Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Down and Dirty Tim

There are some pitchers that are really tough on catchers. Every other pitch is in the dirt or bounced on the plate. Lots of wild pitches, or passed balls, depending on the mood of the scorer and mobility of the catcher. Tim Lincecum has joined the ranks of these pitchers in the last few outings. Just ask Bengie.

Tim did not always pitch like this. Well, of course, he has almost always been this effective. That was his 11th straight quality start, dating back to last year. In fact, that would be his 13th of last 14 starts, and his 25th out of 32 career starts. Impressive consistency. However, if you witnessed last night, consistent is probably not the word that comes to mind. Tim was all over the place; walking four and throwing two wild pitches. And, oh those balls in the dirt! Now that Tim uses his slider and changeup so much, especially with two strikes, he was regularly bouncing balls on the plate and, sometimes, many inches in front of the plate. I will leave the detailed analysis to experts like Bay City Ball, but I am sure that last year Tim was higher in the strike zone. Much like Cain, fly balls and strikeouts were the main course. This year we are seeing more grounders and, THIS IS HUGE, fewer homers and extra basehits. I see this as another sign of Tim's maturity. Bengie sees it as a reason for a pay raise.

Tim's opinion: "one of my worst outings ever" and " I just had a hard time finding any rhythm at all," Lincecum said. "I was trying to find it from pitch to pitch, as opposed to just having it."

But for the Giants, a much needed win. Only the fifth this month!


M.C. O'Connor said...

Anyone else on our staff throws 6 in Colorado and gives up 10 groundballs and gets 6 Ks and only yields 3 runs we'd be throwing a damn party, dodging champagne corks. If Zito does this, editorials across the land would be hailing his Resurrection. Tim has set the bar for himself so high that a mere "quality start" isn't good enough! He must have some really nasty action to get his curveball to work in Denver. That is a tough place to pitch, and makes Misch's start the other day look that much more impressive. And how about F-Lew? Struggling with an 0-for-4 he jacks one in the 9th to get it going. PLAY HIM EVERY DAY, BRUCE!

Tim leads all of baseball in strikeouts with 69 in 62-1/3 innings. Have we figured out yet what this kid CAN'T do?

By the way, his 24th birthday is coming up soon--June 15. How are we going to celebrate it?

wcw said...

Erm.. of course, Lincecum's GB% is basically flat with last year's at 46%. Edinson Volquez he isn't. Getting grounders is in fact something he can't do: aside from Webb's preposterous 67%, the league leaders sit in the 60% range here. He continues to walk to many, though his walk rate has moderated a bit.

That said, he's 2d in the league in K% (to Volquez, who's been great, but thrown fewer innings due to all that pitch count) and 1st by a nose (over Webb) in FIP. He's having a very fine season.

If he ever gets those walks down, he won't need a high groundball rate.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Walks seem to be an issue for all of our guys, certainly for Matt this year. I'm putting it down to youth. Wildness can be tamed, at least in theory. Here's where we get to find out if Dave Righetti actually does anything.

A good effort by our Lefty Bueno, Sanchez. Ugly, but effective. Again--Colorado. Tough place to pitch. They are struggling right now, but it won't last. They aren't going to win the pennant but they won't finish behind us--too much talent. If they can find a pitcher, they'll be OK.

Thanks for dropping by, WCW. I didn't know that about Tim's GB%. I expect we will see that increase a little as he gets more command of the breaking pitches. It seemed to me he was trying harder to get groundballs. Long fly outs work just fine in ATT and Petco, but not Coors. And pipping Webb for FIP--how cool is that?

Brother Bob said...

I thought we were going to have a case of deja vu all over again with Sanchez being on the losing end of a 2-0 score, but then our scrappy lads pulled it out in the 9th and 10th. Kudos to Omar for his heroics at the plate. Ya gotta love him.
There's a couple good recent examples of the relative meaning of wins and losses to pitchers. Monday's W for the Rocks went to Grilli, who recorded two friggin outs, and last night it went to T. Walker, who pitched the 9th inning for us. Like RBIs, it's often just a matter of being in the right place and time. But of course it depends on whether you fuck up or don't fuck up at that P&T.

Brother Bob said...

So nobody has anything to say about Ziro's first win of the season? No big outburst of optimism?
My nominee for first 1/3 of the season MVP is Benjie Molina. It's not his fault he's the best clean-up hitter we have. And catchers are automatically valuable.
Co-MVP maybe should be Lincecum, but I'm of the school of thought that pitchers shouldn't be MVPs.