Tim Lincecum was roughed up again in his outing on Sunday, this time against the Rangers. It has been a miserable year so far for the former two-time Cy Young Award winner, his record being 2-7 with an ERA of 6.00. If you throw in his shaky outings the previous September, the question that will start to be asked is this: are we witnessing the decline of one of the games most exciting pitchers?
Since bursting onto the scene in 2007 for the Giants, Lincecum has proven to be one of baseball’s top attractions. With his diminutive frame and signature windup, The Freak led the National League in strikeouts three years in a row. Before 2012, his career record was a glittering 69-41 with an ERA around 3.00. His won-loss record would probably be better except the Giants have been a sluggish offensive club during his time in San Francisco. Now it seems he can’t get anyone out. He has pitched seven innings or more only three times, the same number of starts he has lasted exactly five innings.
Before this season, the Giants and Lincecum could not agree on a long-term deal and they narrowly avoided arbitration by agreeing on a two-year contract through 2013. At the end of the deal, Lincecum will be a free agent. The signs are there that he will not be back in San Francisco. Matt Cain signed a huge extension before the season and Madison Bumgarner is signed thru 2017. If Lincecum hopes to score a big payday, he needs to return to the form that made him one of the top three pitchers in the game. As fans, we need to see more big performances from The Freak.
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