For the second time in three starts, Tim Lincecum put up a quality start for the San Francisco Giants.
Unlike the other time, though, the team’s offense was unable to provide him with any backup as the former ace had to settle for a no-decision, setting his bid to return to .500 in the W-L column on the season. Given that it’s 2013 and not 2008 and 2009, quality starts from the right-hander just don’t come around for the defending World Series champs as they used to, which is why every opportunity squandered could be argued as a costly one.
This is especially true when you consider that one Sunday, Lincecum didn’t really have too great of a night at all.
See, while the line score will say that the Freak tossed six innings of three-run (two earned) ball, lowering his season ERA to 4.57 while dueling Atlanta Braves‘ emerging ace Julio Teheran through much of the game, the fact of the matter is that Lincecum was much more lucky than he was good on this night.
Or at least, that’s what his five walks would say so, anyway.
Despite giving up six hits and a quintet of free passes (good for a 1.83 WHIP), the baseball gods decided to go against their wrathful ways, allowing Lincecum to dance through an effectively wild high-wire act. The Giants, though, could not take advantage of this gift, as they were shut out completely by the Braves.
The five walks were the second most that Lincecum has allowed in a single start this season. Considering that he only struck out three on the night, that he has a disproportionately low 3.00 ERA for the game could, in a nutshell, describe the Jekyll & Hyde act that’s characterized his misadventures on the mound since last year, when his fastball velocity dropped and the decline officially started to hit.
Yet, in spite of all the close calls and near-disasters with runners in scoring position (that happened in all but one inning of his start), it was Lincecum, his imperfections and all, that kept the Giants in the game. They might have called him the Freak because of his unorthodox delivery, but these days, that could very well apply to his strangely effective starts.
It just wasn’t enough on Sunday, that’s all.