Here are several links from the past week that will make the final Monday before the start of the regular season a bit more bearable:
Whither the Freak?
Tim Lincecum has now logged five full major league seasons, and dazzling though his overall performance has been, a disturbing sequence is emerging.
In 2008 and 2009, Lincecum was completely spectacular, racking up 7.5 and 8.0 WAR and sweeping twin Cy Young Awards. In 2010 and 2011, he was very good, but less than spectacular, his WAR totals at 4.7 and 4.1. And in 2012, at age 28, Lincecum labored through a dismal campaign, his walk rate and home run rate both bloated, and he squeaked out just 1.5 WAR over 33 starts. Giants’ fans really don’t like where this movie seems to be heading.
There are rays of hope to be found. One is that Lincecum, demoted to long-reliever status in five outings during last fall’s post-season, performed like the Freak of yore, and how: 13 innings, three hits, one run, two walks, 17 strikeouts. Another is that Lincecum reported to this year’s spring training sporting a good 10 pounds of newly-added muscle—as he had done in 2011, and, pointedly, not in 2012.
For whatever it’s worth, Lincecum is also now sporting a neatly-trimmed coiffure, which is probably trivial but might symbolize a newfound maturity, the sort which tends to discover motivation in the looming presence of a massive contract year.
The Giants won the 2012 division title despite a terrible season from Tim Lincecum. That’s a formulation highly unlikely to be repeated. In 2013, an outcome far more liable to play out is simply this: as goes the Freak, so will go the Giants.
The architects and engineers tell us Fenway Park will be viable and usable in its present form for at least 30 to 40 more years, with regular maintenance and care, of course. Our recent 10-year renovation plan was more than cosmetic; it was also highly structural, containing elements such as massive waterproofing.
That’s it. Have a walk-off week!