By TED SILLANPAA
Tim Lincecum is particularly well suited to pitch in relief, under the intense pressure of the World Series. He’s got amazing confidence and a resilient arm. When he’s right, his three or four pitches can be unhittable. He’s a craftsman of the highest order. That’s how he won back to back Cy Young Awards.
The Lincecum who struggled mightily in 2012 lost some confidence, obviously. He was pitching against the memory of the Cy Young Award-winning Lincecum. Starting in 2012, he had to pace himself and worry about pitching in and out of trouble. He’s human and he started looking over his shoulder to the bullpen.
Everything changed when Bruce Bochy put him the bullpen where, arguably, he has been as valuable as any Giant in the postseason. Lincecum comes into situations where the pressure is on, often facing hitters who’ve been in the spotlight a great deal less than the pitcher has been. And, rather than pacing himself or worrying about batters working the count to raise his pitch count, Lincecum just airs it out and batters are responding as though they’ve never seen anything like him out of the pen.
Lincecum admitted the bullpen role enables him to come in and go 100% until Bochy tells him he’s done. That so suits Lincecum’s mentality. Let it all hang out!
Lincecum’s time and effort out of the pen has the Giants on the brink of a world championship in 2012. The things he has learned and what the Giants have learned about him, could make the season a big win for the guy Giants fans love. And, Lincecum coming off a feel-good postseason is exactly what any team in baseball would love to have moving forward.
It’s impossible not to root for a kid who, to me, is still just a freaky, little athlete. So, Lincecum getting a month to pitch without a care in the world and get back to obviously enjoying the game again has been so much fun to watch.