Tipping pitches: Patience can be a struggling pitcher's best friend
It seems there may be a budding "Tipping Pitches" curse. Three weeks ago,
This is the worst four-game span (in respect to walks) of Lincecum's career. He's had five walks in four straight starts. He totaled three starts with five or more walks in all of 2008 and '09.
The loss of control has sent Lincecum's once-elite K/BB from 6.40 to a more pedestrian 2.77. His BB/9 currently sits at 3.77, which would be the highest since his rookie year.
Lincecum is pitching in the zone less than ever, as his Zone% (percentage of pitches seen in the zone) is under 50 for the first time in his career. His FS% (first strike percentage) is 51.0, way down from last season's 56.7.
The walks are also taking a toll on his workload. Lincecum averaged 16 pitches an inning through his first seven starts, but that's climbed to 19.23 in his past four. Shorter starts mean fewer opportunities for wins, especially with an offensively inept group like the Giants.
The good news is his K/9 is still a healthy 10.42. And his GB% is 50.0, which is the best of his career. Everything except the BB/9 (plus the resulting K/BB and WHIP) looks fine.
The bad news is that Lincecum's Zone% and FS% show this recent spike in walks is not a result of bad luck. Considering he's also allowing more steals than usual (13 so far this season), it seems concentration has been an issue. With a pitcher as established as Lincecum, still in his early prime, you have to simply wait it out.
As the real Wandy Rodriguez fades toward waiver-wire fodder, with a 1.80 K/BB and 4.24 Fielding Independent Pitching rate (FIP), he shouldn't be starting for fantasy teams right now. A new Astros pitcher has emerged to take his place.
Say hello to Wandy Rodriguez 2.0, a.k.a. Fe
Paulino does have the kind of inconsistency that will drive a fantasy owner batty: May 8 -- seven innings, 11 strikeouts, zero walks, one run; May 14 -- 4.2 innings, four strikeouts, five walks, seven runs. So patience is a must.
Owners in deeper leagues should pay attention and take advantage of this cheap source of strikeouts. At 26-years old, there's some upside. Don't worry too much about his 0-7 record, he's getting just 1.97 runs of support each game.
Even after the rough run, he still is the only pitcher in the majors with a better FIP and K/9 than Jimenez -- which is really saying something this season.
Liriano's 2.42 FIP is even better than his impressive '06 season, while his strikeout and ground ball numbers are comparable.
Here are the pitchers with FIP's under 3.00, with K/9 also listed
It was very clear something was wrong, either mechanically or health-wise, with
He lasted just 5.2 innings, but struck out 14 batters. That's a strikeout for over 82 percent of the outs in the game!
One start doesn't put him back into must-start status (his FIP is still 5.46), but don't wait too long to get him back into your lineups.
Scherzer's K/9 was 10.61 in 2008 and 9.19 in 2009, with a FIP under 4.00 both seasons.
There may be no batted ball line more impressive than
Other batted ball wonders likely to keep low BABIPs:
What's in the air in St. Louis?
Other bests -- fastball: Jimenez (15.8 runs above average); slider:
Statistics are current through June 1.
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