First off, this is not meant to be a "What's wrong with Timmy?" discussion. Although it's fair to say I wouldn't be bringing the question in the fanpost title up for discussion if many (most?) of us didn't think something's wrong with Tim Lincecum in 2010. PiKAgiant brought up the "should Timmy skip a start" question in yesterday's postgame thread, and I thought this would be a good place to expand on it.
If you do think something's wrong with Tim Lincecum's delivery/velocity/command/control/arm/head, will skipping his next start make things better? Since Grant has the rights to Point/Counterpoint (and he's much funnier than I am), I'll present what seem to be the pros and cons of the argument.
- If the Giants make the playoffs, they need Tim Lincecum to pitch really, really well. The trend over the last month of his starts is very depressing. Skipping a start would break up a vicious cycle and have the bonus effect of saving his arm for October.
- By skipping a start, Lincecum would get a full 12 days between starts. The last time he had a lengthy break was the eight days around the All-Star Game, and he came back to pitch a complete game shutout of the Mets. His next start would be a Friday night home game against the D-backs, and the Giants are still 10-1 on Orange Fridays this season.
- It would allow Chris Lincecum to spend a good stretch of time working on fixing his son's mechanics. The Giants should pay for his airfare and hotel room in St. Louis and Philly, which is pocket change compared to what they're paying their ace.
- Skipping a start worked for both Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez in seasons past. I'm too lazy to compile all their numbers pre- and post-skipped starts, but anecdotally I remember a certain no-hitter…
- Lincecum is 5-0 with a 1.54 ERA against the Cardinals. They have a .551 OPS against him. He went 7 innings and had 8 strikeouts against them back on April 23 (you know, back when he was "good") in a 4-1 win.
- His scheduled Saturday start is at night in St. Louis, and his night ERA is more than half a run lower than his day ERA.
- If his confidence is shaky right now, the Giants might be exacerbating things by skipping a start. Maybe he'd perceive that decision as a lack of faith in him to right himself. Keeping him on schedule and giving him the chance to shut down the Cardinals offense would be a sign of encouragement.
- The Giants are in the middle of a pennant race, and they can't afford to throw a AAA spot starter on the road matched up against Chris Carpenter. Timmy's not pitching like an ace, but he's still striking people out and he's getting bled to death by BABIP bloops as much as anything.
Myself, I'm leaning towards the "don't skip a start" camp, but it's pretty close. What say you, McCoven?