Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Fallible Tim

For the first time this year Tim Lincecum deserved to lose. His 5 inning, 5 hit, 5 run outing easily stands as his worst, especially since the All-Star Break. We have all spent a great deal of energy figuring out what makes Tim so good; I have always felt you can learn even more trying to figure out what makes players bad. This is a challenge with Lincecum (since he is hardly ever "bad" and never "Zito bad") but maybe we can gather something.

First of all, everything bad happened all at once, the fourth inning. One bad inning. I remember an interview with Tim in which he talked about the dangers of one bad inning. His main concern was the fatigue, he thought a stressful inning is worse than high pitch counts on the arm. This tells me that Tim worries about that one inning. Thirty seven pitches, 2 wild pitches, 2 xbase hits, 5 runs (hard to believe they were all earned considering Burriss' blunder) certainly qualifies as stressful. Tim's other strengths also faltered: several hits with RISP ( a stat that Tim owns!) and a long ball (only the tenth he has given up this year). I got the feeling that the homer was a classic Coors Field number; not cheap, a breaking ball that hung in the thin air. So, it seems that this poor outing serves better to underscore Tim's strengths than to educate us on his weaknesses.

So, The Enchanter probably should have lost....but the weakest (and classiest) Giant of them all got the big hit to take Tim off the hook. Isn't this game weird?


M.C. O'Connor said...

Coors Field is a tough place to pitch and they have a lot of good hitters. Even The Enchanter will get knocked around now and then.

His "Game Score" was 41, tied for his season low (the other was his 5 IP/5 ER stint in KC on 6/22). This was after three straight 70+ starts. Check out B-R's PI site for Tim's GameLogs .

Zo said...

I hear a lot more games on the radio than I get to see on tv. I made it home to watch the end of the 4th and the 5th last night. Tim looked bad. In the 5th, he bounced balls in the dirt and hit a batter's bat - behind his head. I was relieved to see the Giants mount a rally in the 5th with Tim due up so he could be removed after 92 pitches total. Otherwise I feared he would be back out for the 6th to seek a "win." Coors Field - there is some extra distance on fly balls but that is largely negated by the large outfield distances at Coors. What is tough is getting enough torque on the ball to have a good bite on a curve or slider in the 60'6" to home plate. Think about this for a minute: 132 pitch outing on a young arm that has reached 190 innings on the year put in a stressful situation (a 37 pitch fourth!) and having to put extra stress on the arm to get the ball to do what you want. If pitch counts are not a good metric of the strength of a pitcher's arm, according to Bruce Jenkins (and if you haven't read the firejoemorgan treatement on this article, please do), one would think that the situation, high pitches, wild pitches and hanging pitches over the plate would have some merit. Let's hope they did and not just the fortuitous chance of a rare Giants rally at the bottom of the order.

Brother Bob said...

Pablo went hitless for the 2nd straight game but the big news is he drew 3 walks to raise his career total to...4! Maybe he's getting smarter, and will give pitchers reasons to throw in the strike zone.
I have another player whose name ends in Z to write about, with the much-anticipated arrival of Olympian Nate Schierholtz. He represented well, with 2 hits.

Don C said...

Hi...great site! Here's hoping Timmy shakes off the last game, gets re-focused and continues his phenomenal season!