Tim Lincecum pitched yesterday. He pitched in an honest-to-goodness baseball game, with meaningful results and implications.
I missed that, and the shameless hope that accompanies it, even if it’s been mercilessly stomped on a bit too much for my liking over the past handful of years.
Lincecum is, of course, trying to work his way back to the Majors. And given that the Texas Rangers gave him a guaranteed contract in March, it’s really only a matter of time before he makes it there. But after a blister gave him a setback before the season began, he finds himself on the 60-day DL, eligible to make his Rangers debut towards the end of this month.
But Monday night was a start, as Lincecum donned a Round Rock Express jersey and took the mound in a game for the first time since the fall of 2016. And in inimitable Timmy style (intimmytable?), there was excitement.
I have never seen this happen: Tim Lincecum's glove just fell right off, mid-pitch.— Levi Weaver (@ThreeTwoEephus) May 8, 2018
(and he threw a strike!!) pic.twitter.com/i26NirUPOK
Oh, Timmy. I don’t think that’s what you’re supposed to do, but I’ll forgive you; you haven’t been on the mound in a while. You must have forgotten that you don’t need to throw the glove, just the ball.
The one-inning relief appearance in the fifth was exactly what we’ve come to expect from Lincecum in recent years: equal parts electric and erratic. In his first appearance in the pitch clock era, he started the game down in the count 1-0, after not getting his first throw off in time. That led to the rare three-pitch walk, which led to an RBI double. Following a fielder’s choice, a wild pitch scored a second run.
And then he promptly struck out the final two batters with some nasty stuff.
And hey, if you need some optimism after a two-run, one-inning outing, his ERA may be 18.00, but his FIP in 2.92! So, math.
After the game, Lincecum attributed the rough start to jitters, stating that, “Physically I’m fine . . . it was more of the nerves than anything, just trying to calm myself down, get my heart rate down.”
I’d embed a full video of the appearance here, but MiLB decided that the 2:17 video titled “Lincecum returns to action” should just be 1:32 of the broadcasters using Timmy’s record in prior years to prove that he used to be good, followed by the four-pitch walk. So yeah, we’re not gonna do that. Thankfully a kind YouTube user was sitting behind home plate:
And if you want a close up of his mechanics, here you go:
Tim Lincecum, Mechanics (Round Rock). pic.twitter.com/FNP5Bb84T9— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 8, 2018
It’s nearly impossible to take anything substantive from the performance; there was bad, which is to be both expected and feared, and good, which is to be both expected and encouraged by. Bad players have been known to have strong rehab assignments, while good players have been known to struggle. Madison Bumgarner had an ERA of 9.82 in Sacramento last year, and 8.10 in San Jose. Josh Osich didn’t allow a run all spring.
So don’t look at the two earned runs, or the two strikeouts too closely. Just look at the fact that Lincecum is back on the mound where he belongs, chasing his dreams and passions, and living it up in Round Rock with old friends Nick Noonan and Tommy Joseph.
And, as we can always expect from him, being the Timmy we all know and love:
Lincecum was asked if he said anything to himself as he walked off the mound... “Yeah I did… ‘That was effing terrible’.” pic.twitter.com/GijGbfGWsf— Levi Weaver (@ThreeTwoEephus) May 8, 2018
This is the end of the article, so you can stop reading now.
┳┻| _ The Rangers are already out
┻┳| •.•) of the playoff picture so if
┳┻|⊂ﾉ Timmy pitches well they can
┻┳| send him to SF at the deadline