Just a quick thought today that came to me after watching last nights game. Ben Sheets pitched a great game while Lincecum still had trouble, looking wild and giving up 6 ER in just 4 innings pitched. While watching Sheets cruise through the Giants lineup it reminded me of how sometimes it takes awhile for pitchers to adjust to the major leagues and to experience success.
Ben Sheets vs. Tim Lincecum – The Similarities
- Both are #10 draft picks in the first round
- Both came up to the majors with dynamite stuff but struggled some initially. Sheets still posted a pretty good ERA of 4.76 in his first full season but his peripherals weren’t great and his ERA+ was actually under league average at 93. We all know about Lincecum’s stuff but the results have been mixed.
- Sheets didn’t really have a “great” season until his 4th season in the bigs when he just dominated. Posting a ERA of 2.70 and striking out 264 batters in 237 innings. He’s been an above average starter, when he actually pitched due to some injuries, ever since that season.
So in the very simplest of comparisons, both are talented young pitchers, one who has made adjustments and one who is currently making adjustments. The Brewers broadcasters in last nights game even went so far as to say that Sheets has been pitching more to contact this year to keep his pitch count down in attempt to keep himself longer in ballgames.
Tim Lincecum is a amazing talent but pitching is extremely hard to do well at this level of play. Lincecum could very well go the route of Ben Sheets and take a couple of years before really putting everything together. It’s also looking more and more like the Giants are considering giving Lincecum a break between starts.
Lincecum also might have pitched himself out of the rotation — at least temporarily. Bochy said he and his coaches have discussed skipping Lincecum’s next start, which the club can afford to do because they have a day off Thursday. In fact, they could go until July 8 — the final game before the All-Star break — without using a fifth starter again.
He could work on mechanics, watch video, or just try and regroup his thoughts during his time off. I think it’s a good strategy that will also help lessen the total innings pitched on Tim’s arm this year. Lincecum seems positive about the idea, saying:
“He’s the manager, and he knows the best,” Lincecum said. “If it worked out for Cain — I think we’re pretty similar pitchers — I think it could work out for me too.”
Give the kid a quick breather and move on from there.
Rich Aurilia is headed to the DL for 2-3 weeks with inflamed facet joints in his neck. Frandsen will see increased playing time while Rich is away.
Eliezer Alfonzo has opted for surgery on his knee instead of trying rehab. Eliezer should be out until late August. Time to call up Justin Knoedler? I can’t say that I’m a big fan of G-Rod at all. Even though he’s worked with Lincecum in the minors it sure hasn’t looked like it in the majors and he’s had trouble catching the ball, missing two plays yesterday in the loss to the Brewers.
The Giants will not be skipping Tim Lincecum in the rotation. Hmm, I’m not sure how I feel about this right now.