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Velocity still down, Tim Lincecum gets hit hard by D-backs

Apr 6, 2012, 9:16 PM EDT

Tim Lincecum Getty Images

Tim Lincecum gave up two or more homers just three times in three seasons from 2009-11. He allowed that many in 2012 before his first inning was complete.

Chris Young and Paul Goldschmidt did the damage in the first, and the Diamondbacks tagged Lincecum for five runs in 5 1/3 innings in Friday’s season opener on their way to a 5-4 victory over the Giants.

Lincecum’s diminished velocity was a talking point throughout the spring, and the red flags started waving furiously when he spoke last week about ditching his slider to help keep his arm sound this season. Lincecum’s slider was in evidence today anyway, but his fastball only averaged about 90 mph in his debut.

Lincecum did finish with seven strikeouts anyway, and after the three-run first, he bounced back to pitch four scoreless innings before giving up two runs and coming out in the sixth.

Like it or not, Lincecum’s velocity figures to be a popular subject if he gets off to a slow start this year. When he entered the league, he averaged 93-95 mph with his fastball. However, according to Fangraphs data his average heater slipped from 94.1 mph in 2008 to 92.4 in 2009 and 91.3 in his disappointing 2010. It rebounded lasted year to 92.3, and with it came an improved ERA, going from 3.43 to 2.74.

If Lincecum turns out to be more of an 89-91 mph guy this year, there will probably be some growing pains. He’ll adapt and get outs, but it may take time. The possibility exists that he’ll prove to be the Giants’ third best starter, with Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner overtaking him.

  1. Ben - Apr 6, 2012 at 9:52 PM

    Shoulda taken the huge extension a year ago, Timmy.

  2. hittfamily - Apr 6, 2012 at 9:54 PM

    He had a bad first inning. So what. He k’d 4 in a row, before being pulled in the sixth because of a double (to a top 3 hitter in the NL), a fly out, a walk, an error, and a double. It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t horrible either. CC or Shields would have loved that start.

  3. aceshigh11 - Apr 6, 2012 at 10:12 PM

    He’s so cute when he’s sulking and pensive.

  4. hammyofdoom - Apr 6, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    With all of the comparisons he’s gotten to Pedro: slight framed, short (for a pitcher), right handed fireballer with great off-speed stuff, I can’t help but wonder if he’ll go the way of Pedro in other senses. Stupidly, incredibly dominant while young all while losing pure “stuff” relatively quickly and by the time he hits 32-33 he’s already having to pitch backwards, having to kind of out-smart hitters. Not saying its a bad thing, but with all of the comparisons early in his career I thought it funny in a coincidence kinda way

  5. illadelphiasphinest - Apr 6, 2012 at 10:40 PM

    Put the blunt down and pick up a weight. And cut your hair you look like a girl. Then again he does play in SF….

    • aceshigh11 - Apr 6, 2012 at 11:46 PM

      Oh, NOW I get it. San Fag-sisco, right?

      Good one, Slingblade.

      Lincecum is actually in great shape despite his skinniness.

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 7, 2012 at 12:24 PM

      When the narrow minded talk, Conservatives listen!

    • SOBEIT - Apr 7, 2012 at 2:55 PM

      The fact that you think he looks like a girl puts into question your own $exual preferences and judgement. I bet your gf or wife looks quite handsome.

  6. cosanostra71 - Apr 6, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    He had some good stretches too. It’s Opening Day. He had a rough game but it’s not the end of the world. I think he’ll still be the great pitcher we know he can be.

    • hittfamily - Apr 7, 2012 at 12:10 AM

      2 hHRs followed by 5 shutout inings. Let’s write about the 2 HR’s. What silly headline can HBT come up with this time?

      A reasonable person might suggest that the HR’s had far more to do with a low inside fastball being left belt high to Goldschmidt, and an inside fastball being located right down the pipe toUpton….but yeah, he’s lost 7/10 mph, so that must be the cause.

  7. dawglb - Apr 6, 2012 at 11:53 PM

    Leg-a-lize it……don’t cri-ta-cize it. Ok that is fine for Jamaica, but not MLB. The dude is a disgrace. Spicoli on the mound just doesn’t cut it…. He should wear a bagel in his belt. Tool.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 7, 2012 at 12:44 AM

      Spicoli? Everyone knows he’s Mitch from Dazed and Confused.

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 7, 2012 at 12:25 PM

      You’re the tool: a useful idiot for the rich and powerful!

  8. ch0psuey - Apr 7, 2012 at 1:14 AM

    First thing my mind registered when I perused this article’s picture was “Oh finally something about a cute brunette chic…… oh fawk”

    • areyesrn - Apr 7, 2012 at 8:17 AM

      OMG…glad I’m not the only one

  9. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Apr 7, 2012 at 9:43 AM

    Are we also spelling doom for Sabathia, Shields, Gallardo, Mariano, Leubke, etc etc who also got shelled in their first starts? The are all about 1/30th of the way through their seasons, so there is some time to turn things around.

  10. dawglb - Apr 7, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    Hey Lizard King, ….. Jeff Spicoli from Fast Times At Ridemont High….. Have you seen it?

  11. nauhurdler - Apr 7, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    Overrated and coming back to earth

    • hammyofdoom - Apr 7, 2012 at 8:35 PM

      Overrated? Really? After his rookie year he’s had one season with an ERA above 2.75 and his highest WHIP EVER is 1.28. His home/away split is only off by .1 ERA point over the past 3 years so you can’t even say its because of his home park. Yeah, nice try

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