Lincecum Is 8th Pitcher With 1K K's in 5 Years

On Monday we highlighted the fact that Tim Lincecum was just a few strikeouts away from crossing an important milestone and becoming just the eighth pitcher in MLB history with 1,000 strikeouts in his first five seasons.

He reached that milestone easily on Monday night, passing 1K K's for his career when he struck out Jerry Hairston to end the second inning in a game the Giants eventually won in extra innings.

As he walked off, head down, Lincecum was given a tremendous standing ovation.

"That part of it was great," he said, per Rick Eymer of "It was awesome and incredibly loud. I had my head down because I was thinking about the home run [I gave up to Michael Morse in the inning]."

For his part, manager Bruce Bochy remained amazed at his young ace's achievements.

"It's a milestone," Bochy said. "It's hard to believe he's got 1,000 strikeouts already. He's still too young."

As did veteran shortstop Miguel Tejada, who faced Lincecum more than once during before coming to San Francisco in 2011.

"I'm one of his victims," Miggy said. "He's struck me out more than a few times. That's pretty impressive to achieve a number like that in so little time."

Perhaps the most interesting input, though, comes from Nolan Ryan, a Hall-of-Fame and baseball's all-time strikeout leader. (Who, by the way, is NOT one of the eight people to whiff 1,000 batters in five years.)

"That's a reflection of how durable he is and that he is a strikeout-type of pitcher," Ryan said. "I have been impressed with him. He has been consistent and maintained his stuff. A lot of people had questions about his durability and unorthodox delivery, but he has been one of the premier pitchers in the league."

But what about the prospect of Lincecum walking down Ryan's record 5,714 strikeouts? Is that even a remote possibility and/or something the Rangers' front-office man worries about?

"Let's re-assess that after he gets his 20 years in," Ryan said.

Ryan's answer might sound dismissive, but he's correct -- look no further than Kerry Wood, a member of the 1,000 K club, who hasn't made it to 2,000.

That's not to say that Wood's a cautionary tale for Lincecum (really, he's a cautionary tale for any pitcher), because if there's anything we've learned about The Freak in his career, it's that betting against him is a fool's errand.

It's more to state the obvious, which is that 20 years is a whole lot longer than five. And it's yet another reminder that it's absolutely crucial to keep remembering how lucky we are to get to watch Lincecum pitch every fifth day.

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