Tim Lincecum’s resurgence continued Thursday, as the two-time Cy Young Award winner limited the Brewers to one hit over eight scoreless innings and struck out eight in a victory.
Lincecum was shelled for eight runs in the start after his 148-pitch no-hitter last month, but he’s allowed just three runs in 22 innings since. In his last six outings, he’s turned in five quality starts and amassed a 47/10 K/BB ratio in 41 2/3 innings.
That stretch has lowered Lincecum’s ERA from 4.66 to 4.18. The thinking was a couple of weeks ago that the Giants didn’t need to deal Lincecum before the trade deadline because he’d clear waivers and could still be part of an August deal. That now seems highly unlikely; Lincecum is a free agent at season’s end, so money isn’t a huge issue.
On the plus side for the Giants, as long as Lincecum finishes strong, there won’t be any reason to be nervous about making him a qualifying offer and at least securing a draft pick if he bolts. The Giants could still trade Lincecum to the team with the worst record that claims him — the Nationals would seem to be the most likely option there or maybe the Diamondbacks if the Nats pass — but he’ll most likely finish the season in San Francisco.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.