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.
Mariners starter Félix Hernández will come off of the disabled list to make his final start of 2018 on Wednesday against the Athletics, MLB.com’s Greg Johns reports. Hernández has been on the disabled list since September 8 with a right hamstring strain.
Hernández, 32, has endured the worst season of his 14-year career. He’s 8-13 with a 5.46 ERA and a 121/57 K/BB ratio over 151 2/3 innings. Hernández wants the opportunity to finish 2018 on a good note. He said, “I feel good. No problems. It’s 100 percent. I just want to finish strong and show them I can still pitch. It wasn’t a big injury. They just wanted to give me some rest.”
Hernández is under contract for one more year at $27 million. He has been the face of the franchise for the last decade, but if he doesn’t show he’s capable of beating major league hitters by the end of spring training next year, the Mariners may not be able to afford to give him a spot in the starting rotation. Despite a second-half slide, the Mariners were competitive in the AL West this year, entering the All-Star break 58-39, five games out of first place. With some roster fine-tuning, the Mariners could give the Astros and Athletics a run for their money. Hernández’s involvement with that effort remains to be seen.