San Francisco Giants starter Tim Lincecum surprised just about everyone by no-hitting the San Diego Padres en route to a 9-0 win last night.
Tim Lincecum entered the 2013 season with a future that was very uncertain. The former two-time Cy Young Award winner was coming off of a disastrous 2012 campaign in which he finished with a 10-15 record, a 5.18 ERA and with a demotion to the bullpen for San Francisco’s championship run.
And he has been anything but remarkable this season. His win-loss record is an unimpressive 5-9. His ERA is 4.26 – the highest in his career except for last season’s. And his fastball is, on average, 4 miles per hour slower than it used to be.
But as last night proves, the 29-year-old Giants starter is starting to learn how to pitch despite his diminished velocity. His no hitter took a mammoth 148 pitches – a credit to Lincecum’s stamina. He threw 96 strikes, 52 balls, walked four hitters and struck out a whopping 13. Those are old “Freak” Tim Lincecum strikeout numbers.
The no-hitter was the 15th in Giants franchise history, and the first of Lincecum’s career. For the right hander, it came when he probably needed it most. Lincecum will be a free agent at the end of the season, and last night’s performance could single-handedly ensure him a starting pitcher role for some team next season. It also most certainly will increase his market value, which had been cratering steadily since the start of the 2012 campaign.
I’ve posted a video showing all 27 outs from Lincecum’s no-hitter, so you can see how he did it in about five total minutes. It’s kind of cool to hear how Giants play-by-play broadcaster Jon Miller’s excitement builds as Lincecum gets closer and closer to the achievement.