Giants… let Lincecum do what he needs to do

Tim Lincecum is about to make arguably the biggest start of his career. After a month or so when the Giants couldn’t get any decent starting pitching, suddenly things have turned around.

And a lost season is looking more and more found as the Giants remain 2 back in the loss column for the NL West lead and 1 game in the loss column for the NL Wild Card with 24 to play. (And a possible season making 4 game series in San Diego starting day after tomorrow.)

He had a grotesque August where he went 0-5 with a 7.82 ERA and pitched just over 5 innings a start.

His first start in September was a solid 8 innings 1 run win.
They need another start like that against the D’Backs. They need Cy Young Lincecum.

Which means, Giants… let him do WHATEVER he was doing in 2008 and 2009 when he won his first two Cy Young Awards.

Look away, say “Do what you’ve got to do” and don’t ask questions. Yeah he got in a little bit of trouble in the off season… and no, I am not condoning any illegal activities.

Just wink and say “I don’t want to know.”

If there was a guy showing up in a Tie Dye shirt listening to Phish on days Lincecum pitched last year… FLY HIM IN!

The Giants have a shot to make the post season and possibly line up a playoff rotation that could send them right to the World Series.

And they need Lincecum to be an ace. And if it was smoke and mirrors (and smoke) that helped him win, then cue up the Marley and make it work.

And don’t get all Holier than Thou about strange dudes showing up to the Giants clubhouse with substances.

Lest we forget…

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Did the Giants trade their ace away?

When the Giants dealt Bengie Molina to the Rangers, it looked like a straight forward deal that helped both teams, both directly and indirectly.

The Rangers got a steady defensive catcher in Molina and the least likely cycle in baseball history.

Texas had a 3 1/2 game lead when he arrived. They have an 8 game lead now.

The Giants landed Chris Ray who gives San Francisco much needed bullpen depth. And the trade also opened a spot in the lineup for Buster Posey, who has given the Giants a much needed bat and right now looks like he will win the Rookie of the Year over the more publicized Jason Heyward and Stephen Strasburg.

So it was a perfect trade for the Giants too… right?
Or was it disastrous?

As the Giants are in contention for the Wild Card and hovering around the NL West lead, the main element that makes people think they would be solid in the post season is Franchise, the Freak… call him what you will.

Tim Lincecum is the key for the Giants hopes.

The idea of him pitching twice in a best of 5 series should all but clinch a Division Series.

Seeing him pitch in an NLCS has images of pennants dancing in the Giants head.

And dare anyone dream him starting a deciding game of the World Series?

It would inspire more confidence than Livan Hernandez, I would boldly assert.

But will it?

Did you see Lincecum pitch last night against the Cardinals?

He was ordinary… and this isn’t one isolated start.

He has three straight BAD losses (including 2 where he didn’t last past 4 innings.) He has rarely been dominant as of late and actually got my dad to say “They should sit him.”

SIT LINCECUM? The Franchise?

Well maybe he also enjoyed throwing to Bengie Molina.
With Molina as his regular catcher, he was 49-19 and won a pair of Cy Young Awards.

Since then he is a sub .500 pitcher with an ERA approaching 5.

If the answer to his downturn was his pitching to Molina, then this trade that looked so good on first and second glance might be one of the damaging trades in Giants history (yes worse than Liriano and Nathan for A. J. Pierzinski!)

Now of course there are flaws with this theory. His last game caught by Molina was a blow out by the Red Sox and he has thrown a couple of dominating games without him.

But something is wrong with Lincecum… and Giants fans are starting to freak out about the Freak!

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Don’t be surprised if Halladay winds up winning the Cy Young

I’ve been flip flopping left and right on the NL Cy Young award ever since it became clear in April that there were going to be a LOT of contenders.

For most of the year it looked like Ubaldo Jimenez’s to lose.

Then Josh Johnson looked like the front runner and more recently I’ve been leaning towards Adam Wainwright.

But when the dust settles, and if the Phillies continue their huge comeback, it could very well be Roy Halladays. And yesterday’s performance convinces me he might be the guy.

“BUT WAIT!” Say all the stats people. “He let up 5 runs today! He didn’t have his best stuff yesterday! Yesterday was a subpar performance!”

Yes, I know that… and he still pitched well enough to win, take pressure off of the bullpen and keep the Phillies winning ways alive, taking the series from the Mets.

While a lot of stats people think baseball is played in a vacuum and things like “run support” and “winning the game” are irrelevant, I think it shows something from your ace when they don’t have their best stuff and can hold on to win anyway.

I know that makes me irrelevant, but I have a feeling the team was grateful and the bullpen was happy.

Yeah, his run total was high, but he gave them 7 innings, struck out 10 and walked 1. (Isn’t strike outs to walks a coveted stat?)

His WHIP is 4th in the NL.

For those who value wins (remember, the point of the game?) he has the third highest total behind Jimenez and Wainwright.

For those who like strikeouts, he has the most in the NL.

Nobody has pitched more innings in all of baseball (he should pass 200 innings before Labor Day.)

Nobody has completed more games or thrown more shutouts in all of baseball.

And oh yeah… since they hit rock bottom and were on the verge of being a .500 team in late July… he’s gone 4-0, averaging more than 7 2/3 a start and a 2.03 ERA (and that includes the 5 runs today). He’s also striking out better than 1 an inning. And he’s winning games the Phillies NEED as they will probably make up a 7 game deficit and in all likely hood he’ll be the ace of the Division Champion.

Not that those sort of things matter any more.

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