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Sabean: Lincecum's fastball 'is not gonna come back'

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08:10 AM ET 02.13 | From nearly the outset, 2012 was a grind for pitcher Tim Lincecum. Even though Lincecum made 33 starts, his season was a grind from the outset. According to FanGraphs, Lincecum's fastball velocity has declined from 94.1 mph in 2008 to 90.4 last season. During that same span, his ratio of walks per nine innings has increased from 3.33 to 4.45. His ratio of first-pitch strikes (55.4 percent) was the second lowest of his career. "He's got to pitch to contact and throw more strikes," [Giants general manager Brian Sabean] said. "His fastball is not gonna come back, per se. When that happens, you need to increase your ability to get guys out in three pitches or less. We'll see if he's going to make those kinds of adjustments."

ESPN.com

Tim Lincecum, Icon Sports Tim Lincecum, Icon Sports
February 13, 2013  08:17 AM ET

He needs to pitch with his head. Maybe the new haircut will help.

Comment #2 has been removed
February 13, 2013  09:09 AM ET

That's a significant drop in velocity in just one year. It sounds like Sabean is throwing down the gauntlet by telling Timmy he needs to change his approach to pitching.

February 13, 2013  09:20 AM ET

This is the reason you go shorter term with yound outstanding pitching unless they are willing to take a discount

February 13, 2013  09:21 AM ET

I thought all this legalizing marijuana in some states was suppose to fix this problem. Lets wait and see. He could be throwing at 98mph by July.

February 13, 2013  09:29 AM ET
QUOTE(#3):

That's a significant drop in velocity in just one year. It sounds like Sabean is throwing down the gauntlet by telling Timmy he needs to change his approach to pitching.

Maybe adopt a few new pitches?

February 13, 2013  09:33 AM ET
QUOTE(#2):

Makes it easier to cut ties with him after this year

Looks like Timmy screwed up when he decided to go free agent instead of negotiating an extension. Another year like last year, and he'll be taking massive pay cut.

February 13, 2013  09:36 AM ET
QUOTE(#7):

Looks like Timmy screwed up when he decided to go free agent instead of negotiating an extension. Another year like last year, and he'll be taking massive pay cut.

Must have been his drug addled brain not thinking properly.

February 13, 2013  09:36 AM ET
QUOTE(#7):

Looks like Timmy screwed up when he decided to go free agent instead of negotiating an extension. Another year like last year, and he'll be taking massive pay cut.

Maybe screwed up for him.... but not baseball!!! ;-)

February 13, 2013  09:45 AM ET
QUOTE(#8):

Must have been his drug addled brain not thinking properly.

He got greedy. Interesting that Sabean thinks his heater is gone for good.

February 13, 2013  10:18 AM ET

He's still got enough velocity to be effective...he's got to adapt though. Be in command of your pitches, maybe even learn another pitch and yes, pitch to contact. I think he'll put it all back together eventually.

February 13, 2013  10:26 AM ET
QUOTE(#11):

He's still got enough velocity to be effective...he's got to adapt though. Be in command of your pitches, maybe even learn another pitch and yes, pitch to contact. I think he'll put it all back together eventually.

Remember John Tudor - fastball was about 90... And there are many examples.... but you have to be able to locate, locate, locate.... with a finesse for changing speeds....

February 13, 2013  10:28 AM ET

Greg Maddux averaged 85.4 for his fastball and he managed just fine. It's location and the ability to keep the batter guessing, not just velocity.

February 13, 2013  10:37 AM ET
QUOTE(#12):

Remember John Tudor - fastball was about 90... And there are many examples.... but you have to be able to locate, locate, locate.... with a finesse for changing speeds....

Yes! And I think too that when Tim lost velocity he tried painting the corners more and so his walks went up. Changing speeds like you said is going to be a big part of his game now if he's going to be successful and doing that will set up his fastball better.

February 13, 2013  10:45 AM ET

If he has a Guidry-like slider or some other excellent secondary pitch he still can be effective but even then I tend to believe he should be in the pen being groomed as a closer.

February 13, 2013  11:00 AM ET
QUOTE(#14):

Yes! And I think too that when Tim lost velocity he tried painting the corners more and so his walks went up. Changing speeds like you said is going to be a big part of his game now if he's going to be successful and doing that will set up his fastball better.

And that's the funny part - you don't have to "paint the corners".... (up and in) and (low and away) - when the hitters aren't expecting it. Location is going where the hitter isn't ready for it. To many "paint", walk the guy and then make a mistake to the next hitter..... that's a bad mix.

Comment #17 has been removed
February 13, 2013  01:21 PM ET

wiseup: I remember Tom Seaver once said that pitching has three components to be a good pitcher; 1. velocity 2.location and 3. movement. If you command two of those in any game you stand a chance of winning. I would say Seaver did quite well.

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