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Fantasy Baseball Today

So ... are we buying into Tim Lincecum yet?

By Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer

Don't freak out over The Freak just yet. (USATSI)
Don't freak out over The Freak just yet. (USATSI)

I'll admit it's encouraging. Allowing just one earned run during a four-start span, with three of those starts lasting seven innings or more? I didn't think Tim Lincecum was even capable of something like that anymore.

Yeah, two of those starts were against the Padres and one was against a Diamondbacks lineup with problems of its own, but I don't want to harp on that. Maybe every once in a while, the stars will align for a bad pitcher with a good matchup, but for it to happen four starts in a row, that pitcher must be doing something right.

The question is what? It's not like Lincecum's stuff has changed, and his pitch selection is the same as it always was. His control has steadily improved over the course of the season, but he still issued four walks just two starts ago. I know he's trying to reinvent himself now that he can't throw 95 mph anymore, emphasizing location over power, but that's been going on for three years. Why should we think it all of a sudden took? Because he threw a no-hitter? Well, he threw one of those last year, too, against those same Padres.

You know what else he did last year? Went seven innings or more in three consecutive starts just after the All-Star break, allowing a combined three earned runs with 23 strikeouts to just four walks. He had a 4.85 ERA in nine starts thereafter.

In other words, he's done something like this before, and it ultimately meant nothing. So while none of us know what's yet to come, we shouldn't assume the best for Lincecum.

It'd be one thing if we were just talking about picking him up. In fact, I'd probably be leading the charge. I'm all for taking a chance on the upside and riding the wave of perception, which is why I've given Lincecum a significant bump in the rankings. But he's already 94 percent owned. Most likely, you're not getting him unless you trade for him.

And chances are his owner, if he knows what he's doing, will have a selective memory if you approach him about Lincecum. Maybe you should just wait and see how things play out.

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