San Francisco Giants’ starter Tim Lincecum hasn’t been his Cy Young self the past couple of years unless you count two no-hitters against the San Diego Padres and really, does that count? It’s the same question I often ask about Matt Cain‘s perfect game against the Houston Astros. It was before the Astros started to improve and they still have a losing record.
Giants executives and fans alike seem to enjoy pretending that they back Lincecum when he does something of relative interest such as throw a no-hitter against the Padres. They really do. Timmy will be trending on Twitter and they aren’t talking about Tim Hudson. Sooner or later the voices die down to silence and inevitably revert back into discontent.
Monday the Giants announced that Lincecum will not make his scheduled start on Thursday against the Colorado Rockies. Instead he will be moved to the bullpen. Yusmeiro Petit will replace Lincecum in the Giants’ starting rotation according to Giants insider Henry Schulman.
— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) August 25, 2014
Lincecum has been terrible as a starter since 2012. His ERA in 2012 was 5.18, in 2013 4.37 and so far this season he’s sporting a 4.64 ERA. However in his last six starts his ERA is an atrocious 9.49.
The Giants simply can’t afford to have him continue to start as they are barley hanging on to the second National League Wild Card spot, just one game above the Atlanta Braves. They are currently 4.5 games back in the N.L. West behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.
As bad as Lincecum has been the Giants should, and probably do, still have hope that he can succeed in the bullpen. In 2012 he was pitching more poorly than he has been of late. They moved him to the bullpen with great success and went on to win the World Series that year.
It’s not unlike the suggestions that have been made by some that Justin Verlander should close for the Detroit Tigers but let’s face it that seems a lot more likely to work out. Even though Lincecum has two Cy Young Awards to Verlander’s one, Verlander has been better overall throughout his career.
Regardless it is certainly worth a try for the Giants, putting Lincecum in the bullpen. It certainly won’t hurt them as much as one of his starts could. Now they just have to hope that Petit can get the job done,