It’s a dream for him; it gives him not one, but two strikeout pitches – one for both righties and lefties. For right-handed hitters, it’s just no fun at all. He was plenty successful with his changeup alone, a pitch that typically is far more effective versus your Joey Vottoes and Ryan Howardes. But his new slider should make for a right-handed hitter, what was once just an unpleasant experience, an out-and-out nightmare.
If you’re a Giants fan, you probably already know this: Tim Lincecum’s slider is an awesome pitch. You should have noticed this last week when he dominated the Padres. Actually, you should have noticed it when he turned the Braves’ lineup into minced meat last October – he was similarly effective against the Rangers in Game Five of the World Series.
But if you’re not a Giants fan, or are but haven’t been paying close enough attention, allow yourself to marvel at his slide-piece tonight against the Dodgers. See if he doesn’t strike Matt Kemp out with it. Over at the Hardball Times today, you can read about how I’ve given fair warning to the right-handed hitters in the league, as well as those with their sights on the NL Cy Young award:
At the end of the 2010 season, Matt Cain taught Lincecum a new slider grip, his slider grip – it’s been a pretty excellent pitch for Cain in his career. He began using it on September 12, and the results were awesome. Since he began throwing that pitch, including the playoffs and his first two 2011 starts, he’s thrown 78 innings with a strikeout rate of 10.73, a walk rate of 2.19 (K/BB ratio of 4.90) and a 1.85 ERA. He’s simply been better than ever, and half of those starts came against playoff teams in the NLDS, NLCS and versus the AL Champion Rangers.
The Freak is on the bump today. It’s Win Day.