Tim Lincecum could be pitching for his place in the rotation

2012 has not been a fun year for Tim Lincecum. Entering Saturday, he’s posted a 3-10 record and his ERA has ballooned to 6.42. Totally uncharacteristic stats from the two-time Cy Young winner. Those are even worse numbers than the ones being put up by the Giants’ perennial barometer for mediocre-at-best pitching, Barry Zito.

Lincecum’s struggles go back to last season, when he put up less-than-stellar numbers. But Giants skipper Bruce Bochy could finally be saying enough’s enough, meaning the one-time Giants ace could be pitching to keep his spot in the starting rotation. Here’s Giants beat reporter Alex Pavlovic:

Bochy was asked if it’s possible the Giants could skip Tim Lincecum’s second start of the second half if his first one goes poorly. For the first time, Bochy didn’t exactly shoot down the suggestion.

“I don’t want to put added pressure on him,” Bochy said. “But you have to do what’s right.” [...]

By all indications Thursday, Lincecum needs a decent start on Saturday to keep his spot in the rotation.

Luckily for Big Time Timmy Jim, he’s facing the Astros, who statistically have one of worst lineups this season. And if Lincecum gets rocked again? The Giants could seriously consider demoting him to either the bullpen or Triple A. For a two-time Cy Young winner who’s barely 28! Either way, he’d probably be replaced in the rotation by … Brad Penny. Oof. Talk about adding insult to injury for Timmy.

Superstitious types would suggest Lincecum cut that trademark long dirty mop of hair. But that already blew up in his face this season. Perhaps next he should attempt to grow a mustache, because if nothing else, it would look hilarious on him.

Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

John Smoltz: Tim Lincecum has lost his edge, not intimidating hitters right now

A lot of power pitchers start slowly out of the gate, but Tim Lincecum is crawling. Through his first three starts of the season, Lincecum has allowed a total of 16 earned runs and 22 hits. His ERA is currently sitting at an absurd 10.54, so unless he’s struggling through some sort of serious injury, we know better days lie ahead. As for what the issue could be at the moment, pitching legend John Smoltz thinks it may be mental — for both The Freak and his opponents.

“I mean, he knows how to pitch, he’ll battle his way through it but I would say last year was not the same Lincecum that we’ve seen that has won two Cy Youngs and has dominated pitching,” Smoltz told Sirius/XM radio Wednesday according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “And I think once you start showing those cracks or once it starts showing a little more human factor, I mean, the edge is gone a little bit when you face a guy like this. He had an edge, much like Tiger (Woods). These elite pitchers have an edge when they get on the mound.  The other team knows, ‘Shoot, we’re in trouble.’

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Tim Lincecum gets a haircut, proceeds to get racked by Rockies (Picture)

Tim Lincecum is known as much for his long locks as he is for his nasty pitches, but at some point the hair had to be tamed. Sometime between his first and second starts of the season, Lincecum decided to take several inches off his flowing hair that was well beyond shoulder length a week ago. As you can see from the photo above on the right, the hair is still long — just not as long. After Wednesday night’s performance, Giants fans are hoping the four inches of hair Timmy cut off didn’t strip him of his mojo.

Lincecum was racked by the Rockies, surrendering six earned runs on eight hits in just 2 1/3 innings. His first outing against Arizona on April 6 was shaky as well (five earned runs in 5 1/3 innings), but it certainly wasn’t as poor as his performance Wednesday night. Sometimes power pitchers need a month or two before they really get going. If Lincecum starts to turn it on when his hair starts getting longer again, very few people will consider it to be a coincidence.

