Two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum made his 2016 debut Saturday with the Los Angeles Angels, holding the Oakland Athletics to one run on four hits in six innings in a 7-1 victory.
|Tim Lincecum vs. Athletics - Saturday, June 18|
|IP||H||R (ER)||K-BB||Pitches (Strikes)|
|6.0||4||1 (1)||2-2||98 (59)|
Lincecum hadn't pitched in a game since June 27, 2015, when he lasted just 1.2 innings for the San Francisco Giants in a start against the Colorado Rockies. He was diagnosed with a degenerative hip condition last year that required surgery and ended his season.
The Angels, whose starting rotation has been decimated by injuries to Garrett Richards, Andrew Heaney and C.J. Wilson, signed Lincecum to a one-year deal on May 20.
In working his way back to the big leagues, Lincecum's velocity was a big question mark. He averaged just 87.5 mph with his fastball last season, per FanGraphs. There was a little more steam on the pitch Saturday, per Jay Posner of the San Diego Union-Tribune:
That's where Lincecum is going to sit at this point in his career, as Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register noted the 32-year-old was throwing his fastball 88-91 mph in a start at Triple-A on June 7:
MLB GIFs showed Lincecum's unique delivery is still intact:
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times noted Lincecum's six-inning performance went much better than his last six innings with the Giants:
The lone run Lincecum gave up came on an RBI single from Danny Valencia in the bottom of the third inning.
This wasn't a vintage performance for the hurler who won back-to-back Cy Youngs in 2008 and 2009, but it was about as good an effort as he can give at this stage.
The Angels signed him hoping for a starting pitcher capable of giving them five solid innings each outing. Lincecum delivered more than that Saturday, albeit against an A's lineup that entered play ranked 25th in runs scored.
Not every start is going to go this well for Lincecum. He still has command issues and doesn't miss many bats, but against below-average lineups his stuff will work more often than it fails.