Tim Lincecum makes first start in a year against the Athletics
The Tim Lincecum who made his major league comeback with the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday wasn’t the same Tim Lincecum that played with the San Francisco Giants from 2007 to 2015. But that doesn’t mean his debut wasn’t a success.
Lincecum’s return to the Bay Area, even in Angels red and not Giants black, still brought out the crowds. Rows of Giants fans and Oakland A’s fans, too, gave him an ovation both during his pregame warm-ups and as he took the mound in the bottom of the first inning.
The two-time Cy Young-winner with the Giants was a staple during his nine seasons in the Bay Area. Nicknamed “The Freak,” Lincecum won the NL Cy Young Award in his sophomore season while leading the league in winning percentage, strikeouts, ERA+, Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) and home runs, hits and strikeouts per nine innings.
Lincecum went back-to-back in 2009, taking home his second Cy Young award. He won just 15 games that season but led the league in complete games, two of which were shutouts. He is only the second pitcher in MLB history to win multiple World Series, throw multiple no-hitters, win multiple Cy Young Awards and be elected to multiple all-star games. The other pitcher was Los Angeles Dodgers’ great Sandy Koufax.
What’s even more interesting is that Lincecum has had to re-invent himself over time. Starting out in college, he needed just two pitches to strike out hitters: his fastball and his curveball. Upon hitting the major leagues, he’d already added a changeup to his repertoire and a slider. During his time with the Giants, Lincecum saw his fastball take a dip in velocity and his curveball become less effective. He relied more on his slider and changeup over the years, according to Fangraphs.
To find out about how Lincecum did Saturday, in his first outing since June 2015, against the Oakland Athletics you can read the remainder of my column on Today’s Knuckleball by following the link below:
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