Did anyone besides me notice the change in Lincecum after the Giants staked him the big lead in his last start?
At the begining of the game he was the "new" Lincecum we have been seeing. Fewer first pitch strikes, lower velocity more walks, more tough innings. Just not the totally dominant guy we got so used to. Then he got staked to a big lead in this game and something changed. His velocity went up. I saw 94 and 95 on the radar gun. We haven't seen that in a long time. I saw him challenging hitters. The change up seemed to have more snap and movement. Suddenly he was just letting it fly and becomes the Lincecum of old....the loose confident kid that KNOWS he is going to dominant instead of just hoping he can. Here see if you can hit this chump!
My opinion is that his drop off was not physical but had to do with the expectations of being a two time Cy Young winner, the Freak, the Franchise etc. getting into his head. Trying to live up to the expectations made him cautious which led to a decrease in confidence. It made him hold back just a bit and he lost the swagger. Just a guess but I think he might have been saying to himself as he is closing out that game, Yeah this is it! This is the old me! Stop holding back and being cautious. Stop worrying about losing. Let it f'ing fly!
If you have played competitive sports at any level you know the difference confidence can make. There is just something about it makes you better even if you are physically the same. No one can ever convince me that this intangible is not a factor in sporting success.
I for one am thinking this little lesson made a light bulb go on and we will see the Lincecum of old in the second half. Go Giants!
Ps - The reason for Matt Cain's recent slump. He is not hitting the catchers target. I watch this closely every time he pitches especially. Begining of the season 75% on target. Now less than 50% and often missing by a lot.