I’m starting to change my tune on Tim Lincecum. Wednesday night I went to my first game at AT&T and got to see Timmy start. My mom was my date. To give you a sense of Timmy’s celebrity, my mother, who likely cannot name 75% of teams in the league, knows who Tim Lincecum. Moreover, my mom, who doesn’t know what a sac fly is, knows Timmy’s backstory; that he has gone from the best pitcher in the league, to by many estimates the worst, to whatever indiscernible entity he is right now.
The guy is popular. But more importantly, he is good. With every start like Wednesday’s (7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER) it gets harder and harder to debate this claim. Timmy now sports a 2.08 ERA (7th in the league) and a 1.5 WAR (8th in the league for pitchers.) If he can keep those numbers up, he won’t just be in the conversation to be in his fifth All-Star game, he would be in the conversation to start it.
Like always with Tim, there were troubling signs from the start. He rarely hit 90 MPH and his 4-2 Walk to strike-out ratio is nothing to drool over.
However, one sequence highlighted why I believe this brilliant stretch may not just be a fluke. Yasmani Grandel opened the 5th inning with a line drive double to center. Timmy then bounced a wild-pitch to Andre Either moving Grandel to third with no outs. I started silently hoping for a sac-fly to limit the damage because the inning had all the signs one of the implosions that have marred Timmy’s career over the past four seasons. However, Tim got Eithier to ground softly to short, he then got Uribe to pop-out to first. With Brett Anderson, the opposing pitcher, coming up it seemed Tim had weaseled his way out of trouble. Not so fast. Tim walked Anderson on five pitches. Surely, I thought, he would pay for the catastrophic mistake. Not so. Timmy confidently got phenom Joc Pederson to ground out to first. End of the threat.
Tim was far from the only contributer in the Giants three-game sweep of the hated Dodgers. The Dodgers scored zero runs in the series. To put that in perspective, the Dodgers had one less run in the series than Madison Bumgarner had homers. Bum’s blast was majestic, a 415-foot rocket off the reigning Cy Young and MVP Clayton Kershaw. However, the shot should not come as a complete shock. Bumgarner is the reigning Silver Slugger for pitchers and he hit four homerun’s last year in only 66 official at-bats. That translates to a 36-homerun season if Bum were an everyday player. Bumgarner added 6.1 innings of shutout ball on Thursday for good measure.
Whether because of Bum, or Tim or any of the other many contributors, the Giants are cruising right now. They have won six in a row, they are a mere 1.5 games out of first place, and now they travel to Colorado to hopefully feast on the cellar-dwelling Rockies.