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Giants to keep Tim Lincecum in rotation after latest loss

Jun 17, 2012, 10:00 PM EDT

Tim Lincecum AP

Many thought Tim Lincecum was one more bad start away from either having his turn skipped or receiving a temporary demotion to the bullpen. Lincecum, though, has escaped that fate after giving up five runs and two homers in a loss to the Mariners on Saturday.

Manager Bruce Bochy said today that Lincecum will make his start Friday against the A’s.

The Giants have lost nine straight games started by Lincecum, who is now 2-8 with a 6.19 ERA for the season. Lincecum’s last win came on April 28 against the Padres. He’s allowed at least four runs in 10 of his 14 starts.

Lincecum showed better velocity last night, which is perhaps one reason the Giants have chosen to hold off on making any changes.

“He’s healthy. He feels good,” Bochy told CSNBayArea.com’s Andrew Baggarly. “I know the results haven’t been great for Timmy, but you just see too many good signs. Even after the first inning (Saturday), he had bad luck there.

“At this point we think the best thing is to let him fight through this. If we felt different, we’d do it.”

They probably will feel different if Lincecum can’t pitch his way past the light-hitting A’s next weekend.

  1. cosanostra71 - Jun 17, 2012 at 10:17 PM

    hope he returns to form, I like watching him when he’s on.

  2. randygnyc - Jun 17, 2012 at 10:40 PM

    Tim’s current performances don’t surprise me. What does surprise me is that he was ever dominant to begin with, considering that awkward, non repeatable delivery, his slight, feminine frame and laid back approach. He can be proud to say he was a central figure in winning a world series and the owner of 2 much deserved CY Young awards. He’s made millions playing the game he loves which will enable him to remain sufficiently stoned throughout the remainder of his life. It would be foolish to count him out, but can he be counted on? Time will tell.

    • shanabartels - Jun 17, 2012 at 11:55 PM

      Instead of adding to the ever-increasing thumbs down on your comment (which I almost did), I’ll tell you what I think is so offensive about it. Tim Lincecum does not have a feminine frame. Just because he doesn’t have the build of, say, Matt Cain, that does not make him feminine. I doubt you’d describe David Robertson as “feminine” even though he and Lincecum share a similar build and unconventional mechanics to get the most out of their less-than-6’0″, less-than-200-pounds bodies. They’re not huge guys; they get a lot of their power from the fact that they have the longest stride off the rubber in their respective leagues. But they’re both capable of doing incredible things and I have tons of respect for both of those pitchers. Take it from a woman, though: calling Lincecum feminine is both incorrect and offensive.

      I also disagree with your central thesis. The main reason Lincecum has been successful throughout his career is that he CAN repeat his delivery, unusual as it may be, and throw hitters off their game. He has struggled enormously this year, needless to say. Nobody’s disputing that, and I haven’t the foggiest idea what’s causing him all this trouble. I won’t try to diagnose him. I will say that it’s been difficult to watch (and I do watch every game), because even if I didn’t care about the Giants, it’s fun to watch him work (when he’s effective) and nobody likes to see a young guy with so much promise struggle. I agree with your statement that it would be foolish to count him out. But I still believe he’ll get back on track.

      I also staunchly believe in Phil Hughes, even though a lot of other people have decided to label him as a failure. I don’t know what that says about me. But I don’t give up on guys who are still in their 20s and show flashes of brilliance. That would be very silly.

      • Gonzo - Jun 18, 2012 at 12:43 AM

        Bravo, Shana. Bravo.

      • Ben - Jun 18, 2012 at 2:34 AM

        Shana, you pretty much summed up randygnyc–incorrect and offensive.
        Also, agree with everything (except maybe Phil Hughes..)

      • cur68 - Jun 18, 2012 at 4:56 PM

        Yeah Randy, what she said. If “feminine build” included shoulder-width ~ twice as wide as hips (like Lincecum), then you got me nailed with that label, too.

  3. Ben - Jun 17, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    He has Max Scherzeritis. Walking too many and giving up too many inexplicable homeruns.

  4. biasedhomer - Jun 17, 2012 at 11:59 PM

    That unorthodox delivery that scouts said could harm him eventually, may in fact be harming him.

  5. randygnyc - Jun 18, 2012 at 1:28 AM

    Shana, I’m very sorry if my post seemed offensive to you. Those weren’t my intentions. I too have an unusual amount of respect for his accomplishments, regardless if they’ve have surprised me while he achieved them. I won’t dwell on what offended you, but I will say that, in general, factors do exist that to must be considered as cause to the difference in his performance. His height is only one factor, as are his narrow back and slight musculature. His mechanics are antithetical to what every pitcher, regardless of level, considers normal.

    This year Tim hasn’t been successful. Something has changed. Motivation, mechanics, physical ability, desire and possibly injury. I certainly don’t profess to knowmthe answers. I’m just merely making an observation. Tim has been an underdog and has achieved the highest level of successes in baseball. Will we see those continue, despite the factors that originally made him an underdog still exist, and now there’s newly seen evidence that some of those factors has in fact, diminished his abilities. Again, only time will yield the truth.

    I’ll reiterate my original apology again. If I said anything that you deemed offensive, and those words harmed you, IN ANY WAY, I apologize.

