Another start, another issue for Tim Lincecum.
As has been the case in most of Lincecum’s starts, the defense didn’t do the Freak any favors yesterday, continually making bad plays and botching balls that they seemingly vacuum for other members of the staff (or at least, have recently). That said, one can only make so many excuses for Lincecum and the Giants’ ace is in serious need of something – we just don’t know what this something is.
Giants’ color man Mike Krukow doesn’t appear to have any answers for the lost Lincecum either, but, he does seem concerned with the lack of velocity and suggests putting Lincecum on the disabled list isn’t out of the question:
"Krukow on Timmy: “Mechanically, he’s cutting off his own power. He was in 80s. We haven’t seen that for a while. It’s a big step backwards.”More Krukow on Timmy: “#SFGiants have options. They can skip him, or put him on the DL to work on things.”"
As to Krukow’s diagnosis of Lincecum’s velocity, late in the game Lincecum did dip significantly, but it wasn’t something that hampered him at the early stages of the tilt as he was hitting 93mph on out of house guns, some of the fastest we’ve seen from Lincecum this year (and last year, for that matter). Did something happen late in the game mechanically causing Lincecum to lose the earlier strong velocity? Was it something else? Hard to tell.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Lincecum go through an extended struggle – hell, during the Giants’ 2010 World Series run, Lincecum was absolutely dreadful for the month of August to a tune of 7.82 ERA – shocking as it may be, he hasn’t even hit an ERA of +7.00 in any of 2012’s first 2+ months.
Krukow does say that Lincecum should be given his upcoming start in Seattle prior to any trip to the disabled list or a skip in the rotation, but Lincecum’s lack of confidence and inability to have control of his pitches has grown pass the worrisome thoughts and is turning the corner into panic.
However, despite the struggles, it’s hard to see somebody as talented as Lincecum continue on this course for the foreseeable future. Outside entities will point to his lack of velocity, but Lincecum’s throwing similar speeds to his past two seasons. No, he’s not the fireballer he was during his rookie ’07 campaign, but he hasn’t been that pitcher for a few years now. Mechanically, his velocity is fine – mentally, he’s struggling. He knows it. We know it.
Doom and gloom aside, it’s just a matter of time until the funk is lifted. Might not be in Seattle this week. Might not be before the All-Star break. It might be a lost season for Lincecum – great talents have off years, but it will turn around.