Tim Lincecum Records 50th Career Win After Shutting Out Mets

↵Is it just me, or does Tim Lincecum still seem like a doe-eyed phenom? The guy is a great pitcher, but it's hard to remember that he's already 26 years old and in the middle of his fourth season in the majors. Perhaps his slight frame, moppy hair and "whatever, dude" early-20s demeanor make him seem younger than he actually is. ↵

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↵Lincecum was named to the All-Star team, but wasn't asked to pitch in the NL's streak-breaking 3-1 victory earlier this week. It's probably better off for the Giants, who obviously will have to lean on their ace if they expect to pass the three teams ahead of them in the NL West. Despite being just 3.5 games out of first place, the Giants do find themselves near the bottom of their own division. From the San Francisco Chronicle: ↵

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↵⇥If Tim Lincecum was sore about not pitching in the All-Star Game, he should know that 38,416 fans at AT&T Park were thrilled that the inning he did not throw in Anaheim allowed him to dominate the nine he pitched against the Mets in Thursday night's second-half opener. ↵⇥

↵⇥In a 2-0 victory, the Giants' seventh in their last eight games, Lincecum was at his Franchise best. He fired his first complete game of the season and his first shutout in more than a year to earn his 50th career victory. He also singled to start the eighth-inning rally that yielded an insurance run. ↵⇥

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↵⇥"That was one of his best games, and he's thrown some great ones," said manager Bruce Bochy. ↵⇥

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↵The two-time reigning Cy Young Award winner has been good this season, but not quite at the Cy Young level of 2008 and 2009. Heading into Thursday's game, his ERA was 3.16, which is still spectacular, but more than half a run higher than either of his last two seasons. His ERA+ – taking into account a player's ballpark (100 is average and the higher the number the better) – was 136 heading into last night, compared to 169 in 2008 and 177 in 2009. His strikeouts have been consistent, but his hits-per-nine-innings is up and his walks-per-nine is a full walk higher than 2009. Again, Lincecum clearly put up All-Star numbers in the first half – it's worth noting the slight righty leads the league in strikeouts – but they hadn't been Cy Young numbers just yet. ↵

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↵It's amazing to think that as good as Lincecum has been in his short time in the bigs, his complete-game win over the Mets gets him just 1/6th of the way to 300 wins. Lincecum got to 50 wins in just 109 games and 108 starts (though one win did come in his lone relief appearance). By comparison, Doc Gooden got to his 50th win in just 79 games. Lincecum's teammate Barry Zito got his first 50 wins in just 88 games. Dontrelle Willis, for what it's worth, got his 50th in 108 games. ↵

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↵For now, the Giants certainly hope Lincecum can continue to pitch like he did last night, and maybe even snag another 10 or so wins out of his remaining 14-15 starts. With 43 of their remaining 73 games contested in the division, the Giants will need some more wins from their ace down the stretch. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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