Tim Lincecum’s fastball velocity plot 2007-2009.
Courtesy of FanGraphs.
Also, note that FanGraph’s PFX velocity plot includes both home and away starts. When plotting velocity, you really only want to look at home starts because it will remove some of the stadium bias that often pops up in PFX data — ie: some stadiums read slower than others or some read faster. I’ll get around to doing a plot with home starts only from 2007-2009 so stay tuned for that. Part of this is panic-y (he’s still striking out hitters) but watching Lincecum throw a 89mph fastball is frightening. Still, maybe it wasn’t a good idea to push a 24-year-old arm as hard as the Giants did with Tim Lincecum last year. Who knew?
Oh, that’s right!
But, I think the Giants have bordered on careless with his usage at times this year. This isn’t about pitch counts, they are a proxy at best, but this is about the entire year and the way this team has handled Lincecum. I heard a great quote from another Giants blog — sorry I can’t remember which one and who said it — but it boiled down to: “The worst thing that can happen after pulling Lincecum is 1-2 innings of Tyler Walker”. At this point, it’s not about building his stamina, or workload, he’s met all of those goals this year but in his past 4 starts, the Giants have pushed him like a playoff team in contention.
At the end of the day, the question still remains: How did this game effect Lincecum, if at all? And the answer is: We won’t know yet, if ever. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to err on the side of caution, even if you don’t exactly know where that side begins. One thing I can say is that the Giants do not need to make their decisions based on petty short term rewards like a CY Young Award, which is what I fear they are doing right now. It clouds judgment and reasoning abilities and I’m afraid that it will lead to problems down the road.
Once again, I hope I’m wrong. If something is wrong with Lincecum and he’s hurt or losing effectiveness because of a heavy workload, the Giants just set themselves back a couple of years on their development path.
Also, Aaron Rowand is sucking something awful. His career Giants line is: .264/.335/.401 and I think there are legitimate concerns about his eroding defense in CF. Compare that line to Marvin Benard’s career with SF: .271/.343/.402 and you’ve got to laugh a little. Benard always got abused by the fans but I never hated him like some did. He was what he was. But Rowand is another situation entirely. Benard never made the money that Rowand is making and Benard was never pushed on fans as some GAMER dude who’s going to HUSTLE ALL OUT until the last out is recorded. I’m not sure if I hate Aaron Rowand’s production more or his image.