20 hits and one walk, while striking out 17, in those 15 innings. The home run has plagued him, as he has allowed five homers already this year.
Lincecum is trying to pitch to contact and get hitters out earlier in the count. It has been a learning process for him, and it looks like that will continue as the former Cy Young winner tries to remake his pitching identity.
2014 will be a work in progress for Lincecum. Nevertheless, he needs to do better. His ERA of 7.20 and WHIP of 1.400 are too high.
If Lincecum can find his groove, it will help to solidify the Giants' rotation. The Giants need him to be effective if they are to make a strong run at the NL West crown.