Sunday, July 14, 2013

Tim Lincecum: The Moment Vs. The Season

Icing him down with speed
Tonight in San Diego, the San Francisco Giants let their starting pitcher, a former Cy Young award winner, stay in a game where they were up by 9 runs in the ninth to complete the game -- so, basically, a game they could have probably won with a position player on the mound. Said pitcher wound up striking out 13 men, and throwing a career-high 148 pitches. The story made the front page of ESPN, and if past precedent is any indication, the pitcher is at very high risk for injury and decreased effectiveness for the rest of the season.

Such is the price for Tim Lincecum striking out 13, walking four, hitting a batter and, oh, right, no-hitting the Padres. In a road game, by the way.

Along with history and superstition, why would the Giants do this? Well, because they probably know they are dead in the water this year. At 43-50, they are 6.5 behind in the NL West, but would have to pass the Rockies, Dodgers and Diamondbacks to win the division, and LA in particular looks poised to be a lot better in the second half. They are actually even further out in the wild card race, trailing the Pirates and Cardinals by 8.5 games. Lincecum's effort tonight notwithstanding, this pitching staff hasn't been nearly as good as advertised, with Matt Cain in particular falling off a cliff. Maybe this is the spark they need, but there isn't much for this team to hang their hat on right now. The offense is below the mean, and so is the pitching, and one has to wonder about the hunger for a team that has recent championships. Short of Buster Posey, there really isn't a bat that scares you here, and while that was also true for much of 2012, when the pitching isn't otherworldly, it looks a lot more fatal.

But congrats to Lincecum for the accomplishment, and to the Giants for letting him get it done, given that the All Star Break starts tomorrow, and no hitters are kind of like flags -- they fly forever.

But if you suddenly start seeing him offered up in your fantasy league, don't overpay...

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