So you can imagine Giants fans cringing as they watched the first inning unfold in Tuesday's All-Star game. Reigning Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum was wild. Ichiro, the first batter he faced, ripped a single. He plunked the next batter, Derek Jeter, on the hand. Things were unraveling in a hurry. By the time Lincecum got out of the inning, he had given up two runs (one earned, thanks to an Albert Pujols error) and looked nothing like the ace the Bay Area knows.
Uh oh. Did that inning just ruin the psyche of arguably the best pitcher in baseball? Hardly. Chalk it up to your first All-Star game nerves. "I'll be honest with you, I was feeling a lot of nerves out there," Lincecum said after the game. "That's just the way it goes," he added. "You have to understand that -- all of the hits aren't always line drives, they aren't always home runs. Balls were just hit in the right spot and you have to roll with it and move on..."
Sounds like Giants fans can exhale, and look forward to next time the right hander takes the mound. Besides, Lincecum is healthy, which wasn't the case for Atlee.
Hammaker was battling a shoulder injury heading into that '83 All-Star game. An injury that forced him to miss almost all of the following season. But don't let the facts get in the way of a good story.