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Peter Gammons: ‘Lincecum Still Developing As Pitcher’

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 25: Tim Lincecum #55 of the San Francisco Giants celebrates after the game at AT&T Park on June 25, 2014 in San Francisco, California. Tim Lincecum threw his second career no-hitter as the San Francisco Giants defeated the San Diego Padres 4-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

Tim Lincecum (Credit: Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

Tim Lincecum turned 30 years old earlier this month, an age that suggests he’s at least halfway through his career.

And yet, many people are still not sure what to make of him.

Indeed, Lincecum might be the greatest enigma in all of baseball. On the one hand, he won back-to-back Cy Young awards in 2008-09, he’s led the league in strikeouts three times and he’s a four-time All-Star. On the other hand, he was awful in 2012-13, eventually getting banished to the bullpen. Granted, he’s thrown a no-hitter in back-to-back seasons, but his ERA – both this year and last year – remains in the mid-4.00s.

What do we make of this guy?

“I don’t think we’re ever going to see him throw with the velocity and the movement up in the strike zone that he once had, but I still see him developing as a pitcher,” MLB Network and MLB.com analyst Peter Gammons said on The John Feinstein Show. “And one of the reasons for that is he’s very athletic. I mean, he has to be to be able to control his body the way he does and pitch. But he legitimately loves pitching.”

“I was talking to Barry Zito about the motivation that people have sometimes for why they play and why they do things,” Gammons continued. “We were talking about one guy who was motivated by anger and determination. And he said, ‘And then there’s Tim Lincecum, who’s just motivated by one thing. He truly loves pitching, and he loves baseball. I have so much admiration for him because of that. I think that will define his career.’”

The no-hitters won’t hurt, either. Lincecum dominated San Diego on Wednesday, allowing just one base runner in a 4-0 win. The numbers from Lincecum’s two no-hitters against San Diego are mind-boggling: zero runs, 19 strikeouts and 261 pitches in 18 innings.

Thus, Lincecum is one of just two players in baseball history with at least two Cy Young awards, two World Series rings and two no-hitters (the other is Sandy Koufax). Needless to say, those are Hall of Fame credentials.

And yet, Lincecum is 95-75 with a career 3.52 ERA.

“I think that as he goes along here, he can make adjustments,” Gammons said. “The way he uses off-speed pitches, the way he moves the ball around – maybe that’s what he’s going to be. He did throw better last year when he worked out of the bullpen. His velocity was better because, like a lot of guys, the velocity ticked up when he was throwing in short spurts. But at the same time, I think guys can reinvent themselves, especially someone who wants to be great the way he does.”

“I watch Tim Lincecum, and I’m rooting for him all the time,” Gammons continued. “I really enjoy him, and I think he’s great for the game. There’s something about that personality and the look and all the rest. There’s no cookie cutter in Lincecum.”

 

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