Can the Giants' Tim Lincecum become a top pitcher again?

Leading Off: Will the real Timmy please step forward?

Published: Tuesday, Jul. 16, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Tuesday, Jul. 16, 2013 - 6:44 am

So much for all that speculation about moving Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum to the bullpen.

Lincecum put an end to that talk – at least for this season – with his dramatic no-hitter against the San Diego Padres in Saturday's 9-0 victory, the high point of the Giants' disappointing first half of the season.

Since last October, when Lincecum came through for the Giants in relief during the playoffs and World Series, plenty of folks have advocated a shift to the bullpen. And with Lincecum's continued struggles – he hasn't had a winning record since 2010 – it seemed to make sense.

On Saturday, though, Lincecum looked like the Timmy of old – baffling hitters en route to 13 strikeouts – but even better. He hadn't taken a no-hitter beyond the seventh inning in his 206 previous major-league starts.

Lincecum looked just as sharp in the ninth inning on his 148th pitch as he did in the early innings. No way would Bruce Bochy, or any other manager, consider pulling him while the no-hitter was alive, despite modern baseball's facination with pitch counts.

Though Lincecum, 29, is 5-9 this season with a 4.26 ERA, his ERA is 3.16 in his last eight starts, not much higher than his 2.98 mark after his first five seasons.

So has the two-time Cy Young Award winner revived his career?

He'll have about 13 starts in the second half of the season to answer that question.

What to watch

Baseball, All-Star Game, 5 p.m., FOX40: The Giants' Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey, Marco Scutaro and Sergio Romo are on the National League roster. Grant Balfour and Bartolo Colon are the only A's for the American League side, though Colon will be inactive after pitching Sunday.

Today's poll

Can the Giants' Tim Lincecum become a top pitcher again?

• Yes

• No

Vote above or leave your comments in the comments field; or go to www.sacbee.com/sports

Monday's results

Should the Kings change their logo and colors?

• Yes: 58%

• No: 42%

Total votes: 768

Call The Bee's Tom Couzens, (916) 321-1097. Follow him on Twitter @tomcouzens.

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