If you’re looking for a microcosm of the past month for Miami Marlins OF Giancarlo Stanton and San Francisco Giants P Tim Lincecum, look no further than the blast Stanton hit off of Lincecum in Miami’s 7-6 win Friday night.
The home run, a solo shot which came in the fourth inning, traveled 431 feet and was the first ball to hit the home run sculpture at Marlins Park. It was Stanton’s second straight game with a long ball, the third time this month that he has homered in back-to-back games.
Giancarlo Stanton This Season
As Stanton has gone this season, so have the Marlins. When he struggled in the opening month, hitting only one home run, the team sat in last place. In May, however, he has been on a tear. His 10 home runs this month are the most in baseball, and his OPS of 1.120 is almost double what it was in April. Miami, meanwhile, is right in the thick of the NL East.
Then there’s Lincecum. The NL Cy Young Award winner in 2008 and 2009 struggled yet again on Friday, allowing six earned runs and walking four batters in 5 2/3 innings. Lincecum was rolling along until he was rocked for five runs in the sixth, including a three-run bomb at the hands of Chris Coghlan. The defeat drops Linceum’s record this season to 2-5 and raises his ERA to 6.41.
The Marlins were able to get to Lincecum by putting the ball in the air. Of the 17 balls they put in play against him, 13 were hit in the air, the fourth-highest percentage against him since 2009. The Marlins also were able to lay off the righty’s offspeed stuff, swinging at just 31 percent of those pitches. And they had only five swings-and-misses with him on the mound.
The Giants are now 0-5 in Lincecum’s last five starts, only one of which he made it through six innings. Much like Stanton, Lincecum also got off to a rough start in 2012. He started to turn it around at the end of April, but he has hit the skids again in May. He has only one quality start on the year.
While the Giants remain in second place, they will need improved pitching from their ace if they want to keep pace with the Dodgers. On the other hand, if the new-look Marlins continue to get red-hot hitting from Stanton, they could be a factor in the division race in the months ahead.