…. Wow

Joe Sheehan thinks Tim Lincecum is one man team:

…. Tim Lincecum is to the 2008 Giants what Steve Carlton was to those 1972 Phillies—an ace among deuces, a man among men, the only thing keeping the team out of Triple-A.

So far this season, the Giants are 5-0 when he pitches, 6-13 (now 6-15) when he doesn’t. They’re +9 in run differential and have allowed just seven runs in the five games (1.4 R/G) in which Lincecum pitched. They’re -41 and have allowed 99 runs (5.3 R/G) in the other 19.

Lincecum is the entire reason for this. Supported by 12 runs in his four starts, he’s held the opposition to just three runs in those outings. Throw in a relief appearance in his season debut (an odd game in which Bochy initially held Lincecum out due to the threat of a rain delay), and he’s allowed just four runs in 29 1/3 innings, striking out 34 men. He has yet to allow a home run and has given up just five doubles among his 27 hits allowed. Yes, 27.

That’s because, despite a great strikeout rate, the Giants’ porous defense rates 27th in the NL in Defensive Efficiency, and that has helped Lincecum allow a .380 batting average on balls in play.

His numbers could and should be better if not for the Giants’ inability to prevent singles. The return of Omar Vizquel won’t help all that much; he’s not that much better with the glove then Brian Bocock is, and the Giants’ real problem is on the right side of the infield, where they have just one marginally average defender on the days that Rich Aurilia plays first base.

Tim Lincecum is 4-0, 1.23 despite getting virtually no support from his offense or his defense. He’s the closest thing to a one-man team in MLB—his combined pitching and hitting VORP is 15.3, and the rest of the Giants have combined for 10.7.

Barry Zito is the anti-Lincecum. The team is 0-6 when he pitches, he has allowed an astounding 41 hits (7 doubles, 2 triples and 4 home runs!) and 15 walks while lasting only 28.2 innings, (4 2/3 innings per start), which, of course, is killing the bullpen. On ESPN’s stats page, he is ranked dead last among qualifying pitchers, in virtually every category. He turns everyone into an MVP candidate, with hitters running out a .336/.397/.525 .922 OPS line. The team is 11-9 without him, and the team ERA drops by more than half a run, to 3.95, when you subtract his “contribution.”

The time has come to do something about it. Send him down, put him in the bullpen, put him on the DL, whatever. You cannot keep running him out there, HE HAS NOTHING. No control, no fastball, nothing, and he is killing, KILLING the team.

Hat tip to El

UPDATE: Wow. Zito’s gonna be demoted to the bullpen, which is, essentially, an admission of a failure of the highest level imaginable. Zito’s problems needs to be corrected this season, or we’re pretty much gonna see the end of Brian Sabean. There’s no way Sabean saves his job if Zito is what he looks like now, a complete, total, catastrophic bust.

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All commentary is the opinion of John J Perricone unless otherwise noted.
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