Oh, the bittersweet Saturday night angst. In case you were backpacking in Madagascar this weekend, Tim Lincecum threw his first major league complete game, a 7-0 shutout. To do so he threw 138 pitches, the most in MLB the past five years except for Jason Schmidt (once) and Livan Hernandez (four times).
Bochy could have taken him out after 8 innings and 118 pitches, I think it was, but no -- Timmy needed to break the psychological barrier and finish his own game. It's like $100-a-barrel oil. $99.87 a barrel? Bah. $100? Drill, baby, drill! (Which, as Thomas Friedman points out, is about as forward-looking as shouting in 1980, "Typewriters, baby, typewriters!")
Were all the old-school manly types, led by Bruce Jenkins, leading the chant "Throw baby throw!" as Timmy's pitch count soared? Was there not a twinge of anxiety? I'm tired of the back-and-forth about pitch counts, to be honest. I'll just sit back and enjoy Lincecum and light prayerful candles fashioned from moose lard every time he pitches. Oh please, merciful God of Baseball, Lord Swing-And-a-Vishnu, keep Timmy's rotator cuff whole and innocent.
Sure I want him to have his Cy Young, but I'm old enough now that individual awards for the players I root for aren't quite as lustrous. What I want is that ring, that ring-a-ding-bling, I want to run around the block half-naked whooping all the way, just like a French neighbor of mine did on this night, right after Brian Wilson or someone else black-and-orange records the final out of the World Series. We won't know for a long time, perhaps years, if this stretch run of deep pitch counts is having an effect on Lincecum's arm. So I won't make any grand pronouncements today.
But I will tip the Malo sombrero to reader Stephen Potter, who senta link to this article, written by the f/x pitch data guru Josh Kalk. Kalk examines Lincecum's pitch speed and movement to see if there's any evidence of him wearing down. Sounds like the data is inconclusive; for fear of oversimplifying Kalk's article, he says Lincecum has lost a mile or two of average speed on his fastball, but the average has been stable around 94 MPH over his last four starts (not including Saturday).