San Francisco Giants 6, New York Mets 1 (Game 1): Tim Lincecum pitches better … ish

BOX SCORE

A look at the box score Monday in New Yokr may give the appearance that everything is right with Tim Lincecum.

The Freak gave up one run on five hits and struck out eight. Sounds good, right?

Well……….

He also walked five and labored to get through five innings, throwing 108 pitchers (60 for strikes).

So instead of being wild in the zone (as he has been in his first three starts), Lincecum was wild out of the zone. When he got ahead 0-2, instead of giving up 0-2 hits, he threw balls that we’re easily out of strike zone — easy takes, as Mike Krukow put it.

And he did this even after the Giants had given him a 5-1 lead or 6-1 lead.

If you’re up five runs, with no one on base, throw strikes.

It seemed, at times, that even when Lincecume wasn’t to throw strikes, he could not.

He threw no fewer than 17 pitches in any of his innings, throwing between 22-28 pitches in the second through fourth innings.

He loaded the bases in the fifth on two walks and a single, but got out of it when Emmanuel Burriss bailed him out by turning a nice double play on Lincecum’s 108th pitch.

Lincecum came into this season trying to focus on throwing more strikes and avoiding walks. He walked 86 batters last season, second most in the National League.

Coming into Monday’s game, he had walked only four. He walked five on Monday. So the approach may have changed some.

But he still needs to find command of his fastball.

Like we mentioned before, the Mets are not raking the ball right now, so it was a favorable matchup for Lincecum to work out his kinks.

He’ll get another favorable matchup in his next start, at home Saturday against the NL-worst hitting Padres.

But then after that, it’s at home against the Brewers on May 4 and at the Dodgers on May 9.

So the Freak needs to get this thing ironed out soon.

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