Year of the Pitcher, Confirmed

2010 November 1

The 2010 MLB season ended with Tim Lincecum — all 5’11″, 165 pounds of him — being hoisted up by his San Francisco Giants teammates. In a season where Roy Halladay threw both a perfect game and a postseason no-hitter, and where Cliff Lee’s command was quite possibly the best in baseball history, Lincecum was the last pitcher standing. You can’t start a pitching career much better than Big Time Timmy Jim has. In three and a half seasons, Lincecum has won two Cy Youngs, lead the league in strikeouts three straight years, and helped pitch his team to a World Series title. He even beat the formerly-unbeatable Cliff Lee twice in the World Series.

But Lincecum had some help from the rest of the Giants’ historic pitching staff. Along with Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, Madison Bumgarner, and even Barry Zito, the Giants went on an unparalleled run in the last two months of the season. They allowed 2.31 runs per 9 innings. The entire staff. So the bullpen gets some credit, too. But the postseason is where the top four really stepped up. It wasn’t too impressive when they shut down the Braves, but then they shut down the Phillies, and then the Rangers. The Giants rode their horses and managed to get production from the unlikeliest of places. Cody Ross hit two home runs in one game off of Roy Halladay. Edgar Renteria hit two home runs in the World Series. Buster Posey stepped up in every series, making everyone forget who Jason Heyward is.  Hot streaks might not truly have predictive value, but goddamn if the Giants weren’t the hottest team I’ve seen in a long time. Good pitching, timely hitting — that’s the name of the game. You can’t plan for the timely hitting, but the Giants sure planned for the good pitching.

It’s the perfect finale to what was already referred to as The Year of the Pitcher more times than there are atoms in the universe. Maybe there was something to it after all. Or maybe the Yankees are going to come back next year and pummel everyone into oblivion. After making sure to buy Cliff Lee — even if he’s been proven human.

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