Tim Lincecum returns to form with 12 strikeouts against Twins

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Tim Lincecum entered Thursday 0-2 with a 7.59 ERA in four starts this month, but one never would have guessed it from his showing against the Twins.  He pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and striking out 12, before exiting a 1-0 game.

Lincecum started this season showing better velocity than he had either of the previous two years, but with his mechanics a bit out whack, he has lost something off his fastball over the last several weeks.  That was a secondary issue, though; the bigger problem was his struggles with his command.  He walked 12 in 15 innings over his previous three starts.

In this one, Lincecum walked two and threw 72 of his 109 pitches for strikes.  He certainly wasn’t facing the best of lineups; the Twins’ four-best hitters (Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Jim Thome and Jason Kubel) were all absent, as was center fielder Denard Span.  Still, with the way Lincecum was throwing today, there wasn’t a team in the league that would have fared a whole lot better.  It was a very encouraging performance for the two-time Cy Young Award winner.

Jose Reyes is hitless in 20 plate appearances to start the season

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Mets backup infielder Jose Reyes pinch-hit and popped up in the top of the eighth inning of Thursday night’s game in Atlanta against the Braves. That ran his streak up to 20 consecutive hitless plate appearances to start the 2018 season. He has reached base once, however, on a walk, so there’s that.

Reyes, 34, signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Mets near the end of January. At the time, the Mets hadn’t yet signed Todd Frazier, so Reyes was in the mix to contribute as a utilityman but he has operated as a bat off the bench for the most part this season.

One wonders how much longer the Mets are going to let Reyes flounder. According to FanGraphs, he has already been worth a half-win less than a replacement-level player. Only eight other players have been as bad or worse this season.