07/24/2007 9:30 AM ET
Lincecum: Going to school
There have been plenty of ups and downs in my rookie year. I know, that's "part of baseball." But there have been more downs than I'm used to and dealing with that's been an adjustment for me. All in all, though, it's been a good experience, being up in the Majors this year. It's a learning process, but it's also a dream and I've been loving every minute of it.
What I mean by "downs" is I've had some struggles, like four or five bad starts in a row. I'm starting to finally climb out of it and it feels good. It's nice to get out of that slump.
Even though we've struggled as a team, it's still been fun. The veterans have been great, helping me learn how to act and compete at this level. It's a learning process and I want to be a willing recipient if they want to impart their wisdom and deliver a message to someone who appreciates it.
Matt Morris tells me something new every day. Steve Kline and Mark Sweeney, too. They talk to me about how to go about playing and respecting the game. They tell me, "If you want to learn something new every day, you can do it in the big leagues." You can always build on your knowledge. If I want to, I really can pick up something new every day. On a good day, I can pick up a few new things to learn.
One thing I've been learning about lately is how to change speeds with my fastball in different situations. I've been throwing a hard one and a slow one, depending on the count. Before I used to just rock and fire every fastball. My 3-0 fastball I was still trying to "hump up" on it. Now I've begun to realize it's all about location and movement.
For some reason, my fastball has had new life this year, going back to the beginning of the season in Triple-A, but especially since getting called to the Majors. It's sinking and tailing, which it never used to do. I'm not really sure why, because I haven't changed anything. It might be the ball up here or something.
But the balls in the Minors don't vary that much from the ones here; the laces are still pretty much the same size. It's just weird that I'm getting this much movement. I'm still used to college baseballs with big laces. It used to feel like my fastball was straight as an arrow. Now I have to try to get it straight. But I'm glad to have this movement now. It definitely helps when you're facing Major League hitters.
Tim Lincecum, 23, is 5-2 with a 3.96 ERA in his first 14 starts in the big leagues. Selected 10th overall in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft after his junior year at the University of Washington, Lincecum has pitched at least six innings 10 times this season and has compiled 95 strikeouts and 38 walks.