I apologize in advance to anyone who is tired of reading about Tim Lincecum. If you are, one of two courses of action are available to you:
First, you could take the obvious step of ignoring this post.
Second, you could read it and possibly learn something about one of the most exciting young pitchers in baseball.
Unfortunately I could only listen to this game on radio. To make matters worse, I had technical problems with my computer (I think "mechanical problems" is a euphism for "operator error.") so I missed Tim's first inning. I do know that he recorded three straight air outs in the inning on nine pitches, six of which were strikes. Tim didn't strike out a batter -- but then went on to fan nine hitters in his final four innings of work.
On the evening, Tim threw only 67 pitches (It was drizzling throughout his effort.), 43 (64%) of them strikes. On the 58 pitches I recorded, 21 were balls, 13 were called strikes, 10 were swinging strikes, 11 were foul balls and three were put into play (none for hits). Guessing at Tim's first inning, let's proffer 67 pitches, 24 balls, 14 called strikes, 11 swinging strikes, 12 foul balls and six balls in play.
In the final four innings, Tim threw only six strikes and seven balls to the 13 batters he faced. Assuming his nine first-inning pitches would indicate at least two first-pitch strikes in the inning, he would wind up at seen first-pitch strikes and nine balls. To be honest, that's about as poorly as he did last year. Worse, of the six batters to whom I listed and recorded first-pitch balls, Tim immediately threw ball two to four of the six.
But Tim seemed to be able to throw strikes when he needed to, walking only one (which came on a batter to whom he went 2-0, 2-1, 2-2, 3-2, walk).
The Giants' announcers were most impressed with his ability to throw his change up for strikes on 3-1 and 3-2 counts. They said he had all four pitches working tonight.
One poster asked how Tim did when he fell behind, so here are the results after 1-0, 2-0 and 3-2. Tim had no 3-0 or 3-1 counts. The results are over the game's last four innings, since I missed the first. With only nine pitches in the first inning, though, Tim likely wasn't behind more than one hitter.
1-0 -- Walk, two popups, one ground out, two strike outs.
2-0 -- Walk, popup, two strike outs.
3-1 -- Walk and three strike outs.
Clearly Tim was well able to pitch from behind tonight -- even though that isn't always the case.
I will endeavor to find out he did when behind in the count last season and will make a follow-up post here.