After Tuesday night’s loss to the Anaheim Angels (one Tim Lincecum wasn’t involved in), the Freak took the team bus back to the hotel and for nearly two hours, talked to his father Chris – not only about baseball, but about life. The unexplainable bump in Lincecum’s road has taken its toll on the multiple time Cy Young award winner and he knows that with each tainted start, the leash is getting shorter – the noose tightening around his neck.
At first, it was no big deal – just a rough patch. Then as it grew, it was “we’ve seen this from Lincecum before – look at his August of ’10 numbers” – just a funk. Now, even Lincecum is questioning himself, as he told USA Today’s Bob Nightengale:
“I’ve never gone through anything like this in my life,” Lincecum told USA TODAY Sports. “I’ve set the bar high for myself, and I know I’m not coming through. I’ve been wearing these (expletive) losses hard. Real hard. This game is my passion, and this is killing me. I know I’m going to come out of this eventually. I just wish I knew when.”
“It’s almost like I’m pitching backwards now,” he says. “Like I’m a wuss thrower. I’ve got to start utilizing my fastball.”
The Giants changed Lincecum’s delivery, hiding the ball in his glove now instead of dangling it behind his back.
In the most ironic of situations, fellow starter Barry Zito (who had some miracle of a resurgence earlier this season during Lincecum’s struggles, though he’s currently fading) can sympathize with the Giants’ ace as he too went from former Cy Young to well, um, less then – though for Zito, it was a funk he was never able to shake.
“It’s tough,” teammate Barry Zito says. “You feel like you don’t belong. You feel like you’re not helping your team.”
Lincecum takes the mound tonight in Oakland, hoping to remove the doubts. It wont be easy though – the Athletics, coming off a series sweep of (what was) baseball’s best team, have their eyes set on taking out the Giants’ stud. Hopefully for Lincecum and the black and orange faithful, the changes along with the renewed sense of vigor after a late night phone call with his father will get the Freak back on the right track.