Getting Inside Lincecum's 12K Game

You guys know that when Tim Lincecum goes out and does something awesome -- as he did when he struck out 12 guys on Thursday, helping the Giants take the series over the Twins -- I like to write about how fun it is to watch him pitch.

That's because it is fun to watch him pitch, and it's also easy to talk about the greatness that is the Freak.

Fortunately, the old Stats & Info blog at ESPN decided to do some of my work for me, pointing out just how dominant Lincecum was Thursday.

To wit: Thursday's game was the fifth time in Timmy's career that he struck out 12 or more batters without allowing a run. Only Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander and Jake Peavy among active pitchers have more than one of those (they each have two).

Additionally, every single strikeout that Lincecum posted was a swinging strikeout, which is kind of insane, and really tells a story of how filthy he was, and just how off-balance the Twins hitters were.

Going right along with that notion, Chris Quick at Bay City Ball figured out an incredibly cool new graphical style with which to examine strikeout counts. You need to check out the post, but via colors (pitch types), borders (strikeout types) and a tic-tac-toe-like board (innings), he's showing pitching dominance over the course of a start.

Six of Timmy's strikeouts were using a slider -- including all three in the fifth inning and two in the seventh -- three were using fastballs, two were changeups and one was with a curve.

The changeup, according to S&I, was particularly "devastating," as Lincecum threw 20 of 22 changeups for strikes, which accounted for a 90.9 strike percentage with that pitch, the highest rate in any start over the last three seasons.

Speaking of dominance: the Twins put just 11 balls in play over the entire afternoon against the Giants ace.

And, finally, the Twins swung-and-missed on 24 pitches, which tied for the most whiffers in a start this season.

If you watched the game, you didn't need this information to tell you that the Freak utterly baffled the Twins Thursday (or that, duh, he's a really good pitcher).

But it's pure dominance like this -- and realizing it while it's happening or soon thereafter anyway -- that truly makes him a special talent to enjoy. So, yeah, just another reminder to keep appreciating Tim Lincecum.

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