Ideas fly on BART, at the ballpark and on the street. Everybody wants to be the one. The singular visionary. The genius.
Fans hope, brag and argue about cooking up the big fix, the magically brilliant idea that unshackles Tim Lincecum from his season-long turkey-funk.
Skip his turn in the rotation. Move him to the bullpen. Send him to the minors.
Smoke. Don’t smoke.
The problem with the two-time Cy Young winner isn’t in his head. Or his lungs. Lincecum’s not tired. His arm’s not worn out.
Lincecum’s issues are purely mechanical. For reasons apparently even he can’t pinpoint, Lincecum has lost control over the same kooky delivery that vaulted him to two Cy Youngs.
It’s frustrating for the Giants and their fans to watch Lincecum struggle. But his best path through a nightmare season leads right to a big league pitcher’s mound every five days.
Simply put, Lincecum needs to pitch his way out of this funk. He’s earned the right and still carries great respect with his teammates and the league.
Impatient fans — are there any other kind — just have to accept the results, however ragged they might be.
In case you’ve been averting your eyes, Lincecum’s numbers have been Zito-esque this season. He is 2-8 with a 6.19 ERA and hasn’t won a game since April 28.
Manager Bruce Bochy was quoted over the weekend:
“At this point we think the best thing is to let him fight through this. If we felt different, we’d do it.”
“The kid is fighting, doing all he can do to get out of this every start. He’s taking it hard. At the same time he hasn’t lost any fight in him.”
Timmy seems to want to take the ball and do his job, which is a good sign. He’s not cooking up some injury and asking to go on the disabled list. He finished a recent interview with Giants beat writers by saying:
“I want to pitch every fifth day. I want that ball.”
Righetti has told Lincecum to work on a few mechanical adjustments, aimed at tightening his motion as much as possible. CSNBayArea’s Andrew Baggarly reports that Righetti is working with Lincecum on “quieting his hands and eliminating unnecessary movement.”
The best way for Lincecum to make changes — and for Bochy and Righetti to gauge the results — is to continue to pitch real-life big league games.
Bullpen sessions can’t reveal if you can fool big league hitters. Neither can the minor leagues.
Skipping a turn in the rotation would only give the already circumspect Lincecum even more time to stew about his struggles. The last thing he needs is more time to think.
There is simply no steadfast overnight fix to this problem. It’s going to take patience and hard work. Lincecum has done it before. And it’s that time again.
With the way the rest of the rotation is pitching, the Giants have time to let Lincecum work through this. As of now, though, you can throw away past accolades and achievements. Lincecum is the No. 5 starter in this rotation. For the forseeable future, everyone lower your expectations.