Like I would know what Tim Lincecum has to do to turn his 2012 season around and straighten out his delivery mechanics. Get real. Same goes for speculation from anyone else who has an opinion but doesn’t have a desk in Dave Righetti’s office.
Dozens of apparently out of work MLB pitching coaches have been contacting San Francisco sportstalk radio shows nonstop to tell the Giants what they need to do to fix Lincecum’s pitching problems. I’m sure they’re trying to help, but their comments make it clear to me why they are no longer employed as pitching coaches.
Listening to sportstalk radio call-in shows is like being one of those guys who has to go into a damaged nuclear reactor. I can only do it for a few minutes at a time before my brain waves begin to flat-line. Suggestions I heard more than once included, trade Lincecum to the LA Angels for Albert Pujols because the Giants need more hitting, and send him to single A San Jose so he can dominate hitters again.
And the 2012 Albert Einstein Baseball Award goes to…
A large number of callers with hindsight derived from their hindquarters stated they knew Lincecum was going to be a bum two years ago. Hell, anyone could see that.
But back on point, Lincecum’s first 14 starts of this season have been disappointing. To put it mildly.
As usual, the actual numbers cut though the mounds of bovine excretion that can be currently found on the subject of Lincecum, Tim throughout the clouded infosphere:
> a 2-8 record;
> a 1.57 WHIP;
> a 6.19 ERA;
> the Giants are 2-12 in his 14 starts;
> if San Francisco’s record was a mere 7-7 in Lincecum’s starts (a difference of just 5 games), they would now be 42-25, tied for 1st place in the NL West and tied for the best record in baseball.
So, yes, this is big. And uncomfortable. And really annoying.
But here’s what I think everyone needs to do: stop waving your arms wildly, shouting “oh my god– Timmy, Timmy, Timmy”, and come in from the 89th floor ledge of the Giant fans headquarters building. Then sit down, have a bracing shot of Walgreen’s brand tequila and eat some oreos. If you don’t feel better, at least you’ll have something else to distract you.
All the arrows point to Lincecum’s pitching issues being worked out in time. Tim Lincecum is a world class pitcher in a world class organization that has been particularly adept at developing and retooling starting pitching. The chances are good that the Giants’ coaching staff will help move his game forward. Eventually.
For Lincecum’s part, he is feisty and combative about staying in the starting rotation and working out of his slump on his own terms. “I want to pitch every 5th day. I want that ball…” was Lincecum’s statement after Saturday’s loss to the Seattle Mariners, as quoted by SF Chronicle sports writer Henry Schulman.
Giants Manager Bruce Bochy has announced that Lincecum would make his next scheduled start against the Oakland A’s on Friday June 22nd.
Now consider two things.
First, a glint of sunshine from the litterbox: Lincecum has struck out 83 batters in 77 innings pitched this season. And the Giants are in 2nd place in the NL West and have the 8th best record in the Majors. Starting in 2012, ten MLB teams will make the playoffs.
Second, Tim Lincecum just turned 28 years old and has done a few things in his career that give him huge cachet to work through this tough period. Period.
Career stats to date:
Strikeouts per 9 innings: 9.9
Post season record: 4-1
Post season WHIP: .919
Post season strikeouts per 9 innings: 10.5
World Series won: 1 (so far).