San Francisco Giants all-time rotation: Which five starting pitchers make the cut?

By Carlos Murillo
6 of 7

Tim Lincecum

Aug 10, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum (55) delivers a pitch against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

If I offended you with any of my previous picks, I’m sure this one takes the cake. But alas, I have picked the Freak, the Franchise, Big Time Timmy Jim. But again, hear me out!

As Tim Lincecum enters his ninth season, I have to admit that his career has been one of the wackiest I’ve seen in professional sports. But I suppose an unorthodox career for such an unorthodox pitcher is only fitting.

The Freak’s violent motion has been analyzed by baseball fans and physicists everywhere. The strangeness of it helped win him 2 consecutive Cy Young Awards in 2008 and 2009. The league leading 200+ strikeouts each year didn’t hurt either. Even after his heyday, Lincecum has managed to throw two no-hitters.

Despite having three consecutive seasons with an ERA well over 4.00, Lincecum’s career earned run average is just 3.57. This, of course, is kept in check by his dominant early career ERAs (2.62 in 2008; 2.48 in 2009; 2.74 in 2011).  His win-loss record is 101-79 (56.1%) in spite of having offenses that have struggled to score runs. He’s fifth in career strikeouts for a Giant pitcher and he has the highest strikeouts per 9 innings ratio in franchise history: 9.427.

Lincecum is a team player and you want that out of your last starter. He’ll go to the bullpen and he can pitch in important games. Lincecum’s playoff debut is one for the ages (CG shutout, 14 strikeouts) and he’s provided many postseason memories out of different roles. Though he’s struggled and he isn’t the same pitcher he once was, Lincecum’s dominance in the early part of his career was enough to persuade me to give him a spot here. At his size with his style, Lincecum definitely isn’t conventional and he’s definitely been an underdog, but it’s always worked out.

Two no-hitters. Two CY Youngs. Three rings. One spot.