September 28, 2012
Tim Lincecum and the Worst Regular Seasons By Playoff Starters
The table below lists the worst regular-season performances by pitchers who made playoff starts in the wild-card era, ranked by park-adjusted ERA relative to league average (similar to ERA+, but tweaked a bit). League average is 100, twice the league average is 0, and 1.5 times the league average is 50. As you can see, I’ve added one starter (in bold) who isn’t yet in this group, but is probably about to be.
It’s not news to you that Tim Lincecum is having a lousy season—Lincecum leads the NL in earned runs allowed, wild pitches, and losses, three not-very-advanced statistics that still sum his season up nicely. But it might be surprising to learn that by this measure, Lincecum (who has one regular-season start remaining) has had a worse season than any pitcher who’s gotten a playoff start since 1995. Any pitcher, that is, except for Oliver Perez.
Of course, there are at least five reasons why Lincecum is a safer start than Perez (who allowed six runs in 11 2/3 innings in his two NLCS outings):
San Francisco probably should start Lincecum and probably will start Lincecum, unless his mechanics look like even more of a mess in his final tune-up. Still, the Giants can’t be encouraged that their erstwhile ace lies just below Oliver Perez on a leaderboard.
Thanks to Colin Wyers for research assistance.