San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum lasted seven innings against the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night, but it was far from a quality start. The former staff ace allowed nine hits, walked three batters and gave up five earned runs in another laborious outing. It is his second outing in a row that he has given up five runs.
It is actually quite amazing that the Giants came into Monday’s action tied for first place in the National League West. Three of the five pitchers in their starting rotation are having off years. Ryan Vogelsong has an earned run average of 7.20, while Matt Cain is at 5.57. Lincecum ERA now stands at 4.75 and he is looking like the guy who struggled for all of the 2012 season.
Giants’ fans have surely been wondering if the man affectionately known as The Freak will ever return to the success he had a few years ago when he won back-to-back Cy Young Awards. The answer is becoming painfully obvious that he will never be that pitcher again, but then again, only a handful of pitchers in the history of the game have reached those heights.
The better question may just be can he be a top-of-the-rotation guy again? The answer to this question isn’t as obvious, but I believe that he will continue to be no better than a third starter on a decent rotation.
The good news to take from all of this is that management did not sign him to a long term deal, so he will likely take his talents elsewhere after this season. There will be a team foolish enough to believe he will regain his former glory and overpay for him. Giants’ fans should be thankful for the memories and be willing to allow Lincecum to move on.