I just happened to be going through Cy Young winners from the past decade tonight, looking for the ones who had really slow starts the next year. I remembered Lincecum being good at the beginning of last year, but I didn’t remember how good:
Other than the W-L record, it was the exact same start that he had this year. Nice walk numbers, low ERA, high strikeouts. And while he didn’t have a bad 2010 -- not at all -- we weren't quite used to the number of valleys mixed in with the peaks. I looked at that table up there and thought, man, I must have thought he was invincible at this time last year. Then he became quite vincible. It worked out okay in the end*, but it certainly wasn’t the season I was expecting on May 15, 2010.
Not saying that another August 2010 is around the corner. Not sure what I’m saying. I think my thesis is this: I don't like when Tim Lincecum has a bad outing. It makes me nervous, which is a ridiculous reaction to a pitcher who has already won two Cy Youngs. He's earned the trust of every Giants fan, August-be-damned. Yet all it takes is a start like this to make me cringe.
Again, that's a stupid, ridiculous reaction to an isolated bad start. I don't get like this with Cain, Sanchez, or Bumgarner. When they have bad starts, it's just one of those days. When Lincecum has an awful start, it feels like something substantial happened to an intricate piece of machinery -- like a flock of birds taking out the engine of a jet engine that was working just fine a moment ago. That's pure overreaction, of course. That August last year really screwed me up.
Also of note: He should have been pulled way sooner. A tired Lincecum is almost certainly better than a rested Affeldt, but it wasn't just a tired Lincecum. It was a bad Lincecum -- a guy who didn't know where the ball was going. There was a good chance that he was going to get behind to someone and have to lay a fastball in, and that's if he didn't hang an offspeed pitch first, that is. I usually like how Bruce Bochy handles his pitchng staff, but he was the only person in the world who thought Lincecum had something left to face Carlos Gonzalez.
That game was gross. Figured the Clayton Mortensen game was a loss anyway.
*The Giants ended up winning the World Series in 2010.