Tim Lincecum Struggles, but Giants Get Him Off the Hook: A True Rarity

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Tim Lincecum Struggles, but Giants Get Him Off the Hook:  A True Rarity
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Odds were, Tim Lincecum had to have a bad game at least once this season. Thursday night against Arizona was one of them.

Five earned runs for a starter in five innings (for a game ERA of 9.00 as opposed to his season average of 1.76) usually results in a loss even for teams with far greater offensive firepower than San Francisco (as
it did Thursday night).

Yet after spotting the Diamondbacks five runs in the bottom of the fifth, Lincecum was suddenly (albeit briefly) in position to win the game after the Giants offense erupted for a five-run sixth to go on top 7-5.

Giving up five runs isn't an everyday (or every-month) occurrence for Lincecum, but Freakish things have happened in the past. Here are the few times the Giants have needed to save The Franchise when he gave up four or more runs. For comparison purposes, Timmy is 6-12 is games in which he's received two or fewer runs of support, 17-5 with three to five runs behind him, and a perfect 22-0 with six plus runs scored in his games.

2007: Twenty-four starts, 5 total games with 4+ ER: 3 losses, 2 No Decisions, 5 team losses.

May 6th vs. Philadelphia: 4.1 IP, 5 ER, ND (Giants: Loss, 8-5); Tim is bailed out in his first game in the majors (career ERA: 10.39). Lincecum for Rios, while you still can!

June 3rd at Philadelphia: 6.2 IP, 6 ER, ND (Loss, 9-8); The Phils strike again, but Tim remains undefeated in the majors. Lincecum exits with the lead, but three inherited runners score against the bullpen, setting the stage for a five-run inning for Philly.

June 13th vs. Toronto: 3.2 IP, 7 ER, Loss (7-4): First MLB loss is a debacle.

June 19th at Milwaukee: 4.0 IP, 6 ER, Loss (6-2): Very next start. ERA is 5.89, a career high for midseason.

August 11th vs. Pittsburgh: 6.0 IP, 6 ER, Loss (13-3): Freddy Sanchez has five RBI for the Pirates. Lincecum for Sanchez! (Tim Alderson is a new draftee at the time).

2008: Thirty-three starts, 6 total games with 4+ ER, 3 losses, 3 No Decisions, 1-5 team record.

June 16th vs. Detroit: 7.0 IP, 4 ER, ND (Win 8-6): Tim exits trailing 4-3, but five Giants runs in the bottom of seventh bail him out. This game marked the first time in Lincecum's career that he gave up four or more runs but the Giants battled back for the win.

June 22nd at Kansas City: 5.0 IP, 5 ER, ND (Loss 11-10): Keiichi Yabu allows four earned runs in relief without retiring a batter the inning after Lincecum is pulled up ten to five.

July 8th at Mets: 6.0 IP, 4 ER, Loss (7-0): No run support, but Lincecum gives up two home runs.

July 20th vs. Milwaukee: 6.0 IP, 5 ER, Loss (7-4): Two more home runs served up.

September 2nd at Colorado: 5.0 IP, 5 ER, ND (Loss 6-5): Giants rally after Tim leaves down 5-2, but Yabu takes the loss in relief.

September 23rd vs. Colorado: 4.1 IP, 6 ER, Loss (9-4): Tim loses in one of his worst starts of the season.

2009: Thirty-two starts, 5 total games with 4+ ER, 3 losses, 2 No Decisions, 1-4 team record.

April 12th at San Diego: 5.1 IP, 4 ER, Loss (6-1): After lasting only three innings on opening day, Lincecum lowers his ERA to 7.56, but still loses badly.

May 15th vs. Mets: 6.0 IP, 5 ER, ND (Loss 8-6): Tim gives up five runs in the first two innings, Giants rally, Brian Wilson takes the loss with two unearned runs in the ninth.

July 22nd at Atlanta: 5.0 IP, 4 ER, Loss (4-2): Nine strikeouts in five innings for Tim, but a two-out three-run homer by Brian McCann in the third dooms Lincecum to the loss.

August 18th at Cincinnati: 6.0 IP, 5 ER, ND (Win 8-5): Timmy is pulled trailing 5-1, but immediately after he leaves, San Francisco plates four to tie the game.

September 20th at Dodgers: 4.0 IP, 5 ER, Loss (6-2): Tim gives up more walks than strikeouts, and allows a home run in just four innings. The loss is on him.

2010: Nine starts, 1 game with 4+ ER, 1 No Decision, 0-1 team record.

May 20th at Arizona: 5.0 IP, 5 ER, ND (Loss 8-7). Lincecum gets only three ground-ball outs (compared to six to fourteen such outs in other starts this season), and walks five.

In other words, Lincecum, in his ninth start, was actually statistically overdue for an off-game. And although it definitely wasn't unprecedented for the Giants to mount an immediate and significant rally after The Freak left the game, the odds were against San Francisco ultimately securing the win. The good news for the Giants is that Timmy may not give up four or more runs in a game for another month if his career trends hold.

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