Liotta: Lincecum pitching himself into Cy Young debate

Enough about Tim Lincecum’s mechanics. It’s time to start figuring out what it would take for him to win the NL Cy Young Award. He’s been that good on a team that bad.

Of course, Arizona’s Brandon Webb, the 2007 winner, is the man to beat, but its not out of the question for Lincecum. A sparkling seven weeks could make him a genuine contender.

When Lincecum won his 12th game this season Wednesday, he improved his record to 12-3 on a team that otherwise was 36-63. On the same day, Webb was 16-4 on a team that was 43-51 in other games. It’s debatable which is more impressive.

In the stat department, Lincecum has the edge over Webb in ERA and strikeouts — and when he stepped off the mound Wednesday, no other NL pitcher had more wins — so if Lincecum can maintain his effectiveness, the race won’t be over until late September.

For me, all the talk about mechanics takes away from how easy Lincecum makes pitching in the majors look. He uses his lower body to perfection. He comes over the top like it was effortless. Sometimes baseball men think too much, and they think too much about this young man’s mechanics.

There are plenty of major-league pitchers who look like they’re putting more effort than Lincecum into their pitches. It’s as if the sport refuses to believe a pitcher who weighs 170 pounds and looks like he could pass for a teenager can throw a baseball 95 mph.

Because nine other teams had their doubts, Lincecum dropped to the Giants during the draft. The Giants even considered trading him prior to this season because they had their doubts.

There shouldn’t be any doubts about Lincecum any more.

Random thoughts

  • What in the world has happened to Jonathan Sanchez? Four weeks ago he looked like a surefire keeper. Now he looks like a question mark with a capital Q.
  • Slowly, almost imperceptibly, Fred Lewis is changing my opinion of him. Until recently, I was sure he’d go the way of Jason Ellison and Tony Torcato. Much to my surprise, Lewis continues to give off clues that he may actually stick as a major-leaguer and be a part of the Giants’ long-range plans. If Ivan Ochoa, Emmanuel Burriss or Eugenio Velez could do the same, 2008 would actually be a positive in terms of the team rebuilding.
  • A tip of the cap to a pair of former Bay Area sports personalities — Mike McCarthy, former 49ers offensive coordinator and now head coach of the Green Bay Packers, and Aaron Rodgers, former Cal quarterback and now Packers starting quarterback. I don’t think anybody could have handled their end of the Brett Favre melodrama any better than McCarthy and Rodgers. Here’s hoping they win 14 games, and douse the Favre worshipping for good.

Tim Liotta is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to The Examiner. E-mail him at tliotta@sfexaminer.com.

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