Archive for the ‘Tim Lincecum’ Category

MLB: Spring Training-Detroit Tigers at Washington Nationals

It is easy to get too cute when thinking about pitching. For all the attention given Masahiro Tankaka’s splitter and Jose Fernandez’s curveball and Stephen Strasburg’s change up, there is no substitute for a good fastball.

There is no one set way to attack hitters but a good fastball goes an awful long way. Without one, pitchers are at the mercy of hitters to expand their zone and go after bad pitches.

Velocity isn’t everything but it certainly helps. Even a pitcher without his “peak” velocity can still dominate using a well-place fastball.

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MLB: San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks

Paul Goldschmidt owns Tim Lincecum. Paul Goldschmidt hits Tim Lincecum hard every time they face off. Every. Time. This is not a new phenomenon, as last season in this space we examined the impact of Goldschmidt’s Timmy tuning on his career line.

The beat went on yesterday afternoon, as Goldschimdt homered in his first plate appearance of the year against Lincecum. He later singled but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. It was the sixth career home run for Goldschimidt off the two-time Cy Young winner in just 21 career plate appearances to that point. Goldy can claim 12 hits and two walks in his 26 career PAs versus Timmy. That’s a lot.

It is unusual for one hitter to dominate a pitcher as great* as Tim Lincecum, one would think. In fact someone asked me just that on Twitter: do other great pitchers have hitters who own them as Goldschimdt owns the Giants former ace?

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San Francisco Giants Victory Parade

Follow this link if you want to see a list of starting pitchers with at least 380 innings pitched over the last two years who also struck out more than 380 batters. There are 16 names on that list. Tim Lincecum‘s name is on that list.

Follow this link if you want to see the same list but limited to players under the age of 30. There are just 10 names on that list. Tim Lincecum’s name is on that list, too.

Follow this link if you want to see a list of qualified starting pitchers who make batters swing and miss on at least 11% of all their pitches. There are eight names on this list. Tim Lincecum’s name is on this list.

This could go on all day. As someone who is, cards on the table, searching desperately for silver linings to Tim Lincecum’s two-year, $35 million contract, the amount of conditional context available to soften the edges of his last two seasons would make your head spin. (Starts with a Game Score of 50 or higher this season? 19, as many as Hiroki Kuroda, Justin Masterson, and Francisco Liriano. Compare Lincecum’s rate stats to Gio Gonzalez! Bequeathed runners Giants relievers allowed 12 of 18 runners Timmy left on base to score, more than double his career rate! Correct that and his ERA goes down by more than a quarter of a run!)

These carefully collected stats and data points don’t tell the whole story of Tim Lincecum’s last two seasons, of course. He’s pitched poorly at times. “At times” may or may not include the bulk of the 2012 season and at least a half-dozen different stinkers during 2013. But the rush to pronounce (artist’s rendering), with a sneer and crossed arms of satisfaction, that this deal is a gross overpay by the Giants fails to acknowledge several different realities. Reality being the operative word.

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Sometimes it feels like, once you reach a certain age and possess a certain worldview, that your cynicism (or deep skepticism) gets to be too much like Brian McCann, blocking any and all “feelings” from reaching the home plate in the middle of your chest under the flimsy conceit of “professionalism”.

For a moment, it appeared Brian McCann would triumph inside me. Last night, just as Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter emerged from the Yankees dugout to remove their long-time friend and teammate from his final home game, there was a brief flare up of reflexive dismissal, a feeling which quickly gave way to more sincere, human emotions. It was a very touching scene, triggering brief flashes of humanity deep with an icy cold exterior.

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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

In section 317 of AT&T Park on Thursday, in my Zack Greinke Brewers shirsey, I joined 41,219 fans in a standing ovation for Tim Lincecum as he completed an eight-inning, one-hit shutout start against my Milwaukee Brewers. How could you not? Lincecum struck out eight, induced an absurd 18 swinging strikes and allowed just one sharply hit ball — the lone base hit, a double through the shift by Brewers first baseman Juan Francisco. It was a performance any baseball observer can appreciate, no matter her allegiance.

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Philadelphia Phillies v San Francisco Giants

Tim Lincecum will not make things easy on the San Francisco Giants or their fans. Tim Lincecum, for a while, pitched like a man on his way out of town. Thanks for all the memories, Timmy. We’ll always have October.

After posting career worst numbers across the board in 2012, Tim Lincecum returned with something to prove in 2013 (despite coming off a second World Series championship.) Lincecum was, of course, relegated to the bullpen during that championship drive, providing key relief in big spots during the Giants victories over the Cardinals and Tigers.

For a guy with something to prove, Timmy didn’t exactly do a lot of “proving” in the early stages of the season. It felt like he walked the ballpark in April and then couldn’t get anything right in May. For a pitcher in a walk year, the only question remaining for the Giants revolved around the qualifying offer: would the Giants extend Lincecum the $14MM contract? What if he, gulp, took it?

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San Francisco Giants v San Diego Padres

There isn’t a lot to say about Tim Lincecum‘s performance on Saturday night. Whining about his pitch count misses the point entirely, as though a six-year veteran staring at eight days off isn’t capable of throwing above a certain number of pitches – almost all of which were thrown in low-stress situations.

There is not a lot to say about what this no-hitter, a dominant 13 strikeout performance against the Padres en route to a 9-0 win, adds to Tim Lincecum’s legacy. Tim Lincecum has two World Series rings and two Cy Young awards – one great start in a gigantic ballpark can’t knock this ship off course.

But Tim Lincecum’s start on Saturday night wasn’t nothing. It was awesome, an amazing performance by a man with all the bonfidas but not a lot in the way of recent success. While Lincecum’s legacy is secure, this no-hitter gave some Giants fans a chance to remember how much Tim Lincecum meant to them, before the relationship soured ever so slightly.

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