After a Spring Training in which he posted a 6.94 ERA with 18 hits and 10 walks (but 16 Ks) in 11.2 innings pitched, Tim Lincecum opened the real season with seven shutout innings, allowing four hits and no walks and striking out seven. I guess he was just working on a few things during Spring Training.
In Jim Bouton’s Ball Four, he mentions how one of the young pitchers during a Spring Training for either the Yankees or the Seattle Pilots asked Bouton whether he (young pitcher) should take the coachs’ advice to use Spring Training as a time to try to develop new pitches or if he should simply focus on getting the hitters out in the Spring games. To me, the answer is obvious.
If you’re Tim Lincecum and your spot atop the starting rotation is set in stone, you work on a few things. If you are Todd Wellemeyer trying desperately to make the team, you focus on getting the hitters out in the Spring games with the stuff you know will work for you.
Apparently, Tim really just did need some time to get his mechanics in order, what with his long motion and all. Also, he was reported to have been working on some new pitches this Spring, although I’ve already forgotten exactly what they were. Probably different grips for his fastball and/or his change up.
Also, in the it’s-good-to-have-things-you-can rely-on category, Albert Pujols had four hits and two HRs on Opening Day, and Mark Buerle, Roy Halladay and Johan Santana all won handily their first starts of the new season.
Ah, real baseball, I’ve missed you!