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Tim Lincecum has a 3.06 ERA since the All-Star break

Sep 19, 2012, 11:51 AM EDT

Tim Lincecum Getty Getty Images

Tim Lincecum isn’t quite back to being his old, Cy Young-winning self in terms of raw stuff or performance, but he’s bounced back from a terrible first half to quietly pitch very well for the past two months.

At the All-Star break Lincecum was 3-10 with a 6.42 ERA in 18 starts.

Since the All-Star break Lincecum is 7-4 with a 3.06 ERA in 13 starts.

He’s pitched better, no doubt, but it’s also worth noting that his secondary numbers in the first half weren’t nearly as bad as his ERA. For instance Lincecum struck out 104 batters in 98 innings before the break, which suggests he was anything but totally washed up and is actually a higher strikeout rate than he has in the second half.

Much of the difference in his performance came from the fact that Lincecum’s batting average on balls in play was .338 in the first half–which is very high–and is now .304 in the second half. In other words, when some of the bloopers stopped falling for hits and some of the line drives started finding gloves Lincecum magically ceased giving up runs in bunches.

You may want to attribute that to a change in luck or a change in approach or a change in the quality of his pitching, but whatever the case it’s nice to see Lincecum thriving again. And after 6.1 shutout innings against the Rockies last night his overall ERA is under 5.00 for the first time all season.

  1. Old Gator - Sep 19, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    But has he still got milk?

  2. marklar1025 - Sep 19, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    Thank you for the positive write up Mr Gleeman. Tim has still been a little wild in the 2nd half with a bunch of walks but the difference has been (like you noted) the 2 out dinks he was giving up once or twice a game have stopped. Its all in his body language.

  3. coachhowi - Sep 19, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    Watch out in the playoffs if he gets hot!!! The Giants can hit much better than they did in 2010! That could spell doom for the rest of the teams

  4. scatterbrian - Sep 19, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    His walk rate (4.3 per 9 IP) is the highest it’s been in his career.
    His line drive rate (24.7%) is the highest it’s been in his career.
    His fly ball rate (29%) is the lowest it’s been in his career, which skews this HR/FB rate (13.4%, highest in his career) but he’s also allowed the most homers (19) in his career.

    He’s putting too many runners on base, and allowing more hard hit balls.

    Those numbers haven’t fluctuated too much over the course of the season (at least looking month-to-month), so I would attribute the dip in ERA post-All Star break to luck. Not to mention facing some pretty crummy offenses (Cubs, Rockies, Dodgers).

    • scatterbrian - Sep 19, 2012 at 1:11 PM

      Wow. Sorry, Giants fans, for doing research.

      • Old Gator - Sep 19, 2012 at 1:53 PM

        Heh – go ahead and post this research on the Yahoo sports blog and watch what happens! You not only get thumbs down, but Moe appears and pokes you in both eyes.

  5. norcaldeportes - Sep 19, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    Scatterbrian, I’m pretty sure you could’ve saved yourself a few hours. Nobody is arguing that this isn’t the worst season of his career. What we’re saying is he’s looked much better his past few starts (mainly his last 4), and now is when the Giants need him most. Watch out in the playoffs. He may not have his best stuff, but this kid is a competitor, and likes pitching with a chip on his shoulder.

    • stlouis1baseball - Sep 19, 2012 at 2:35 PM

      More Cardinals…less Giants.

    • scatterbrian - Sep 19, 2012 at 3:29 PM

      A few hours? Fangraphs made this possible to do in about 10 minutes.

  6. riverace19 - Sep 19, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    Scatterbrian: If your point is that Lincecum isn’t fixed, you are correct. With that, I wouldn’t say he has been lucky in the second half, more like his terrible luck has become neutral. When you put guys on base with walks, you are more susceptible to “bad luck” hits like bloops, doinks, and seeing eye ground balls. A couple of starts ago he walked 7 batters. His fastball is 92 on a good day but if he locates it, his sinker and change become more deadly. He still has a tendancy to leave fastballs up, but last night vs. Rockies everything was working. The only reason he left in the 7th was due to a doink to 3rd, and a weak ground ball to Posey at 1st which he couldn’t handle.

  7. norcaldeportes - Sep 19, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    That’s still 10 minutes wasted. It’s painfully obvious he’s having the worst season of his career. The good news is it won’t matter if he performs in the playoffs.

  8. moogro - Sep 19, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    They did a great diamond demo near the all-star break on this at MLB network. I think it was Plesac who called it: Timmy needs to go straight over the top and follow through down to the plate to get power and movement. That’s been his form on good performances since.

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