Tim Lincecum’s outstanding season has put him in the running for the NL Cy Young Award.
Lincecum (15-3, 2.43 ERA) leads the majors with 210 strikeouts and owns the lowest ERA in the NL in just his second major-league season. He went 7-5 with a 4.00 ERA and 150 strikeouts in 146 1-3 innings over 24 starts last year, and is now considered a serious contender for the Cy Young.
“It’s great to be there now, but you kind of look at where you are at the end of the season and gauge it from there,” Lincecum told the Giants’ official Web site about ranking among the best pitchers in baseball. “You don’t want to think about the numbers too much. You just want to keep your eye on them and not let them get to you or make you strive for something that’s too out of reach.”
Lincecum has certainly reinforced his case to be named the top hurler in the league, going 4-0 with a 1.45 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 49 2-3 innings over his last seven starts, leading the Giants (59-78) to wins in five of them.
The All-Star was outstanding again Wednesday, yielding one run and five hits with 10 strikeouts while throwing a career-high 132 pitches over 7 2-3 innings of a 4-1 victory over Colorado (65-74). That win prevented the Giants from being swept in three games by the Rockies and stands as their only one in their last seven games.
“He’s a throwback for Giant fans to Juan Marichal,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said of Lincecum. “He gets on top of the ball. He’s like a whirling dervish out there. He’s got some deception, he’s got thump with the fastball. He’s got a sharp breaking ball, he’s got a slider. And, then, he has that filthy changeup.”
Lincecum is 2-0 with a 1.74 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 20 2-3 innings over his last three starts against Colorado.
He’ll now attempt to help San Francisco halt a four-game slide and try to rebound from Monday’s 4-0 loss to the Rockies.
Colorado is six games behind NL West-leading Arizona, and still looking to replicate last season’s outstanding September run, during which it went 20-8 before beating San Diego in a wild-card playoff, en route to its first NL pennant. The club has won 14 of its last 15 September games.
“We’re not out of it,” Hurdle said. “As long as we stayed focused on our own game, that what gives me hope.”
Hurdle gives the ball to Livan Hernandez (1-3, 11.09), who could use some help in his second consecutive start opposite Lincecum.
On Wednesday, the right-hander allowed two runs on a pair of solo homers and three more hits in 6 1-3 innings while taking his second consecutive loss.