    • shanabartels - Jun 18, 2012 at 1:57 PM

      I accept the apology. I just want you to understand that the word choice was really inappropriate. Nobody ever calls a pitcher “feminine” and means it in a good way. I very rarely leave comments on HBT (even though I read this blog every day), but I had to speak up about that.

  6. aceshigh11 - Jun 18, 2012 at 2:08 AM

    That sucks…I hate seeing a great young pitcher lose his mojo like this. Hopefully he can bounce back and return to his earlier excellence. He’s always been exciting to watch.

    I do somewhat agree with Randy (although calling his build “feminine” was highly unfortunate, not to mention untrue): tall, thin guys ARE at a disadvantage when it comes to athletics.

    I have a somewhat similar build and have had lower back issues at a pretty young age. I was surprised to learn from my doctor that it’s common for people with my physique…tall peoples’ bodies put more pressure on the spine, and excessive thinness can be a detriment in terms of having enough musculature and sturdiness to keep everything upright and in place.

    Now, I know the Giants are saying he’s healthy but I wouldn’t be too sure. Randy Johnson and Clay Buchholz are two examples of ballplayers with beanpole builds who suffered from back problems.

    That’s why a guy like Sabathia, jokes about his weight aside, is such a workhorse. He derives a lot of power from his massively strong legs and upper body. Even though he could stand to work on his gut, he will prove to be much more durable over his career because of that physical sturdiness.

  7. riverace19 - Jun 18, 2012 at 3:59 AM

    His stats will tell you some of what’s going on. I don’t have them at the ready, but his strand rate is VERY low, his walks are up, and his BABIP is still above norm.
    I’ve watched him pitch almost every game this year; when he starts pitching from the stretch his mechanics break down. His release point changes and he leaves pitches up.

    • thomas2727 - Jun 18, 2012 at 11:22 AM

      I agree 100%. I have watched every start this season too. He cannot pitch from the stretch. Finally that angle is starting to get more traction in the media. His offspeed pitches are often so bad they are easy takes for the hitter.

      I think the hand writing is on the wall that he will not be on the Giants in 2014. Cain and Bumgarner look to be a good one-two punch and are locked up through 2018-2019.

      That will soften the blow of letting Lincecum walk for the Giants and their fans.

      Nobody knows what will happen between now and his free agency. But consider if you are paying him $20 million per season for approximately 5 years. You are always going to have in the back of you mind that he could repeat his August 2010 and first half of 2012.

      I am confident the Giants will let another team take the risk.

      • gogigantos - Jun 18, 2012 at 11:27 AM

        Maybe, this all works out well and he signs for less after a lesser year. After years of watching and not believing, I do believe he will get through this and be beauty again.
        That said, it is his liking to work short contracts, so keep him on short contracts. Never know when he will fall apart.

  8. 49ersgiants4life - Jun 18, 2012 at 4:41 AM

    Let Timmy smoke! He has been looking a little frail ever since he got caught!

    • SmackSaw - Jun 18, 2012 at 11:03 AM

      Looks like he picked the wrong time to stop smoking weed.

  9. chill1184 - Jun 18, 2012 at 8:42 AM

    Sucks to see a pitcher (who isnt a complete and total douchebag) who has had a great career up to this point and just suddenly drop off like this. Hope for the Giants’ sake he figures it out

  10. ajcardsfan - Jun 18, 2012 at 8:56 AM

    If the Giants are will to keep playing him, then I guess I’ll keep him on my fantasy league and take the hit on WHIP/ERA stats. I know the second I take him off the roster will be the game he dominates the opposition. Maybe, just maybe, I’m a jinx, and I’m what’s wrong with Tim Lincecum?

  11. klink6224 - Jun 18, 2012 at 10:17 AM

    Enough of these great pitchers have had a season when they were just off and looked mortal for the first time. Remember when Cliff Lee was demoted before coming back with a vengance in Cleveland? Or when Roy Halladay had the same? (granted his was before he really tapped into his greatness).

    And then of course we have the redemption story of Barry Zito who first shown his dulling armour in 2007 and quickly redeemed himself in… 2016?

  12. thefalcon123 - Jun 18, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Lincecum is still striking out nearly 10 batters per nine. His problem is control and bad luck. His BABIP is .336 and he’s walking nearly 5 batters per nine.

    The guy is 28, won two Cy Youngs, made four All-Star teams and is still King 10 batters per nine innings. Leave him in the rotation!

  13. downhillrider - Jun 18, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    I remember going to a game with my Uncle and watching this guy pitch when he came up. It was really impressive. But we knew when we saw him that he had a few good years in him and he would go downhill fast. His body type just cant take the torque. Something has to give.

  14. bettiegirl2000 - Jun 18, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    This young man has been tormented all his life regarding his small frame, bullied in school and yet he overcame the trauma to become one of the best starters in the MLB. To say that he has a feminine frame or something like that is not fair and not true. A man of true grit you will not find, especially in the MLB where “juicing up” is as common as a foul ball. Give the man time, his best years are ahead of him.

  15. hennri - Jun 18, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    Common people. Stop fooling yourselves. Timmy needs DRUG REHAB. Somebody gotta help him. Too much weed

  16. denny65 - Jun 18, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    Re-read the article, folks: Timmy lost to the Mariners.

    The Seattle Mariners, the best AAA ball club playing in the majors today.

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