Those are all six of Paul Goldschmidt’s home runs against Tim Lincecum. The last one occurred yesterday, and the first one is in fact the first home run of Goldschmidt’s career. According to ESPN’s Home Run Tracker, the six home runs have had true distances of 433, 428, 419, 380, 358 and 416 feet. The average distance is therefore 405 feet, which is demonstrative. As if the home runs weren’t enough, Goldschmidt bats over .500 against Lincecum. Dude probably isn’t guessing when he stands up at the plate.
Before that fateful first home run on August 2, 2011, Lincecum had made 144 major league starts. His won-loss record was 65-35; his ERA was exactly 3.00. Since then, Lincecum is 24-35 with a 4.42 ERA in 76 starts. Goldschmidt might be the worst thing to happen to Lincecum’s career; not, as I previously suspected, Lincecum’s sudden break-up with tacos.
The above .gif is mesmerizing and painful. I remember watching the first home run live, when Goldschmidt was a much-ballyhooed rookie call-up. When he did it again a month later, I was confident this guy was for real, my reasoning being that if he could hit for power off Lincecum he could do it to anybody. Here my hometown Giants had a one-of-a-kind-talent, and their division rivals calls forth his kryptonite. It was exciting, and I looked forward to all their future matchups, expecting, as was natural at the time, one virtuoso versus another. Back then who could have predicted Tim Lincecum’s sudden and serious decline? And who is not disappointed by it now, except perhaps for bitter fans of rival teams? To be honest, I’m not sure if they’ll like this website anyway.
So when we see a diminished Tim, we remember the past and promises unfulfilled. It’s pretty dreary stuff, but probably fine in moderation. And it isn’t all bad; he may yet contribute to a playoff team. However the experience of watching Lincecum today is nothing compared to the exhilaration of seeing him at the peak of his powers, his stuff electric and his mojo contagious. Goldschmidt is at that point of his career right now, and although I root for the Giants, I for one can’t wait to see where it goes.