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.
As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.
Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.
Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.
The Kansas City Royals have signed starter Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension.
Duffy was arbitration eligible this offseason and would’ve been a free agent next winter if he hadn’t signed the deal. Given his stuff he might’ve made a mint as a free agent, but he’s also been inconsistent at times and any pitcher is an injury away from losing a payday, making this a nice, lucrative bet for the lefty.
Duffy, 28, posted a 3.51 ERA and a 188/42 K/BB ratio across 179.2 innings in 2016.