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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Tim Lincecum’s struggles continue as his spring ERA creeps into double digits

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It would have put to rest so many questions if Tim Lincecum had just come out and had a strong spring. Not even a dominating spring or a return-to-Cy-Young-form spring.

Just a promising one. Just good enough that the San Francisco Giants could say, “OK, there’s some of the old Tim Lincecum we used to know. That’s one thing we don’t have to worry about right now.”

That hasn’t happened this spring and it definitely didn’t happen Saturday, as Lincecum struggled in three innings against the Oakland Athletics. Before Saturday’s start, Lincecum had given up eight runs in 7 2/3 innings. A blister on his middle finger caused him to miss two starts.

Things didn’t get better against the A’s. Lincecum gave up five run on six hits and three walks, taking the L in the Giants’ 12-5 defeat. His spring ERA? It’s in the double digits — 10.97.

Most of carnage was his own fault. Lincecum got too deep into counts and lacked command.

“Some good moments,” Lincecum said, “and some pretty bad ones. Letting batters get away and not finishing guys off. That’s a little rough. Outside of that, I had the strikeouts. Stuff was moving around pretty well. It just goes back to location.”

 

Repoz Posted: March 24, 2013 at 08:03 AM | 20 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: giants

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   1. 'Spos lost the handle trying to make the transfer Posted: March 24, 2013 at 08:45 AM (#4395212)
G-d, what a mess...
   2. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: March 24, 2013 at 10:08 AM (#4395222)
Getting rid of that hideous hair was necessary, but not sufficient.
   3. shoewizard Posted: March 24, 2013 at 11:41 AM (#4395238)
It all started when he first faced Paul Goldschmidt in August of 2011.

That was the beginning of his demise
   4. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 24, 2013 at 12:25 PM (#4395250)
Ugh, paid $16 for him in our NL-only auction league. I already hate my team.
   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 24, 2013 at 12:39 PM (#4395253)
Is there any talk he needs surgery? Because that would make this all a lot more understandable.

How's his velocity this spring?

Ugh, paid $16 for him in our NL-only auction league. I already hate my team.

$260 cap? Yeah, that's a lot.
   6. tshipman Posted: March 24, 2013 at 12:50 PM (#4395265)
Lincecum is going to be okay. He was back up to 93 in the ST game I saw him start.

He's goofing around with the curveball, he's trying different things. Everyone should ignore ST numbers.

(this opinion is in no way influenced by him being my favorite player)
   7. Squash Posted: March 24, 2013 at 01:46 PM (#4395288)
I wonder if he's being victimized by Barry Zito disease, where opponents gradually discover he doesn't have great command and wait for him to get into hitter's counts. He's obviously awesome and I hope he gets it together.
   8. vortex of dissipation Posted: March 24, 2013 at 02:57 PM (#4395323)
It all started when he first faced Paul Goldschmidt in August of 2011.


Eight for 14, five home runs. That's pretty amazing.
   9. Dan Posted: March 24, 2013 at 03:39 PM (#4395338)
I wonder if he's being victimized by Barry Zito disease, where opponents gradually discover he doesn't have great command and wait for him to get into hitter's counts. He's obviously awesome and I hope he gets it together.


I think there's something to this. Lincecum has never had great command. He succeeded initially by overpowering hitters, and then by fooling hitters, but he's never had good location. Whether he's just lost that special edge on his stuff or scouting and video finally got hitters to take better approaches, it seems like the only way he's going to get back to ace level performance is by commanding the ball better and throwing more to the edges of the strike zone.

I read an article on Fangraphs that basically said Lincecum throws as few pitches at the edge of the strike zone as anyone; that he either misses or throws the ball into the heart of the zone with most pitches. Note that this wasn't new with last year's struggles; even as a top pitcher he was doing to same thing.
   10. BDC Posted: March 24, 2013 at 05:17 PM (#4395380)
Everyone should ignore ST numbers

I developed a theory awhile back that spring-training numbers should be ignored for all hitters and for established pitchers. My exception was pitching prospects, who are clearly trying to prove themselves and to get people out, while facing hitters who are all always trying to succeed (there's no batting equivalent of "messing around with a new breaking pitch"). It's hardly infallible, but if you see a pitcher with promise who excels in March, he ought at least to get some consideration on that basis.

It seemed to work for Kevin Brown about 25 years ago, so I have held that theory tenaciously ever since on the basis of no new evidence :-D
   11. cmd600 Posted: March 24, 2013 at 05:26 PM (#4395381)
10 - I've come to the exact same conclusion without any evidence to support it, glad someone else gets the same impression.
   12. John Northey Posted: March 24, 2013 at 05:35 PM (#4395397)
Going by spring numbers and 2012 results a fair number of guys who were 'team aces' going into 2012 could be done in 2013 - Roy Halladay, Tim Lincecum, and Ricky Romero (OK, not at the level of the other two, but was an all-star with a 146 ERA+ in 2011 then crash and burn). Any others I haven't noticed?
   13. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: March 24, 2013 at 08:57 PM (#4395520)
I saw a Mets pitching prospect in a split squad game today - Jack Leathersich. The guy struck out about 110 batters last year in about 75 relief innings with an entirely reasonable number of walks. In the game today, he was tossing it up there at 90-92, with no control. At one point the color guy noted that this was a LHP who does very well against RHB, and I thought - there it is. This is the prototypical guy who fools the hell out of minor league batters, but will never get anyone out in the majors.

In other words, I believe in this one inning of evidence on a pitching prospect, eye-popping A-ball line notwithstanding.
   14. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: March 24, 2013 at 09:31 PM (#4395545)
(there's no batting equivalent of "messing around with a new breaking pitch")

Sure there is! Trying a new batting stance. Cal Ripken Jr. did that every season, sometimes during a season, for example.
   15. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: March 25, 2013 at 02:13 AM (#4395628)
Sure there is! Trying a new batting stance. Cal Ripken Jr. did that every season, sometimes during a season, for example.


And of course, the apocryphal "Manny Ramirez stuck out on a slider intentionally in ST so that he could drive it in the regular season" or sumsuch, stories.
   16. Ryan Lind Posted: March 25, 2013 at 03:03 AM (#4395629)
Just ask Derek Bell what he thinks about spring training performance.
   17. Up2Drew Posted: March 25, 2013 at 01:31 PM (#4395881)
Did Cal Ripken practice new methods of looking annoyed and rolling his eyes at every called strike in spring training, too?

Just wondering.
   18. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: March 25, 2013 at 01:40 PM (#4395884)
In other words, I believe in this one inning of evidence on a pitching prospect, eye-popping A-ball line notwithstanding.

I saw Michael Wacha throw a few pitches the other day and immediately decided he was this year's surprisingly ace-like young Cardinal pitcher in the vein of Lance Lynn and Jaime Garcia.
   19. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 25, 2013 at 01:40 PM (#4395885)

(there's no batting equivalent of "messing around with a new breaking pitch")


Yes there is, its the excuse the media is giving for Francoeur's awful spring training. He's "looking for his swing."
   20. Walt Davis Posted: March 25, 2013 at 04:46 PM (#4396124)
He's "looking for his swing."

It only gets worse if he finds it.

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