Friday, October 8, 2010
Tim Lincecum: king of the hill
In the Giants first postseason appearance since 2003 they had an ace up their sleeve in the form of Tim Lincecum. He used 119 pitches to toss a two-hit, 14 K shutout and give the Giants a 1-0 lead over the Braves in the National League Division Series.
What else did he do?
•Became the second pitcher in MLB history to strike out at least 10 and allow two hits or fewer in a shutout in a postseason debut. The other was Ed Walsh of the 1906 White Sox.
•The 14 strikeouts are tied for third-most in a postseason shutout, trailing only Bob Gibson and Roger Clemens (17).
•Tied the record for strikeouts in a postseason debut, which was previously done three times (last by Mike Scott of the 1986 Astros).
•Became the third pitcher to throw a 1-0 shutout with 10 or more strikeouts, joining Mike Scott and Dave McNally (1969 Orioles).
•Became the first pitcher to throw a 1-0 shutout in his postseason debut since Mike Scott.
•Set the Giants single-game postseason record with 14 K, beating the previous mark of 10 (done four times).
How was he able to dominate?
Lincecum had good command of his fastball as the Braves were only one-for-12 against the pitch. The lone hit (Omar Infante's double to lead off the game) came on a fastball up-and-away. That's the corner where Lincecum is most vulnerable (.293 opp BA).
The Braves' eagerness to chase meant Lincecum could go out of the zone and still get strikes. Only 44 percent of his pitches were in the zone, second-lowest in a start since the All-Star break, yet Lincecum got 24 strikes on bad balls (17 swings-and-misses, three fouls, two called and two in play). Eleven of his strikeouts came on balls out of the strike zone.
Lincecum forced 31 swings and misses, which is easily a career high and the most for ANY pitcher in ANY game this season. The Braves missed 56.4 percent of their 55 swings.
Lincecum never faced more than four batters in an inning, and the Braves were 0-8 with runners on base and their chase percentage jumped to 44 pct with runners on.
Lastly, an interesting fact about the second inning: Lincecum struck out the side on nine swings and misses. There were some called balls mixed in, so it's not nine pitches, but every strike in that inning was a whiff.