There were about two or three or six hundred times during the FOX broadcast that Thom Brennaman gurgled something about Tim Lincecum’s 133-pitch outing, and how it could possibly have affected his subsequent starts. He wasn’t sayin’; he was just sayin’.
As a pitch-count agnostic, the theory would not have normally annoyed me. Except Brennaman said it, so I immediately decided he was wrong and set out to find evidence to support my snap-judgement. It’s the American way.
Those are Timmy’s last starts, including his complete-game masterpiece. So what we have following the high-stress outing: a walk-free quality start, a walk-free dink-’n’-dunk festival, and an un-Lincecum like grind of a start.
Take the Cardinals game on June 1. In the fourth, Lincecum gave up a line drive single, a broken-bat bloop single, an infield single, and a run on a white-sided strikeout that should have ended the inning. That’s one hard-it ball. In the seventh, he ran out of gas and started to get hit around, giving up a two-run homer to Allen Craig. But Timmy’s weakness is players with two first names. Everyone knows that -- it was in his origin issue. He pitched far, far better than the five earned runs would indicate.
Today was a turd of a game, yes. Lincecum’s velocity was fine, and his breaking ball had bite, but he couldn’t really do anything with his changeup, and he didn’t have command of anything. It was ugly.
But don’t be that person. Don’t point to a little anomaly and say, "A-ha! That must be it! Piiiiitch counts! Piiiiiiiitch counts! That’s why Lincecum is struggling." That’s so annoying. It’s a long season. Pitchers have ups and downs. When Lincecum was completely unable to get an 88-mph fastball by hitters last August? Yeah, that’s when you sit in an empty bathtub with your clothes on, rocking back and fourth. Right now? Pfft. As far as I’m concerned, he’s had two bad starts in a row. That’s not even a reason to buy iodine tablets, much less stock the bomb shelter.
The lack of offense against Mike Leake is the real worry because that crap is going to keep happening. The future is grim: there's a chance that most of the teams facing the Giants for the rest of the season are teams that use starting pitchers. This isn't going to end.