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Timmy is back? Lincecum delivers best start of season

Jun 27, 2012, 7:09 PM EDT

Tim Lincecum AP

“Timmy was Timmy today.”

At least, that’s what manager Bruce Bochy said after the two-time Cy Young Award winner shut out the Dodgers for seven innings and struck out eight in a 3-0 win.

It was Lincecum’s first victory since April 28. He lowered his ERA from 6.07 to 5.60.

Lincecum’s turnaround actually seemed to begin last week against the A’s. In that one, he overcame a dreadful three-run first to retire 18 of the final 20 hitters he faced.

Along the way, Lincecum apparently picked up a new personal catcher. Bochy said he talked to Buster Posey last night and informed him that Hector Sanchez would do the catching for Lincecum for now. Posey started at first base today and went 1-for-2 with two walks.

Of course, it should be noted that Lincecum’s success in his last two starts has come against two incredibly underwhelming lineups. After the Dodgers lost Andre Ethier in the first inning to a strained oblique today, their best hitter was either A.J. Ellis or Bobby Abreu.

Still, Lincecum is showing both better velocity and command than he started the season with. It’s doubtful he’ll return to Cy Young form, but maybe he’ll resume being an asset as the Giants attempt to win the NL West. After completing a three-game sweep today, they and the Dodgers have identical 43-33 records.

  1. Gamera the Brave - Jun 27, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    “It’s doubtful he’ll return to Cy Young form,…”

    On what do you base that prediction? Sure, Lincecum has been crummy, but that’s an odd prediction to make about a 2-time Cy Young winner. It’s possible he will end up as a decent middle-of-the-rotation guy, or may return to dominance, or even return to sucking – but any prediction seems pretty darn premature.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jun 27, 2012 at 7:40 PM

      Based mostly on the fact that he was throwing harder then than he is now. My belief is that he’s working harder to generate less velocity now than he was when he was throwing harder then and that it’s left him with weaker command. He certainly looked better and more comfortable today than he did a month ago, but I don’t see think the fastball or the curve are coming all of the way back.

      One man’s opinion, of course. I could be wrong.

      • nineroutsider - Jun 27, 2012 at 8:28 PM

        He still hits 94. From what I have seen, command has been his major issue. He has slowly been losing velocity for years. He is just now learning how to be a pitcher (meaning hitting spots, and just trying to blow everyone away with gas) and he’s adjusting. While he may not win another Cy Young, he will largely regain his old form and it will happen quickly. Back out 10 bad innings and the guy has completely different stats.

      • hisgirlgotburrelled - Jun 28, 2012 at 9:21 AM

        His fastball topped out at 92.1 yesterday. His career average is 93.1. And he used to hit 95 a lot. He averaged 93.22 in ’09, 92.11 in ’10, 93.11 last year, and is at 91.09 this year (which was below 91 before yesterday). He dropped 2 MPH from last year. That is not a slow drop.

        His curveball was getting hit more this year, % swing is up, % whiff is down, and % HR is up. Yesterday it wasn’t hit as much. 2 things looking at the strikezone plots from yesterday: 1st pitch balls up in the zone, and a lot of whiffs low out of the zone. His curveball was working for him, but the fastball still isn’t there. 19 of 33 fastballs for strikes.

        Something is working if you’re getting that many whiffs on balls (curveballs) low out of the zone (and that’s a lot of bad swings), but he was a strike-out pitcher with a very good fastball. I don’t think he suddenly turned to being a finesse pitcher for yesterday’s game.

        Why would anyone “back out 10 innings”? You could do that for just about every pitcher and they look like all-stars.

    • deadeyedesign23 - Jun 27, 2012 at 7:44 PM

      If it wasn’t premature it wouldn’t be a prediction.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 27, 2012 at 8:05 PM

      Lincecum:

      ’08 – 10.51 K/9, 3.33 BB/9, 0.44 HR/9 with a 2.62 ERA/2.62 FIP/3.13 xFIP
      ’09 – 10.49 K/9, 2.72 BB/9, 0.40 HR/9 with a 2.48 ERA/2.34 FIP/2.83 xFIP
      ’12 – 9.87 K/9, 4.88 BB/9, 0.87 HR/9 with a 6.07 ERA/3.78 FIP/3.77 xFIP

      He’s got a long way to go to reach those lofty heights again

    • djpostl - Jun 27, 2012 at 10:28 PM

      Not an odd one when the little guy with a high stress delivery has seen marked velocity loss at a point when guys his age don’t lose velocity it isn’t.

  2. rap49er - Jun 27, 2012 at 9:17 PM

    Hey Dodgers,

    Thanks for coming. Drive home safely!!!

    San Francisco

  3. djpostl - Jun 27, 2012 at 10:27 PM

    Lol versus the Dodgers without either Kemp or Ethier, i.e. the only two guys in the lineup that are even worth mentioning.

    Yeah, um, he’s gonna go back to getting stroked next start I bet.

  4. buffalomafia - Jun 28, 2012 at 2:51 AM

    Every pitcher is due a bad season!

    But…. Remember a few years back when Timmy had a bad July-August & then won the World Series on his great pitching?

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