Tag:Tim Lincecum
Posted on: November 11, 2008 2:30 pm

Correct answer in NL Cy Young? Lincecum

The thing about San Francisco's Tim Lincecum winning the National League Cy Young Award is, there is no wrong answer.

I believe Lincecum, who was dominant in going 18-5 with a 2.62 ERA, is the right answer.

But Arizona's Brandon Webb, who won 22 games?

The New York Mets' Johan Santana, who led the NL with a 2.53 ERA?

Philadelphia closer Brad Lidge, who was perfect in converting 41 saves in 41 chances?

Milwaukee's CC Sabathia, a late entrant who went 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA after joining Milwaukee in early July?

You can make a strong case for each. To me, the only surprise is that Lincecum was a runaway winner, garnering 137 points to Webb's 73. I pegged this one as far closer than it actually turned out.

Whatever the point totals, though, I do think Lincecum is the guy. I did have an NL Cy Young vote this year - the only postseason awards vote I had -- and on my ballot, I listed Lincecum first, Santana second and Webb third.

What separated Lincecum for me was that, in a year in which the award could have gone one of many directions, he was the most dominant. He led the NL with 265 strikeouts, blowing away Santana (206, tied for third) and Webb (183, not in the top 10). He led the NL in opponents batting-average-against (.221). He was tied for second in innings pitched (227; Santana was first at 234 1/3).

Santana was light on the wins total (16), but the combination of the ERA title and the fact that he would have had far more wins had the Mets' bullpen not blown seven save opportunities in games started by Santana leads to a serious legitimacy in Cy consideration.

Webb was the leader for much of the year, and his sinker is the most devastating in the game. But he faded toward year's end: His three-start stretch against the Dodgers (twice) and Padres late in the season in which he was pummeled for 22 hits and 21 runs (19 earned) over only 13 2/3 innings coincided with Arizona surrendering first place in the NL West.


Posted on: September 16, 2008 8:01 pm

Epstein, King Kong of a GM, ready for extension

It's a long way from fleeing Fenway Park in a gorilla suit all those years ago to becoming King of the Red Sox, but Boston general manager Theo Epstein, on the verge of signing a contract extension, is just about there.

Boy Wonder, Boy Genius, The Man ... call him what you want. He's been the architect of two World Series championship rosters in the past four seasons, with the strong possibility this year of making it three titles in five years.

Based on Boston's woeful October history before that, you'd think owner John Henry and Co. would be signing Epstein, who has made a series of brilliant moves again this year, to a lifetime contract any day now.

The contract part is about to come through, though maybe not quite a lifetime deal.


"I got a little ahead of where we are today in comments over what have been refreshingly private negotiations," Henry e-mailed in response to inquiries after he had e-mailed Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy earlier in the day that a deal essentially was done. "We are not done, but we expect to have an announcement in the near future.

"I have asked all involved not to comment until this is finalized."

So an impending extension for Epstein has turned from a poorly kept secret to a very poorly kept secret.

"I can't imagine being here without Theo," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "It should get done. I'm excited it's getting to that point.

"I'd love to say it's a done deal. I'd love to talk about it for awhile."

Francona said it "seems like" Epstein has met just about every goal he spoke of since he became the Red Sox GM in November, 2002 (pre-dating the manager's arrival by more than a year. Francona was hired before the 2004 season, during the fallout from the ill-fated Grady Little decision with Pedro Martinez in Game 7 of the '03 ALCS).

The working relationship between Epstein and Francona has been one of many key pieces that has allowed the Red Sox to thrive more often than not over the past five seasons.

"When things get going real tough, it's nice to know he's there," Francona said. "When we're up against it, I know one guy I can go to and talk to, and I appreciate that."

Likes: Boston at Tampa Bay, a real, honest-to-goodness meaningful series in September. ... Boston's farm system. Dustin Pedroia and Jed Lowrie up the middle are outstanding. ... Direct TV on airlines. I had connected in Atlanta on Monday and was headed toward Florida when I clicked on the television on the seatback in front of me and read the crawl on the screen that said Milwaukee had fired Ned Yost. Nothing like being plugged in all the time, even at 30,000 feet. ... San Francisco when Tim Lincecum is pitching. ... Evan Longoria, back in the Tampa Bay lineup. ... Satellite radio in the rental car. ... Another fine story featuring Detective Dave Robicheaux in Swan Peak, the latest by James Lee Burke. The guy writes descriptively as well as anyone you'll read today. ... Read great things on the new disc by The Hold Steady. Can't wait to pick it up and hear it.

