Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Dive In and Swim

I was down in San Luis Obispo (i.e. Dodger territory, the only blemish in such a wonderful area) this weekend, so I was unable to catch Tim Lincecum's domination of the Padres (I did catch Francisco Rodriguez breaking the saves record on TV...more on that later). Lincecum threw his first career complete game shutout, a 12-strikeout masterpiece that should cement his hold on the Cy Young. I didn't have any access to the Internet on Saturday so I had to check the box score on my cell phone. When I saw Lincecum's line, I nearly let out a girlish squeal. It was a beautiful work of art, that game, something that should be displayed in the Louvre. If a pitching line could be embodied by a woman, Lincecum's shutout would be Monica Bellucci.

So why is this exquisite work of art generating so much controversy? Because Lincecum's 12-strikeout masterpiece just happened to be a 12-strikeout, 138 pitch masterpiece. Um, yeah, that's a lot of pitches. As in, no one has thrown that many this season, or for a very long time. Lincecum is 24, so thus he is still in that pre-25 danger zone when a lot of young pitchers tend to hurt themselves. So naturally, he is being worked like a dog, for a team not in contention. This is a tad precarious.

Once again, I'd like to reiterate that I'm not a pitch count nazi, but letting Lincecum go back out there to finish the game with a 7-0 lead was just flat out retarded. I'd like to think we're past the point in our baseball lives where our eyes mist over because of that shiny "1" in the shutout column. Bruce Jenkins may have shat himself at the sight of Lincecum "finishing what he started", but the Giants are risking the future of the franchise because of some old-fashioned macho bullshit. It's that simple.

If the Giants were battling it out for a pennant and Lincecum was hanging on to a shutout with a slim lead, then yes, I sure as hell would rather have him out there than Brian Wilson. A 7-0 lead for a team with a stranglehold on fourth place, though? Start mass-producing the pink slips please, with the first one sent via express mail to Bruce Bochy.

Some have chosen to froth at the mouth over the team's handling of Lincecum, some have decided to just hide under some coats and hope everything works out. My opinion? Well, those coats are awfully cozy. Perhaps Timmy is just a freak whose unorthodox mechanics will keep his arm relatively healthy and protect him from moronic managerial decisions. We can certainly hope and pray that he's one of those guys who comes along once in a blue moon and never has a serious injury, despite a heavy workload, like Nolan Ryan or Roger Clemens. If, however, there comes a day that Timmy has to leave a game complaining of tightness in his arm and suddenly goes the way of the Foppert, don't say it couldn't have been prevented.

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