Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Timmy 2.0: Base Status Not On Start in Cincy

I saw one beat beating down on Timmy after his horror start in Cincy.  I assume there are many more elsewhere, I don't have to go elsewhere to see it, I know it by heart anytime a Giants player is considered down, the "fans" just beat up on him.  Throw in his big salary, and that's a perfect storm.


ogc thoughts

Lincecum has actually been pretty good for the past 10 starts, including this Cincy start.  6 DOM starts (for 60% DOM) and he was pretty close to another DOM that ended up a MID (that was his start where he got took out early for his blister starting).  Had he done that, 70% DOM, which is an elite rate.

The main problem is that elite pitchers don't match up 6 DOM starts with 3 DIS starts.  One maybe, maybe even two, but not three disasters.  That really kills the ERA.  That also masks all the goodness that happened in all his other starts.  His ERA is now around 5.00, but that masks the fact that the Giants are now 8-4 in his starts.

And people expect elite pitching for what Lincecum is getting paid.

I understand wanting to get good value, but not every deal on a team is going to be a good deal.  That should be understood.  Another thing that people should understand is that Lincecum provided huge value to us in his pre-free agent years, much more than he's getting from the team in this two-year deal.  Consider it him getting paid finally for the good stuff he did for us before.

People should get over his diminished state and focus on the future.  The future is hopefully a Lincecum who is consistently good.  Whether starting or relieving.  He is in transition and we don't know where he'll end up.
I think the best analogy of what's happening here is poker.  Here, you are playing with the house's money, having won big previously.  Your hole cards were great, but the flop hasn't been the best.  But the hand still has potential.  So you call the bet, go "all in", chip that into the pot to play out the hand.   Now you get to see the turn and the river.

Again, Lincecum has provided a lot of value before, $30-40M EACH season, and he got like $1M for them. In total, he's produced around $120M given the WAR he's produced and including next year's salary, he would have received roughly $100M from the Giants.  So we're playing with the house money where he's concerned.

He's been dealt some good and bad cards.  He still strikes out roughly 9 K/9, which is an elite rate  Walks are not a problem as long as his K/BB is at least 2.0, and ideally over 2.4.   And he's giving up key hits a bad times.  He's been up and down the past three seasons of struggle.

Also, I expect him to struggle some this season.  I've pretty much written off this season in terms of hoping for consistent goodness.  He learning a new thing:  how to pitch to crappy contact.  As much as we want people to learn fast, muscle memory takes time.  There will be struggles, there will be ups and downs.

I don't know when he'll figure it out.  I don't know if he'll figure it out.  But he still has potential.  He can still strike out guys, and pretty easily.  He just needs to fix the other stuff.

People are mad because he's making so much money.  I look at it another way:  I appreciate all the greatness he has provided to our franchise, I appreciate that it was his great starting pitching that helped us win our first World Series championship, then I appreciate all that great relief pitching that helped us win our second World Series championship.  Get over yourself, he's earned the money, we're just paying him later.  Consider it an installment plan if that helps you chill.

I consider this a two year plan to see if we can turn him into a very useful and productive pitcher again.  I expect up and downs this season, his turn season, but hopefully see more up than down, and an upward trend.  As I noted, after his early struggles, he has put together a good string of dominant starts.  Walks are not that bad when you strike out a lot and don't give up that many hits either.  With that many non-BIP, H/9 goes down, which makes up for the fact that BB/9 is high.  That is why Dirty was so good for us, he walked and struck out a lot, leading to lower H/9.

Hopefully he can then springboard off 2014 into a good 2015, his river season, with less struggle, more consistency.  If not that, if he's still struggling to get past 5 IP, then perhaps they can start thinking of trying him out in the bullpen.  A relief pitcher like the way he was used in 2012's playoffs is really valuable, I think.  He can go long if necessary, but can come back the next day and close out the game.

This is the turn card and so far it is looking pretty good, but yes, not good enough for his money.   Consider it a bet on Lincecum figuring it out.  I don't see why people are upset, ultimately, we aren't paying him to have a shiny ERA, we aren't paying him for consistency, we are paying him to pitch well enough that we win more of the games he start than we lose.  For a fourth starter, 8-4 team record is great, heck, that'll be great at any spot in the rotation.   And he has earned most of those wins by pitching a DOM start in 6 of those starts, plus that one start he was almost DOM.  That's 7 well pitched games.

Plus, this game was in Cincy, a park of horror house mirrors for some pitchers and Lincecum happens to be one of them.  He has never pitched well there, even when he was going good, and, of course, this was his worse start ever there.  Lick your wounds and move on, don't base your feelings about him based on this one start in Cincy.  I'd be more worried if he continues to do this poorly going forward.

But it's one start.  And he had four straight well pitched games, and even the best have a bad start now and again.  Accept it and move on.

1 comment:

  1. Agree with your commentary. Lincecum is frustrating only because we all remember how amazing he was when he first came up.

    He's still better than many, if not most of the #5 pitchers the Giants have thrust forward in the past.

    Honestly, I think the problem is exactly the K/9 - if his were lower, he wouldn't be constantly tempted into pitching like Timmy 1.0

    ReplyDelete

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