LincecumTim Lincecum pitched seven scoreless innings while striking out 12 batters as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Minnesota Twins. This marked the fourth time this season that Lincecum struck out at least 10 batters while allowing one earned run or fewer, the most such games in the majors.
According to Elias, it was the fifth time in Lincecum's five-year major-league career that he recorded 12 or more strikeouts in a game in which he did not allow a run. The only other big-league pitchers with more than one such game over the last five seasons are Felix Hernandez, Jake Peavy and Justin Verlander, with two each.
Lincecum was nearly unhittable on Thursday, as the Twins missed on 24 swings, matching the second-most misses against any pitcher in a start this season.
All 12 strikeouts against Lincecum were swinging, tied for the most swinging strikeouts by a pitcher in a start this season. Out of Lincecum's 12 strikeouts, 10 were on pitches the Twins chased out of the strike zone.
When the Twins did make contact, they hit the ball on the ground. Nine of the 11 balls in play against Lincecum were on the ground, and the Twins hit just two balls out of the infield all game (both by Michael Cuddyer).
Lincecum had success keeping the ball down in the zone. Lincecum's 60 pitches down in the zone or below it are his most this month, and he got eight of his strikeouts on those pitches.
His changeup was devastating. He threw 20 of 22 changeups for strikes. Lincecum's 90.9 strike percentage with his changeup is his highest in a start in the last three seasons. The Twins swung at 18 of Lincecum's changeups, missing on 10. All were on pitches down in the zone or below, even though Lincecum threw just 14 low changeups.
Nationals Managerial Change
Elias tells us this is only the second time in modern major-league history (since 1900) that a team has had a mid-season managerial switch with the club having posted a .900 or higher winning percentage over its last ten or more games. The previous instance was by the 2007 Mariners, when Mike Hargrove stepped down on July 1 with Seattle on an eight-game winning streak and having won 10 of its last 11 games.
Hargrove was replaced by his bench coach, who, believe it or not, was John McLaren, the man who will be taking Riggleman's place in Washington (for the interim). McLaren led the Mariners, 45-33 at the time, to a 43-41 record over the remainder of the 2007 season.