Tim Lincecum was simply dominant in last night’s 2-0 win against the New York Mets. Coming off a frustrating start in D.C. — the one where Laynce Nix turned into power hitting 136 OPS+ Laynce Nix instead of the career 83 OPS+ version — Tim was on his game for the most part. His control wasn’t excellent — as shown by the 127 total pitches it took him to throw seven innings — but it goes to show that even a Lincecum with slightly off control can be a dangerous weapon for the Giants. That fact must terrify most hitters in the National League.
The telecast made mention that Tim’s night was the 29th time in his career that he notched double-digit strikeouts in game, surpassing the great Christy Mathewson. Not bad for the under-sized kid out of Washington.
For fun, I ran a BB-Ref search for the Giants franchise based on total strikeouts for starting pitchers.
Rk Player SO From To Age GS IP 1 Christy Mathewson 2489 1901 1916 20-35 550 4746.0 2 Juan Marichal 2281 1960 1973 22-35 446 3443.2 3 Carl Hubbell 1677 1928 1943 25-40 433 3590.1 4 Gaylord Perry 1606 1962 1971 23-32 283 2294.1 5 Red Ames 1169 1903 1913 20-30 212 1802.2 6 Jason Schmidt 1065 2001 2006 28-33 162 1069.2 7 Mike McCormick 1030 1956 1970 17-31 252 1822.2 8 Bobby Bolin 977 1961 1969 22-30 144 1282.1 9 Tim Lincecum 964 2007 2011 23-27 129 858.1 10 Hooks Wiltse 948 1904 1914 24-34 223 2053.0
Mathewson is ranked #1 on the list in large part because he threw a ton — and I mean a ton — of innings over his career. His career IP total of 4,746 is staggering to think about. The rest of the list is filled with Giants whom you would expect to see: Marichal, Hubbell, Perry, Schmidt, and McCormick. At the current time, Tim sits at #9 on the list. If he stays healthy this season, he’ll have a good chance to move into the #6 position, passing Jason Schmidt.
I ran another search using Baseball-Reference’s game logs (the gamelogs sadly only go back to 1919, Mathewson isn’t included as a result) for the most double-digit strikeout games by a Giants’ starting pitcher. That search returned the following results.
Player Games Tim Lincecum 29 Jason Schmidt 27 Juan Marichal 25 Gaylord Perry 15 John Montefusco 14 Ray Sadecki 9 Sam Jones 9 Shawn Estes 9 Bobby Bolin 8 Ed Halicki 7
Another list of well known pitchers that mirrors some of the all-time leader board above. I inevitability come to the same conclusion when I look at lists like this, ‘Jason Schimdt was a really, really good pitcher for the Giants’. Schmidt preceded the rise of Cain and Lincecum and it’s sometimes easy to forget his stretch with the Giants. But, it’s hard to find a better six year run for a pitcher in the history of the team. And then, after admiring Schimdt’s numbers, I remember how frustrating (and talented) Shawn Estes could be.
If you’re wondering where Matt Cain is, interestingly enough he’s only had six career games with 10 strikeouts or more. The last game in which Cain struck out 10 or more hitters was a 10 strikeout performance against the Cubs on July 1, 2008. It’s kind of shocking to note that Cain hasn’t had a double-digit strikeout game since 2008, but then again, it makes sense when you consider that he’s changed as a pitcher. He’s no longer throwing heat and pitching for strikeouts, but more of a control guy now. He does rank #11 on the all-time list with 933 career strikeouts.