Something is wrong with Tim Lincecum. After giving up five runs in his first start this year, things got worse for him last night. In just 2.1 innings, Lincecum allowed six runs on nine hits while walking two and striking out only one batter. While it’s usually not smart to make conclusions based on just 7.2 innings, Lincecum has already shown some reasons for folks to be concerned. And unless something changes, Lincecum could be in for a rough season.
...With his diminished velocity, Lincecum has also seen his peripherals drop. In his first full season, Lincecum struck out 28.6% of the batters he faced. That number dropped to 24.4% last year. That’s still pretty exceptional, but the number is declining. What’s more concerning is Lincecum’s walk rate. Lincecum’s BB% fell to a career low 7.5% in 2009, but it jumped to 9.6% last year. And even though he has lost velocity in the past and succeeded, you have to wonder how long he can be effective if his fastball averages 90 mph the whole season.
...While Lincecum has seen some signs of decline in the past couple years, this latest velocity change could be a sign that something is seriously wrong. Unless he regains his lost velocity, or he alters his repertoire, his run as an elite pitcher might be in jeopardy.