Entering this season many Giants fans looked at Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain as Twin Towers of Twirling. They figured both were potential aces, All-Stars and even Hall of Famers.
Suddenly Lincecum has emerged as the potential hardware bearer, while Cain has struggled to get the lead out. Matt uncharacteristically gave up nine earned runs in one start. Tim has given up nine earned runs total in eight starts.
Why the sudden split in direction by the two 23-year-olds?
With the help of the PITCH/fx data so graciously provided us by Josh Kalk and by analytically looking at both pitchers' splits, we can examine the reasons, perhaps identifying how both pitchers can continue to improve. Here are some of the reasons for the difference:
1. Tim has been phenomenal with runners in scoring position. With RISP he has limited the Giants' opponents to a .115 batting average, a .222 on-base percentage, and a .173 slugging percentage for a nearly invisible .395 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. Matt has struggled once runners get into scoring position, allowing a poor (and uncharacteristic) .314/.372/.514/.886 in comparison.
Lincecum showed at Fresno a year ago how tough he could be with runners on base and in scoring position, allowing just one hit with runners on and nary a hit with RISP in his five starts there. But NO ONE is as good in this regard as Tim has been. Tim has shown a true propensity for