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Monday, May 07, 2007

Lincecum Learns In His Debut

The Giants most praised farm prospect in years, even more than Matt Cain and Jesse Foppert, made his much anticipated major league debut on Sunday. It wasn't a debut to write home about for Lincecum as he gave up 4 earned runs in 4 1/3 innings work. He gave up to long home runs to a new Giants' nemesis, Shane Victorino, as well as a majestic shot to reigning MVP Ryan Howard. Besides the two mistakes to Victorino and Howard, Lincecum's location was a little shaky as he walked 5 batters. For a highly hyped major league debut on national television, I wasn't too surprised with the results we saw from Lincecum. There was no doubt he was amped, making his major league debut and all so It shouldn't come to any ones surprise that he hung a few pitches and walked some guys. The only thing that I noticed that gave me a little concern was how Lincecum's velocity seemed to drop as his pitch count rose. He came out of the gate throwing 97-99 in the first inning, but by the 5th, he was down around 91-93 consistently. To critique his start, I would like to see him use his slider a little more. His fastball is a great one, but this is the major leagues, and if you keep piling on fastball after fastball, regardless of the velocity, hitters will start catching up. Part of the reason why he I think he resorted to his fastball more than usual was because of the hanging 1-2 curveball that Victorino hit out to right in the first inning. There was no doubt he lost confidence in that pitch after that.

All in all, Lincecum came out of it relatively well. You never want to see your starter fail to get through 5 innings, but things could have gotten a lot worse. He showed his capabilities by making a few of the best hitters in the league (Howard and Chase Utley) look foolish in a couple at-bats. But he also showed that he still has some things to learn as far as pitching goes. He said himself after the game that this start was a huge learning experience for him, and he found out what to and what no to do in certain counts. The Phillies really got to all Giants starters this weekend so for them to hit Lincecum hard should not be discouraging to anybody. Even Matt Cain got touched up this week for the first time in 2007. He will get at least one more start in Ortiz's place on Friday, but then in all likelihood will be sent back down to Fresno. The Giants starting pitching has hit a wall here in May after sporting one of the leagues best era's through April.
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3 Comments:

  • At 5:27 PM, Anonymous Kelsdad said…

    I had heard about how unorthodox his delivery was, and was surprised at how orthodox it actually is. He reminds me of Orel Hershiser and Jim Palmer.

    You're right about the fastball issue to the point about everyone in the major leagues being able to hit a 95 mph heater. And that's because its straight. When you throw 95 with movement, that's what makes it unhittable. And Lincecum's fastball is dead straight. Most of the reason why is delivery, the lower your arm angle at release the more movement it will have. An over-the-top delivery, like Mariano Rivera, uses grip pressure for movement. This is something easily taught, so don't be concerned. I think nerves had a big part in his performance, throwing 100 pitches in 4.1 innings is really, really high.

     
  • At 5:41 PM, Blogger TC said…

    His fastball straightened out and lost velocity when he had to got behind and had to get it in for strikes. Th walks are really what gave him most of his trouble.

     
  • At 7:05 PM, Anonymous Kelsdad said…

    Yeah, I agree. He was wild high, which is usually a sign of nerves.

     

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