Almost as if it was predestined, Tim Lincecum stopped the current losing streak with a commanding 4-1 victory over the powerful St. Louis Cardinals. The Cards are clearly a team that can contend and they are off to a blistering start (10-5 before tonight). Our beloved Giants are limping home after an anemic 1-5 road trip that included never-before-seen ways to fail in scoring situations. But you knew we were going to win. Everybody pretty much did.
That brings me to my clever "sub-topic." Superstars of Tim's stature bring with them incredible expectations. Remember the glory days of Barry? You knew what was coming almost every day. It was exhilarating. Now we have a new Superstar and a new set of expectations. I took it upon myself to make a little checklist of what I've come to expect out of Tim. Let's see how he did tonight:
QUALITY START: Check. Seven innings and one earned run. That was the first run the Cardinals have got off Tim since April '08, a stretch of 25 innings.
LOVELY K/BB STATS: Check, but not his best. Eight strikeouts and three walks. In his three previous starts he had three walks, so you can see he was a bit wild. He seemed to rein in the velocity but never seemed to really control the fastball.
VERY FEW HARD HIT BALLS: Definitely a check. Six hits total; five singles and one double ( by Pujols with 2 outs that didn't score). The lone run came off an infield hit, stolen base, and a close play at home after a single. Remember, this was against a slugging team, too.
TRANSCENDENTAL MOMENTS: You know what I mean? Those times when you shake your head and gawk at the kid's ability to elevate his game at will. Even though tonight's effort wasn't pretty and seemed a struggle start to finish, I still spied one such moment. Early in the game as the Giants clung to a one run lead, Tim gave up a leadoff single (GASP!) and then a four pitch walk (WTF!). Now he had to face Pujols and Holliday, which is just about as scary as it gets. On the second pitch to Albert: a weak popup to second! Then, on a 3-0 pitch, Tim gets Holliday to ground into a double play (only the fifth one we've turned this year). I must admit I never really expect Tim to get a DP but I knew he'd do something.
Admit it, didn't you? What have you come to expect from The Freak?