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San Francisco Giants’ Tim Lincecum: a nice problem to have

By Mark ONeill
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Tim Lincecum, having just completed the first half of a two-year, $35 million deal, was the forgotten man in the San Francisco Giants’ pell-mell scramble to the 2014 World Series Championship. Except for one appearance, in the Game Two loss to the Kansas City Royals, in which he retired all five batters he faced, The Freak, as Lincecum is often called, languished on the postseason roster, as well as on the bench.

The most appropriate analogy that comes to mind, crosses over into the realm of football. It’s the same as as having Steve Young chill on the bench, because you have Joe Montana at quarterback. Or more recently, Colin Kaepernick playing, with Alex Smith polishing the pine. It’s a nice problem to have.

Unlike the tension caused in Los Angeles, where there were four star outfielders, in an outfield with room for only three, Lincecum was more than willing to sit, if that is what would help the team the most. If Bruce Bochy never brought Timmy in to pitch a single time in the postseason, then he would still be an unknown commodity, and all we would have is his track record.

All? What Lincecum has done in the postseason, is post a 5-2 win/loss record, with a 2.40 ERA, in 13 games, six of them starts. He has pitched a total of 56.1 innings, allowing 15 earned runs, on 34 hits. He has walked 14, and struck out 65. His WHIP (walks/hits per inning pitched) of 0.852 is sterling.

Jun 25, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum (right) celebrates with catcher Hector Sanchez (29) after throwing a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres at AT&T Park. The San Francisco Giants defeated the San Diego Padres 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

More importantly, he has that elusive quality of being able to shut out the noise and intensity of an opposing crowd, and bear down on the mound. That single component adds an immeasurable dimension to his repertoire.

What Timmy has cannot be begged, borrowed or stolen. He has stage presence on the biggest grandstand of all-the World Series.

As fans have seen so frequently this postseason, some very big names turned in some very small performances, and some not-so-household-like names, turned in some epic, telling shots.

Just as Pablo Sandoval actually sat out most of his first playoff experience, in 2010, so Timmy was on quasi-permanent “pine” detail, giving the bench almost one hundred percent of his “grabbing” capacity, throughout the 2014 postseason. Like a good neighbor, he was there if needed, and like a good teammate, he did not snivel at being left out of the limelight.

As a wise reader recently commented, “Sometimes being a good teammate, means sitting on the bench in a supportive capacity.”

Timmy closed out the 2010 World Series and he created quite a stir with his inspiring relief work in the 2012 Series. Despite his not playing a significant role in the most recently completed tournament, there is always 2015.

The heck with this even-numbered business.

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