Nobody is beyond getting the jitters. Not even Tim Lincecum, at least when it comes to the first time doing something. I don’t have the stats on his first starts in high school, UW or in the minors, but the guy did give up 5 ER in 4.1 innings in his first start with the Giants.
He only pitched 4 innings in his first start of 2008, but he gets a pass since he came in from the bullpen and got the win. But this year, this year he scared everyone with how above average he looked, as opposed to phenomenally wicked-awesome killerbitching. It’s tough to remember anything from that game other than Travis Ishikawa hitting that triple and Jon Miller yelling, “AND THEY ALL SCORE!” But on that day (and for a few starts afterwards), Lincecum’s velocity was down and the command on his breaking pitchers was spotty.
Same thing today, when Lincecum got rattled by losing Ichiro and Derek Jeter after getting both of them to 0-2. It didn’t help that Lincecum was tense, compromising the normal fluidity and flexibility of his natural throwing motion. That mental tightness resulted in 91-mph fastballs and high, floating changeups and curveballs. It was clear that Lincecum’s All-Star jitters have been building ever since his jagerbombs flu kept him out of last year’s Yankee Stadium sendoff.
Oh well, it’s better to have a less-than-memorable performance in the All-Star Game than collapse entirely.
Other All-Star Game Notes
— Predictably odd broadcast from Fox tonight, starting with Barack Obama’s first pitch. I’m one of those few schlubs who still watch the bulk of their television on an old tube set, one that is decidedly not widescreen. So I figured the reason why I couldn’t see where Obama’s pitch landed was because it I was lacking a couple inches of width (on my TELEVISION). Here’s some video Big League Stew has that shows the pitch in a little better detail than I had. After seeing the pitch a couple times, I have to say: Obama’s baseball skills don’t match what he can do on the basketball court, but he’s a better pitcher than he is a bowler.
— Here’s why the National League doesn’t win the All-Star Game anymore: they aren’t as good. The starting pitching is about equal, but the American League has far better hitters and closers.
— If the American League doesn’t have better hitters, than why didn’t Raul Ibanez tear apart the AL when he was a Mariner, before he turned 36? Don’t forget that the NL has so many teams that play in fraudulent bandboxes (Colorado, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Arizona, Houston and arguably Milwaukee), while the AL only has a couple stadiums where home runs are entirely too easy to hit (Arlington and the new Yankee Stadium). C’mon, I know he got robbed of a home run tonight by Carl Crawford, but would Brad Hawpe ever be an All-Star outfielder in the AL?
— Nice to see Crawford, my favorite non-Giant and favorite fantasy baseball player of all time, win MVP. If the Giants somehow got Crawford somebody would need to take my credit card away from me, because I’d probably max out the thing buying season tickets and rounds of drinks at the bar in my neighborhood.
— Crawford’s MVP ceremony led to the other weird thing I noticed about tonight’s broadcast, the sound. Chris Rose talked a little bit (I wasn’t listening), Bud Selig took the microphone and rambled a bit (still not listening), and then Crawford started talking. Suddenly I started paying attention, and a couple seconds later the crowd noise came into play. Hmmm, that’s weird. Why would the sound turn on? Could it have possibly been because the salty St. Louis crowd (who booed Obama before his first pitch, after cheering George W.’s videotaped pregame address louder than any of the other four living presidents) booed the hell out of Selig, just like any other baseball crowd probably would these days? Maybe that was why old Bud was visibly twitching while waiting for Rose to hand him the mic.