Tim Lincecum had been frustratingly inconsistent as of late, giving up 17 runs in 22.1 innings (6.85 ERA, 1.30 WHIP) through his first four June starts, but as he well knows, a meeting with the San Diego Padres can heal all wounds.
The 30-year-old righty hurled the second no-hitter of his career—and second against the Padres—Wednesday afternoon, striking out six and walking just one during the San Francisco Giants' 4-0 win.
#SFGiants have now recorded a no-hitter in each of the last 3 seasons (Matt Cain on June 13, 2012, Lincecum on June 13, 2013 and today)...— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) June 25, 2014
As he noted after the game, his control was a key factor on the day:
Here's a look at the final out:
As Numbers Never Lie and CSN's Andrew Baggarly noted, Big Time Timmy Jim became the first person in over a century to no-hit the same team twice:
THIS. Tim Lincecum is 1st pitcher in 104 yrs to no-hit the same team twice in his career.— Numbers Never Lie (@ESPN_Numbers) June 25, 2014
Lincecum is 2nd pitcher in MLB history to no-hit the same team twice. Addie Joss of the Cleveland Naps (Naps!) no-hit White Sox in 1908, 10.— Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) June 25, 2014
He celebrated the accomplishment afterward with the team, donning a shirt that can only be seen as a hopeful sign of things to come Thursday for the United States' World Cup squad against Germany:
YES YES YES! https://t.co/yMF5RvhzGU— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) June 25, 2014
Lincecum walked Chase Headley in the top of the second inning then proceeded to retire the next 23 hitters in order. He needed only 113 pitches to complete the gem, he reached base (one walk, two hits) two more times than the Padres entire team, and the San Francisco Chronicle's John Shea noted these are the type of efforts that earned him a two-year contract extension in the winter:
By the way, this is why Tim Lincecum was re-signed. Lot more than just a ballplayer. #sfgiants— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) June 25, 2014
While some may scoff at that notion, thanks to the roller-coaster ride Lincecum has been on the past three seasons, there's no denying what has been a marvelous career, as ESPN's Keith Law pointed out:
Lincecum now has two Cy Ypung Awards, two World Series rings, and two no-hitters, and doesn't even have ten years in the majors yet.— keithlaw (@keithlaw) June 25, 2014
Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan and Washington Nationals young slugger Bryce Harper also offered their praise:
Tim Lincecum, no-hitter No. 2. Bravura performance. Incredible that he's gotten both after his prime. He's still an absolute marvel.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 25, 2014
Congrats to Timmy on yet another No-No..Fear the stache! #stud— Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) June 25, 2014
Of course, while Lincecum was absolutely dealing all day long, the Padres aren't exactly a hitting powerhouse.
They entered the day last in the majors in average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage, and Grantland's Johan Keri noted they are far worse than even those numbers indicate:
The Padres came into today's game on pace to post the lowest on-base percentage of any MLB team in 100 years.— Jonah Keri (@jonahkeri) June 25, 2014
As ESPN's Eric Karabell suggested, this may not be the last time you see this team on the wrong side of history:
Congrats again to Tim Lincecum but it's worth saying: target all pitchers facing this historically awful Padres offense.— Eric Karabell (@karabellespn) June 25, 2014
CSN Bay Area's Ray Ratto, meanwhile, showed off either his comedic chops or lack of math skills:
If Lincecum gets the no-hitter, Padres' season batting average will actually rise— Ray Ratto (@RattoCSN) June 25, 2014
While this may not be an indication that Lincecum, who entered the day with a 4.90 ERA and 1.48 WHIP, has fully rediscovered his Cy Young stuff, it's a tremendous way for him to gain some necessary confidence heading into the second half of the season.
If he can turn this historic performance into some consistency, the 46-32 Giants' recent struggles will soon be an afterthought.