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Rough Starts - Tim Lincecum vs Josh Beckett vs Roy Halladay

How the mighty have fallen. In the past, these three pitchers have shown that they have Cy Young caliber talent. Josh Beckett has the fewest credentials of any of these workhorses, but that still includes a 2nd place Cy Young finish and plenty of other accolades. Many fantasy owners invested in these SP hoping that they could rekindle some of that past magic and harness it into fantasy gold. Let’s look at how each fared in their first outing and what to expect in the short and long term.

Josh Beckett: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 4 K, 5 R, 3 ER, 2 HR

Of these three pitchers, I have the most faith in Beckett. He threw first strikes to 17/24 batters and seemed to be able to locate all of his pitches. The problem with Beckett is mental. He seems to be in a zone, throwing with ease, and then he has a mental lapse and gives up a HR. Both the Sandoval and Pence HRs were pitches left up in the zone that were crushed. He didn’t finish either pitch and served it on a platter. I have confidence in Beckett in his next start against San Diego. I also am confident in his long-term projection and would hold onto him.

Tim Lincecum: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 7 BB, 4 K, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 HR

The Freak gave up 0 ER runs! He is back. Well, Buster Posey’s error at first helped enable the 0.00 ERA, but things were not great for Lincecum. Notice the 7 BB. These were not pretty. Lincecum managed first pitch strikes to only 12/26 batters. On top of that, his fastball was sitting right around 88-89 and seemed lucky to hit 90. It seemed he kept trying to overthrow his fastball and this was causing his mechanics to be even worse than what they already were. He could not locate his FB for most of the game. His slider seemed to be his best pitch, at times showing sharp break and pinpoint accuracy. But at other times, he also seemed to overthrow it and was bouncing the ball in the dirt in hitters’ counts. Maybe he is hurt, which would explain the dismal velocity drop the past two seasons. But if it is not injury, The Freak may indeed end up in the bullpen as a Sergio Romo-light. His next game is home against the Rockies, who are coming off a series where they crushed the ball (8 HR in 3 games).  I would consider benching Lincecum in this game. His long-term projection will only improve if A) his velocity reappears, or B) he stops trying to overthrow and starts locating his pitches.

Roy Halladay: 3.1 IP, 6 H, 3 BB, 9 K, 5 ER, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 HR

Rollie Fingers took the mound for the Phillies... Oh wait, that was Doc Halladay. Roy relied on a heavy amount of off-speed pitches and gave up two home runs, both on fastballs. 9 Ks is impressive, but everything else killed his owner’s stat lines. He was facing one of the best lineups in baseball, so maybe we can cut him some slack.  He did throw first strike pitches to 12/19 batters. His next matchup will be a home game versus the Mets. I feel confident starting him in such a game. The Mets have roughed up the Padres, but I expect that to end by the time they get to Philly. His long-term projection resembles Beckett. I have faith that this crafty veteran can figure things out and he proved that he can still punch guys out (9/11 outs were Ks).  My only concern is that he is injured, which would obviously influence his long-term value.