Photo credits: Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE, Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

Tim Lincecum loses 22 pounds by swimming, cuts back on fast food

Do Giants fans really want to hear that their star pitcher lost weight during the offseason? Tim Lincecum has always managed to throw smoke despite looking like he’s a meal away from emaciation. They don’t call him The Freak for no reason. However, Lincecum claims he is down to 175 pounds from 197 last season. If you want to believe that this dude weighed 197 pounds during any point in his Major League career, that’s your prerogative. The secret? Less fast food and some time swimming in an endless pool

“You take your first bite of a McDonald’s burger and it’s like ‘Why did I buy this?'” Lincecum told reporters over the weekend according to Big League Stew. “You feel instantly sick. That’s what ended up happening with all these places and why I started eliminating them. I take a bite and I’m like ‘I can’t even finish this.’ So I just started going for stuff that made me feel better. I’m not crushing vegetables by any means, but I’m definitely eating better.”

Big League Stew also pointed out that Lincecum answered questions while wearing a “Tacolicious” hat, which is a San Francisco restaurant that relies on local farmers for all of their ingredients.

What we have to point out is that Lincecum conveniently left out any discussion of In-N-Out burger. It’s possible that fast food is simply fast food to the Giants’ ace, but judging by the insane order he puts in at In-N-Out burger we have to guess that is (was?) one of his favorite spots. I suppose losing some weight is good if it means working out more and eating less junk.  That being said, Lincecum might want to consider hitting the weights so his arm doesn’t fall off.

Tim Lincecum Fan Who Pitches Just Like Him, Gets to Face Him

The folks at Red Bull have been doing fun stuff with Tim Lincecum all year. They were running a contest where fans got to try and duplicate Timmy’s pitching motion for a chance to face him, and the fan who won it pitches exactly like him. It’s freaky. Video:

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Tim Lincecum Doesn’t Want Long-Term Deal, Is that a Bad Sign for the Giants?

Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum is completing a two-year deal he signed with the team last February. He still has two more arbitration seasons with the Giants before becoming a free agent, and there is little doubt San Francisco would like to lock him up long term. But the two-time Cy Young winner says he is not interested in signing a long-term deal, even if that means turning down a potential $100 million guaranteed contract.

“I just don’t know how I’m going to feel five years from now, or three years. That’s why I’d kind of like to take things step by step and why I liked the deal I got last year,” Lincecum told the San Francisco Chronicle.

“It’s just easier for me mentally not to have to put that kind of pressure on yourself,” he said. “Not that you don’t want to succeed, but when you’re signed to a long-term deal, it’s like saying, ‘I’m going to live up to every expectation.’

There is a lot of sound reasoning to Lincecum’s explanation. One of Tim’s teammates is Barry Zito, who signed a 7-year $126 million deal in 2007. Zito hasn’t come close to pitching like an ace since signing the contract and he’s been ridiculed for failing to perform up to expectations.

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Tim Lincecum Supports Clayton Kershaw for NL Cy Young

The Dodgers beat the Giants 2-1 in the opener of a three-game series Friday night. Clayton Kershaw went eight innings of three-hit ball, walking one and striking out nine for the win. Tim Lincecum matched him by allowing just one run over eight innings, but the Dodgers scored in the 9th with Kershaw as the pitcher of record. Lincecum took a no-decision.

Timmy is putting in another fantastic season for the Giants. He’s gone 12-12 with a 2.68 ERA and 206 strikeouts. Kershaw is 18-5 with 2.36 ERA and an NL-best 231 strikeouts. The Giants pitcher, who has won two Cy Young Awards, said after Friday’s game he knows who should win the award this year.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, Lincecum said Kershaw would be his choice. “The young lefty just keeps getting better and better. He has incredible stuff, and every season, he’s learning more about how to compete with it,” Andrew Baggarly wrote.

“He doesn’t give in,” Lincecum said. “You can see his confidence when he’s pitching. He knows he’s good. The most important thing as a pitcher is to know you’ll get the job done. You can see it with him. He’s done it all year.”

I wrote last month that the Dodgers could have a Cy Young winner and MVP on a last-place team. The team has shaped up and is now close to .500. Meanwhile, Kershaw has gotten even better lately. Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay will provide competition for the award, but the way Kershaw’s pitching, he is the front-runner for the award. If even the rival Lincecum is saying it, it must be true.