Appreciating Tim Lincecum - NBC Bay Area

Appreciating Tim Lincecum



    On Wednesday night, Tim Lincecum was dominant once again, striking out 12 batters over seven scoreless innings and breaking Christy Mathewson's record for most double-digit strikeout games in Giants' history.

    His performance propelled the Giants to a 2-0 win over the Mets and also did wonders for morale, bringing the Giants back to .500 and helping to give the current East Coast road trip some life after stops in Pittsburgh and Washington only served to highlight an anemic offense.

    Watch the highlight reel at -- all you hear is Duane Kuiper saying "Got 'em!"

    Over and over again. It's quite fun, really.

    But back to the Mathewson thing, because I'm not sure that everyone truly understands just how special Lincecum is (and how lucky, by virtue of his special nature, Giants fans are to have him).

    I say this because, the other day I ran across an article in which the author (and yes, granted, it's Bleacher Report) decided to answer the question, "Should the Giants Trade Tim Lincecum?"

    Responding to that silliness could be a 1,000 word screed against the author all by itself, because trading Tim Lincecum is simply not an option. Or, alternately, unless you're Biff Tannen, the answer could just be two resounding words: "Hell no."

    Lincecum might be a free agent soon, and he might require the biggest pitching contract of all-time, but, I mean, how can anyone argue against that? Lincecum has two Cy Young awards in his first five years pitching. He might be on pace for another.

    He's now struck out 10 or more people 29 times ... in just 129 starts. Mathewson -- again, a Hall of Famer -- needed 16 years with the Giants to pull it off. Even accounting for differences in eras, that's absolutely nuts.

    And yet, The Freak remains pretty humble and well-grounded about the whole thing.

    "I didn't really think about it coming into tonight or any other night," Lincecum said. "Those numbers kind of rack up as time goes along. But something that's been standing for so long by such a prestigious pitcher ... I'll be celebrating it tonight as much as I can but I've got to go and get my work in tomorrow."

    Jason Fry of the fantastic Mets' blog Faith and Flushing understands this, and points out that Lincecum's amazing work is "better loved from afar." He also calls Lincecum's work "beautiful" (if you like watching pitchers dominant anyway), which means something pretty big considering that Fry just watched Lincecum eviscerate his favorite team.

    Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles echoes that exact word (beautiful) when talking about Lincecum's best pitch being his fastball, as it was on Wednesday night.

    So, maybe I'm wrong, and everyone really does appreciate Lincecum. He has the hardware and the World Series ring, so he's not exactly "under the radar" or anything.

    But when you see what he did on Wednesday, and how it propelled the seemingly-dead 2011 season momentum forward as the Giants wrap up the road trip, and then remember how he managed to do much of the same thing last year, and then see that he just broke a Hall of Famer's record in his fifth season ... well, it warrants taking a step back and thanking the baseball gods that not only do we get to watch Lincecum work, but that we get to watch him work for the Giants.