The 10 Most Anticipated Baseball Stories of the Summer

9. What's Wrong With Tim Lincecum?

Lincecum, everybody's favorite long-haired, weed-smoking, f-bomb-on-live-tv-dropping pitcher is off to the worst start of his career. His fastball velocity is down, his walks are way up, and his ERA and WHIP are way, way up (5.82 and 1.57 respectively). Some haters—er, conventional wisdom types—have suggested for years that Lincecum's unorthodox delivery and workload would catch up with him in the form of reduced effectiveness or injury or both. With the Giants already a half dozen games behind the Dodgers in the NL West (albeit in the thick of the expanded and muddled wild card hunt), San Francisco fans are wondering if they'll have to make a playoff push without their two-time Cy Young Award-winning Freak.

The Complex Crystal Ball Says... He turns it around. Lincecum's had bad stretches before (granted, not this long) and every time it's appeared he's ready to pay the piper for his whipsaw delivery, he's come back to strike the piper's dumbass out. While his walk rate is up, so is his strikeout rate (at 9.5 per 9 innings, a tick below the number he posted to lead the league two years ago), and he's been a victim of some bad innings that have inflated his numbers (including his start Friday against the Marlins, where he went five strong innings before giving up five runs in the 6th). He might not approach his '08-'09 peak (only a handful of pitchers in MLB history ever have), but don't expect Lincecum to be a drag on the Giants much longer.

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