Tim Lincecum's 3/4/08 Outing

Tim Lincecum was an apparently missed call from a very good outing today, and still wound up with a good one --his three runs yielded in just 2 1/3 innings not withstanding.

Tony Clark, just chosen as the Player of the Game by in the Padres' 9-6 win, doubled in two runs on a 3-2 hanging curve ball or slider from Tim.  Yet that could have been Tim's most impressive batter faced had things gone just a bit differently.

Tim made Tony look bad with swing throughs on a low, outside change and a low, inside curve on the first two pitches of the at bat.  Tony then barely checked his swing on a fastball or possible slider low and inside.  Then to be honest, Tony froze and was struck out by a high, outside fastball on which he couldn't get off a swing.  Unfortunately the umpire, who I felt had a generous zone otherwise, particularly on high pitches, appeared to freeze too.  I was shocked when the pitch wasn't called strike three (for what would have been Tim's fourth strikeout in 2 2/3 innings), and the neutral TV announcers also thought it was strike three.

The next pitch, in almost the same spot, could have been called strike three, as well, although I thought it just missed.

So after making Clark look bad with the change up and curve, Tim almost struck him out with each of his next three fastballs.  Then he hung his curve or slider, his worst pitch of the game.

Tim threw 34 strikes on 51 pitches (67%) and would have had a very impressive 35 strikes on 49 pitches (72%)had that 1-2 fastball been called a strike.  10 of Tim's 13 first-pitches were strikes (77%), an even more impressive development.  

Tim recorded three outs by strikeout, three on ground balls and one on an air out (a line drive to right).  Over his first two starts, Tim has now recorded eight outs on ground balls, four on strikeouts and just two on air outs.

If Tim pitches as well this season as he did on his first 49 pitches today, he will indeed have the breakout season I am expecting.