On Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Giants starter Tim Lincecum tossed seven shutout innings, lowering his ERA on the season to 2.08. It appears that Lincecum has experienced a resurgence to his former Cy Young-caliber self. However, if you look a little deeper, you'll see that all is likely not as it seems.
Let's take a look at Lincecum's numbers and see if his strong start has come from real improvement or luck. Strikeouts and walks are typically a good indication of whether or not a pitcher's improvement is real and likely to continue. His 6.8 K/9 is a career low, his 3.97 BB/9 is the second highest of his career, and his 1.71 K/BB is the worst of his career. Not good news for Lincecum fans there, but let's keep looking. Maybe his performance on batted balls will tell a different story. His BABIP against of .269 is a career low and is much better than his career BABIP against of .295. His HR/FB is a minuscule 2.4%, the lowest of his career and way better than his career number of 9.3%. Not good news there either, but maybe some of that is due to him allowing less hard contact than at other points in his career. Alas, that doesn't look like the case either. He has allowed hard contact 33.3% of the time this season, the highest number since his rookie season in 2007. More bad news for Lincecum is that his LOB% of 81.6 is a career high and a significant improvement from his career LOB% of 73.6.
Put all of those numbers together, and Lincecum has an xFIP of 4.19 and a SIERA of 4.41. These are both the worst figures of Lincecum's career and are probably much closer to what we should be expecting from him for the rest of the season. How did the rest of the NL West fare this week?
Arizona Diamondbacks (18-21, 6 GB)
The week that was: It was a tale of two series' for the Diamondbacks this week. They were swept in three games on the road against the Philadelphia Phillies before taking the first three out of four in Miami against the Marlins.
Disabled list: RHP Bronson Arroyo (60-day, Tommy John surgery), LHP Patrick Corbin (60-day, Tommy John surgery), RHP David Hernandez (15-day, Tommy John surgery), C Oscar Hernandez (15-day, hand), C Gerald Laird (60-day, back), 3B Jake Lamb (15-day, foot), RHP Matthew Stites (15-day, arm soreness)
Player of the week: Yasmany Tomas
The rookie third baseman had an outstanding week for Arizona, slashing .500/.522/.727 in 23 PA. He had two doubles, a home run, and a 243 wRC+.
Colorado Rockies (14-23, 9 GB)
The week that was: The Rockies finally got a few wins this week, splitting four in Dodger Stadium and losing two out of the first three in a four game series at home against the Phillies.
Upcoming schedule: They'll finish up their series against the Phillies, host the San Francisco Giants for four, then head out on the road for three with the Cincinnati Reds.
Disabled list: RHP Brooks Brown (15-day, shoulder), RHP Tyler Chatwood (60-day, Tommy John surgery). IF Charlie Culberson (60-day, lumbar disc), OF Corey Dickerson (15-day, plantar fasciitis), RHP LaTroy Hawkins (15-day, biceps), 1B Justin Morneau (7-day, concussion), RHP Adam Ottavino (60-day, Tommy John surgery)
Player of the week: Jorge De La Rosa
De La Rosa was outstanding in his only start this week. He threw 7⅓ shutout innings while allowing just two hits and no walks in a win over the Dodgers.
Los Angeles Dodgers (24-15, 0 GB)
The week that was: The Dodgers struggled a bit this week. They split four with the Rockies and have lost the first two out of three against the Giants. They have scored just two runs in their last four games combined.
Disabled list: RHP Pedro Baez (15-day, pectoral strain), RHP Brandon Beachy (60-day, Tommy John surgery), OF Carl Crawford (15-day, oblique), RHP Brandon League (60-day, shoulder), RHP Brandon McCarthy (60-day, Tommy John surgery), RHP Joel Peralta (15-day, arm), OF Yasiel Puig (15-day, hamstring), LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (60-day, shoulder), RHP Chris Withrow (60-day, Tommy John surgery)
Player of the week: Jimmy Rollins
It's been a slow start for the veteran Rollins, but he finally showed signs of life this week, slashing .292/.370/.542 with three doubles and a home run across 27 PA, a 153 wRC+. He's got his wRC+ for the season up to a better, but still not great, 73.
San Diego Padres (20-21, 5 GB)
The week that was: In six home games, San Diego lost three out of four against the Washington Nationals and split the first two in a three game series with the Cubs.
Upcoming schedule: The Padres finish up their series with the Cubs, then head to Los Angeles for three games apiece against the Dodgers and Angels.
Disabled list: 1B Yonder Alonso (15-day, shoulder), C Tim Federowicz (60-day, back), RHP Josh Johnson (15-day, Tommy John surgery), LHP Cory Luebke (60-day, Tommy John surgery), RHP Brandon Morrow (15-day, shoulder), OF Wil Myers (15-day, wrist) OF Melvin Upton (15-day, foot)
Player of the week: Justin Upton
Upton continues to be the team's best hitter with a slash line of .333/.391/.762 in 23 PA. He hit three home runs, scored seven times, and drove in five. His 151 wRC+ on the season is the best on the club.
San Francisco Giants (22-18, 2½ GB)
The week that was: After losing their first game of the week in Cincinnati, the Giants have rattled off five wins in a row. Three came against the Reds before two more against the Dodgers.
Upcoming schedule: San Francisco finishes up their series with the Dodgers on Thursday afternoon, travels to Coors Field for four with the Rockies, then finish up their seven-game road trip in Milwaukee against the Brewers.
Disabled list: RHP Matt Cain (15-day, flexor tendon), 1B Travis Ishikawa (15-day, back), RHP Jake Peavy (15-day, back)
Player of the week: Brandon Belt
Belt was an absolute menace for opposing pitchers this week. He slashed .429/.478/.952 in 23 PA, a 292 wRC+. Belt had two doubles, three home runs, nine runs scored, and seven RBI.