When they say "spring training means nothing," exhibit A might be Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum.
It happened again on Wednesday. Lincecums line: five earned runs in two innings pitched. Most Giants fans are pretty used to this, but there seems to always be consternation when Timmy pitches poorly. I decided to take a look at the numbers -- game by game -- from his spring history to see if there are any trends or carryover. Turns out, not many trends and pretty much zero carryover.
Lincecum's spring fever started with his very first spring appearance in 2007. Three earned runs in two innings pitched against Milwaukee. It has continued every spring.
Eight times, including Wednesday, he has had at least as many earned runs as innings pitched in a spring appearance.
Home or away doesnt matter; he has stunk both places. Early or later in spring training; he's had some stinkers in both time periods. Early or later in his career, age hasnt affected his up-and-down starts. There isn't one year he has sailed through spring training; the best he fared was 2009 when he posted a 4.03 ERA (though that was also the year of his lowest season ERA, 2.48). His career spring ERA is 5.25.
I did find one correlation. Maybe he doesnt like pitching in Arizona as much as other places. His ERA of 4.13 at Chase Field is the highest at any stadium where hes made more than two starts, including Coors Field. Even with that, he has a 3-2 record at Chase.
Those are some of the bad numbers, so how about the good? He actually has a 6-2 career spring record in 26 appearances, with 94 strikeouts in 85.2 innings, so it hasnt been all bad.
So what do all these numbers mean? As I stated at the beginning, absolutely nothing. Indeed, Lincecums career regular season ERA in March and April is 2.26, his lowest of any month.
If there are any Giants fans who are still worried after years of watching Lincecum's ERA balloon every spring...dont.
Lee Siegel is the Assistant News Director at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.