Dislikes: The Mets, Brewers, Diamondbacks, White Sox and Twins losing more often than not these days. Stretch runs are a whole lot more fun when everybody is winning, rather than working on backing into playoff spots. ... The middle seat on airplanes, especially on coast-to-coast flights. ... My iPod landing on the disabled list over the weekend. Not only was I crushed in a middle seat, I didn't even have tunes to get me through!

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"There oughta be a law with no bail
"Smash a guitar and you go to jail
"With no chance for early parole
"You don't get out until you get some soul"

-- John Hiatt, Perfectly Good Guitar

Posted on: July 1, 2008 1:38 am

What if Brandon Morrow was a starter?

From his perch in the Seattle Mariners' bullpen, where he is chief set-up man to closer J.J. Putz, Brandon Morrow can't help but keep an eye on his old college rival.

He isn't alone. San Francisco's Tim Lincecum is tearing it up at 9-1 with a 2.38 ERA (second in the National League) and an NL-leading 114 strikeouts.

They pitched against each other in college, sort of, Lincecum starring for the University of Washington and Morrow for Pac-10 rival University of California.

"They were rained out or something right before we played them, and they jumbled their rotation and he didn't pitch that Friday," says Morrow, who did.

He wasn't exactly disappointed at the time -- "Gave us a better chance to win," he says -- and the two would run into each other across the country in the Cape Cod League as well.

Morrow was Seattle's first-round pick in the 2006 draft, fifth overall. The Giants chose Lincecum 10th overall in '06.

Morrow made the majors to stay in '07, ahead of Seattle's schedule, because the Mariners had a need in their bullpen. He was good as a set-up man last summer, going 3-4 with a 4.12 ERA over 60 appearances, but as Lincecum deals, he can't help but wonder what life might be like back in the rotation.

"I was always a starter," Morrow says. "You can't put enough importance on a quality start. If you don't get a good start, the relievers don't matter."

Until the Mariners traded for Erik Bedard and signed Carlos Silva as a free agent last winter, the club intended to slot Morrow in the rotation this season. He even made seven starts in the Venezuelan Winter League, working on building his endurance so he could pitch more innings.

"I was slightly disappointed I went through all that" and then was pushed back to the bullpen, Morrow says. "But anytime you're in the big leagues, you can't complain."

Meanwhile, several hundred miles south of Morrow, Lincecum's All-Star season continues for San Francisco.

"He's been throwing the hell out of the ball all year," says Morrow, who's seen it before.

Likes: Tampa Bay and Boston this week in a meaningful series. What fun. ... Roy Halladay, and six complete games. He would have fit in very well alongside Mickey Lolich,  Gaylord Perry, Catfish Hunter and Bert Blyleven. ... Safeco Field. Still beautiful after all these years. ... The way they arrange the AL flags in order of standing at Safeco. And yes, what an odd thing to see the Rays flag flying ahead of Boston's and the Yankees'. ... Seattle's "Countdown to Cooperstown" -- it's at 27 days -- in anticipation of legendary broadcaster Dave Niehaus' impending induction into the broadcasters' wing. ... Tim Lincecum pitching, any night. ... ... Ferndale, Wash., from Sandy Point to Barlean's Fishery.

Dislikes: Racial threats against Boston Red Sox players? What is this, 1859? Sad to say, that kind of backwater thinking continues to exist. Look at the Democratic primaries this year, where a stunning number of voters in West Virginia and Kentucky admitted in exit polls that race factored into the way they voted.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Racism lives in the U.S. today
"Better get hip to what Martin Luther King had to say
"I don't want my kids being brought up this way
"Hatred to each other is not okay
"Well, I'm not a preacher just a singer son
"But I can see more work to be done
"It's what you do and not what you say
"If you're not part of the future then get out of the way"

-- John Mellencamp, Peaceful World

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com