|Patience Required for Tim Lincecum||| Print ||
Written by Jim Mancari (Contact & Archive) on April 30, 2012
Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum has looked different this year. Maybe not physically -- he still has his long hair and lanky build -- but the results are just not there early on. Through his first five starts, the 27-year-old right-hander is 2-2 with an eye-opening 5.74 ERA.
What's going on with the two-time Cy Young Award winner? Here are some possibilities.
Lincecum might just be getting off to a slow start. It happens to many players each season. We've been so accustomed to watching "The Freak" baffle hitters consistently that it's strange to see him struggle. Maybe "The Freak" actually is human?
Meanwhile, the Giants just locked up starting pitcher Matt Cain to a six-year, $127.5 million deal in early April. Lincecum's resume through his first five seasons is much more impressive than Cain's, so it begs the question of why the Giants didn't lock up Lincecum instead of Cain long-term.
The Giants may view Lincecum as an injury risk, especially due to his small frame, power pitching style and herky-jerky motion. The team might view these next two seasons as an audition for a potential long-term contract. However, if these first few starts are any indicator, San Francisco may explore other options.
Lincecum doesn't appear to be ready to commit to the Giants long-term anyway, since he will likely cash in huge in free agency. But still, seeing Cain get the lucrative extension maybe has put more pressure on him to perform as the staff ace.
If Lincecum can turn it around, the Giants starting rotation can be dangerous. In addition to Lincecum and Cain, Barry Zito, Madison Bumgarner and Ryan Vogelsong can all rack up in the wins department.
Though the Giants offense besides Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval has struggled early on, the starting pitching can carry this team. However, Lincecum needs to be the team's ace for everything else to fall into place.
It's way too early for Giants fans to be panicking about Lincecum. He's had a few bad starts in a row, big deal. Nolan Ryan likely had a stretch like this and look how he turned out.
If it's midseason and the results still aren't there, then the concern would be warranted. But for now, a little patience would do "The Freak" some good.