Twice is nice: Comparing Lincecum's two no-hitters
JUN 25, 2014 8:15p ET
With his 170 pounds-when-soaking-wet frame and ever-changing, courageous choices of facial hair, Lincecum's career is permanently carved into the hearts of Giants fandom.
It was another dominating performance, just as last July 13. Here's a comparison of the two masterpieces:
• Going into last year's no-no, Lincecum was more or less treading water and trying his hardest to resemble the Giants pitcher who had won back-to-back Cy Young Awards in 2008 and '09. His record this time around was better (5-5 compared to 4-9 last year), but his ERA entering Wednesday's game was 4.90 compared to 4.61 some 11 months ago. His 2.55 K/BB last year was also much more encouraging than this season's 2.2 K/BB.
Real Q&D (assuming current AVGs, 1 BB). Odds of no-hitting this Padres lineup: 797-1. Odds of no-hitting Tuesdayâs Tigers: 11678-1.— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) June 25, 2014
• In 2013, the Padres' bats were merely mediocre, finishing 23rd in the majors with a .245 average and tied for 17th in OPS+ (96). Entering Wednesday, San Diego boasted a moribund offense that had been downright ugly. The Padres entered Wednesday's game last in both categories with a .216 average and an OPS+ of 77. Plus, they were last in slugging percentage at .340. Given the stats, Lincecum's odds looked pretty good going into this afternoon's matchup.
With Wednesday's 0-for-27 performance, the Padres' team average dropped a whole three points to .213.
• Another key for Lincecum on Wednesday was that the Padres returned six of eight position players in their starting lineup from the right-hander's first no-no: Everth Cabrera, Will Venable, Chase Headley, Rene Rivera, Alexi Amarista, and Carlos Quentin. The first time out, the sextet went 0 for 17, accounting for 63 percent of the Padres' outs. This time around? Another 0 for 17.
At least they forced Lincecum into throwing four walks in last year's game. This time, only Headley could induce a free pass — in the second-inning.
• Lincecum tossed 148 pitches last year to get his no-hitter with 96 of those strikes. He was more efficient on Wednesday, throwing 73 strikes in 113 total pitches. Although, last year's Game Score — a stat developed by Bill James — was a whopping 96, thanks mostly to his 13 K's. This time, Lincecum's six strikeouts helped translate to an only slightly more pedestrian 92 Game Score.
• But no matter how bad the Padres' offense is, it's still a lineup full of major-league ballplayers, so Lincecum had to mix speeds and keep hitters guessing, regardless of other considerations. The Freak, once again, did so to near-perfection.
Last year's speed by pitch:
And here's this year's:
• Last year's no-no was a dominating marvel with twists that kept us guessing to the end:
• This year's version was more cool and collected, the outcome never truly in doubt: