In the offseason Tim Lincecum may need to look into some kind of employment with FedEx… because in his first playoff start the kid delivered.
Yeah the numbers are pretty great, but there was something more about the way he was pitching (screw that, the numbers were freaking awesome, two hits, one walk, 14 strikeouts, a game score of 96 which would rank as the third-best individual game of the year).
There was a sense from the first three innings on that Lincecum simply would not give up a run. Sure he gave up a double to the first batter he faced. Sure Brian McCann got as far as third in the seventh before Matt Diaz flied out for the final inning. It didn’t matter.
Just as the game ended the television commentators pointed out that just one hanging pitch could have put the Braves into the game and the game into extra innings. But that really wasn’t the point.
The point is that in a game where any pitch could have been the difference Lincecum was the ace, stopper or whatever cliché term you want to throw in. He never threw the pitch that could have been the difference, mowing down the Braves inning after inning.
Based on the game score metric this was the best start in Timmy’s career and what a moment to have it.
He looked very good throughout September, just a shade below vintage dominant Lincecum. In august he was one of the worst pitchers in the league (7.82 ERA… Ouch), but damn what a game.
At the end of the eighth it seemed like they might be ready to pull him. Tim was 105 pitches in and Bochy is always fond of going to the bullpen. Instead we saw a shot of the forlorn empty pen and Lincecum tearing off the jacket to go for the complete game.
All he did was drop the last two hitters via strikeout… no big deal.
It was a truly epic performance and now it’s up to Matt Cain to match it (or come close to it, that would be good too) Friday night.
I’d be remiss if I did not mention the iffy 4th inning call that kept Buster Posey safe and allowed him to be the Giant’s only run. Aright it wasn’t so much iffy as completely incorrect.
Posey even admitted that he was happy on this night that there was no instant replay in baseball.
It’s strange to be on the right side of a bad call that absolutely played a role in deciding the game (especially in baseball as compared to the whined about bad calls of basketball/football). There is a tinge of illegitimacy to the win and to my own enjoyment of the game.
And in the end I don’t care.
Maybe it’s petty and selfish and perhaps if that went against the Giants I’d be going ballistic right now (probably not but you never know). Right now, however, basking in the glow of an amazing pitching performance and a game that the team I follow surviving it’s postseason opener.
There could come a time in the offseason when I have to reference this as a reason why baseball NEEDS replay, throwing a team I grew up rooting for on the sacrificial alter for the greater good of the sport. A time where I intentionally sully this memory with reason or logic.
That time may come, but based on how I’m enjoying today, I doubt it will for a while.