Tim Lincecum was bad. Then he was back. Then he was bad. Bad, bad, back, back, bad. If Tim Lincecum’s season was a roller coaster ride, it would probably be Big Thunder Mountain. Not a lot of severe ups and downs, but you’re gonna get jerked around a lot. Unpopular opinion: I hate Disneyland.
Lincecum in his last 4 outings:
26.2 IP, 8 ER, 32 K, 7 BB
That’s good for a 2.75 ERA. Those are cold numbers, and they’re good. But watching Lincecum, even with a win and solid outing, things jump out that scare the living piss out of me. Nothing has changed from 2008 to 2012 when it comes to his breaking pitches, they still make hitters look silly late in counts, especially in the dirt. Watching elite hitters swing like Juan Uribe provides the unicorn blood I need to get through my workday. But those pesky-because-they-aren’t-pesky-anymore fastballs. Lincecum never had the fastball control that Vogey 2.0 or Greg Maddux any-.0, but failing to elevate two consecutive fastballs to Justin Turner late in his outing brings up more questions than it answers. Why can’t Lincecum keep the ball down? Why can’t he get it up (snigger)? Why does he seem to get fatigued at 90 pitches?
I have a thought that has been tugging at me all season. I don’t think I’ve written about it but it has been bandied over brews with bros. I think the weight loss really hurt Lincecum’s ability to pitch at the big-league level. Yes, Lincecum creates torque and therefore velocity with his windup similar to a pitcher that weighs 220 pounds. Coming into 2011, I eyeballed Tim Lincecum at about 175 lbs maximum. With rocks, a hammer, and a nunchucks all hidden in his uniform. So when preseason reports  claimed Tim Lincecum had dropped 22 lbs (from 197 to 175 in the article, bwahahaha), I got nervous. Because by my count, he couldn’t be anything over 155. Torque gone. When his velocity showed up in the 89-90 range, it became apparent that the lack of mass was affecting how he pitched.
Unfortunately, I don’t think there is an in-season solution for Licecum’s “mass-ive” problem. As an athlete playing a grinding schedule, there is no healthy way for Lincecum to put on weight. Ask Pablo Sandoval. I think the Giants’ training staff can create an off-season program that gets Lincecum back to whatever his “normal” was before 2012. Will this prevent fatigue or fastballs catching too much of the zone? I don’t know. Couldn’t hurt.
Welcome Hunter Pence and Marco Scutaro, you know not what we expect of you. Let’s look at the new lineup pretending I’m in charge of who sits and starts and who bats where. This is how it should really be. I’ll even sit on Bochy’s shoulders. Also, let’s pretend everyone is healthy because that’s more fun:
This lineup takes a shit later than any lineup since the end of 2010, when Ross/Burrell/Uribe/Huff were all somehow above average hitters. I have no issue with Scutaro leading off. He slaps the ball around just enough to be a better option that Nate Schierholtz. As a nod to Wendy Thurm lets bat Belt second, so his OBP can mean something because he isn’t hitting in front of Neifi Perez. Pence solves a lot of problems, whether he bats fifth or sixth. He isn’t a middle-of-the-order thumper, but with an OPS+ above penis 100, he can protect the Giants homegrown talent just fine. Crawford and Theriot are interchangeable. Trust me.
with Blanco if Pagan continues to struggle/be a bitch
I would also have no problem with this. Even Belt hitting that late. Angel Pagan needs to start hitting things that are round and have seams, not walls or coolers. Thanks Angel.
Brandon Watch 2012:
Crawford: Has a fantastic arm. Is a hitter.
Belt: Walked for the first time in 20 plate appearances. Weird. Wonder if that is due to anything management is telling him. Nah. He did go 7-23 in that stretch. Great job, Giants. You turned Brandon Belt into Hector Sanchez.
Stats of the Day:
112: Pitches thrown by Tim Lincecum
95: When I thought Tim Lincecum lost it
112: The best pitch Tim Lincecum has thrown all season…and the ballsiest
7: Starts since Buster Posey had caught Tim Lincecum
.1%: Coming into today, the advantage Baseball Prospectus gives the Dodgers in the NL West. It’s a race, folks.