We've called him "The Freak," and we've called him the best, however one way that San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum has never been described is as human.
After starting the 2010 season with a 4-0 record in five starts, posting a 1.27 ERA, the Giants ace seemed to fall off a bit in the month of May.
Lincecum went just 1-2 in six starts in May, allowing a combined 20 runs in 36.1 innings pitched, giving him an inflated 4.95 ERA. This comes not too long after the righty allowed a mere five runs in 35.1 inning pitched a month prior.
"You have your ups and downs during the season," Lincecum said after Sunday's loss. "Hopefully I'm getting mine out of the way."
"He didn't have it, but I'm not worried about him," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said after Lincecum's horrid outing against Boston on Sunday, where he went just three innings, allowing four runs on five hits against the Red Sox in their interleague finale. The three-inning day by Lincecum tied his shortest outing since opening day of 2009, where he pitched three-innings against Milwaukee after winning his first Cy Young award (tying Sandy Koufax's opening day start after he won his Cy Young).
As much as we've all gotten used to seeing Tim blow people away with his 95+ mile per hour fast ball, and his unorthodox release on the mound, what's been on the rise has been the use of his off-speed pitches. Lincecum has been using his curveball and changeup a lot more to try to get hitters out, and, as of late, it has sparked his struggles. He says he's not doing anything different, however the velocity has noticibly dropped.
"I pay attention to it to judge how I'm doing," Lincecum said about noticing the speed guns.
"I still feel strong, but I know that the ball's just not coming out the same," he added. "I'm going to figure it out."
Yet, regardless of the recent struggles, there is no reason to be concerned about the Giants ace. If anything can be said, this is a kid that knows how to bounce back from a rough stretch.
He started the season 4-0 after finishing the season 2-3 in his last five starts in 2009, and has only lost back to back games once this year along with only doing so once last season in late September.
However, it is still before the All-Star break. There's plenty of time for Lincecum to return to the always dominant form we are all used to seeing.