Some say Spring Training games mean something and some say they don’t. The truth is that it probably depends on which player or team you are talking about. For Tim Lincecum this Spring Training probably does mean at least something after the very disappointing 2012 season. Lincecum’s loss total climbed to fifteen games and his ERA ballooned to well above 5.00. He of all people should be paying close attention to the way things are going this spring.
So, how are they going? Well, not that great. Giving up three runs on four hits in one and one-third innings is far from good. Add to that the fact that he now has a blister issue on his pitching hand that will sideline him for a few days and things begin to look down for the one time ace of the San Francisco Giants pitching staff.
It begs the question; is Lincecum’s time of dominating pitching over? Has his magical period of twenty wins and 2.00 ERA ended just a year and a part shy of his thirtieth birthday? One bad outing in the spring certain doesn’t spell the doom of a pitcher that had the run of Lincecum. Still, the fact that it was an entire down season surely has to have him pressing this season. He could right the ship and be pitching as good as ever when the season starts. Then again the blister problem can quickly become a serious nagging problem for any pitcher.
In the end this will determine the fate of Lincecum’s career. All great pitchers reach a period of time, however great or small, where they just don’t have the good stuff for a while. What makes a good pitcher great is being able to adjust where he needs to adjust in order to still get people out. What makes a great pitcher legendary is when he adjusts every time he needs to before we even know he had a problem. Where Lincecum’s career will go from here could very well depend on the way he performs this season.