Wednesday afternoon, Tim Lincecum pitched seven strong innings, giving up one run while striking out six, en route to his 13th win. While 13 wins in the middle of September is lower than the two-time Cy Young award winner is typically used to, after losing multiple times this year after only surrendering one run, he was probably happy just to get the win.
With a 13-12 record, it’s no surprise that Lincecum is getting very little national attention among the Cy Young candidates this year. Unfortunately, wins and losses are completely overrated when it comes to judging a pitcher’s performance, and if you evaluate all of Lincecum’s stats, he’s one of six guys who should be considered for the award, and should be leading them all in wins.
Five times this year Tim Lincecum either lost or got a no decision after pitching at least seven innings while only surrendering one run or less, two of those games completing eight innings to no avail. It’s not some outlandish, or “homer” proposition to suggest that if the Giants could’ve just scored two runs for their ace, one run in one of the games, Lincecum’s win total would be 18.
There are another five games that Lincecum lost or got a no decision after pitching at least five innings while surrendering only three runs or less, two of those games going seven innings. If the Giants' anemic offense could’ve scored more than three runs in just one of those five games, added to the previous five we discussed, Lincecum would be tied with Ian Kennedy of the Arizona Diamondbacks for the most wins in the NL.
If you couple that with the rest of Lincecum’s numbers, you start to see why he should be getting more attention. Lincecum is second in strikeouts, third in opponent’s batting average, and fifth in ERA. If his wins were in the 18 or 19 range, he absolutely would be in the running for his third Cy Young.
In addition to the quality starts described above, Lincecum has already recorded another 10 quality starts this season, winning eight of those games even though the Giants' offense scored three runs or less. Furthermore, seven of those eight games Lincecum left the game without allowing an earned run.
If you follow the Giants on a daily basis, you know what kind of year Lincecum is having; it’s just too bad the national media isn’t paying attention. Lincecum not only continues to go about his business, taking care of the things he can control, but he doesn’t point fingers and he doesn’t complain, even though he’s well aware of his win total and what could’ve been.
Giant fans just better hope Lincecum isn’t paying attention to the run support other pitchers are receiving, like the New York Yankees' CC Sabathia. Sabathia’s win total is 19 with an ERA that is almost half a point higher than Lincecum’s.
Then again, I’m sure the Yankees are very aware how many wins Lincecum would have this year if he were pitching in pinstripes. I pray that day never comes.