It's official: As the San Francisco Giants limp their way in the All-Star break after an epic, 13-run drubbing at the hands of the Pittsburg Pirates, the team's star pitcher, Tim Lincecum, now holds the dubious distinction of having the worst earned run average in baseball.
The two-time Cy Young winner has an ERA of 6.42, the highest of any starting pitcher in the majors with enough innings to qualify for the league leader boards.
"You never want to say I've hit rock bottom or anything like that, but when things are going as bad as they are right now, you've got to go out there with the feeling like you've got nothing left to lose," Lincecum told the San Jose Mercury News.
"It seems like everybody else is doing their jobs and playing good ball," he added. "When you're the weaker link, you kind of look at that and it wears on you."
2012 has been a rough year for the right-handed Washington native that Bay Area fans have affectionately nicknamed "The Freak." With a record of 3-10, Lincecum is the first Giants pitcher to get into double digit losses by the end of the first half of the season since former Oakland A's phenom Barry Zito's similar collapse after coming to the Giants in 2008. (Ironically, Zito has been doing surprisingly well this season, after years of consistently disappointing performances.)
But despite his struggles, Lincecum doesn't seem to be in danger of losing his spot in the lineup.
"We need him," manager Bruce Bochy told the San Francisco Chronicle. "He's got to put the first half behind him. He got on track for a few starts, but we got back here to the East Coast and he scuffled. Obviously, he's got to make an adjustment, which he did for a couple of starts."
Lincecum, who will be starting at next week's home game against the Houston Astros, has done much better when playing in San Francisco than he has on the road. Lincecum's road ERA is an abysmal 9.0.
So what's going on here? Baseball Nation editor Jeff Sullivan notes that Lincecum's record with no runners on base is only slightly wore than it was last year. However, with one or more runners on, he falls to pieces.
"The usual interpretation of something like this is that the pitcher must have problems pitching from the stretch," writes Sullivan. "Lincecum has a complicated delivery unlike anyone else's, so it makes sense that he could have a mechanical kink."
In better news for San Francisco sports fans, Giants pitcher Matt Cain, fresh off his perfect game, has been pegged to start for the National League in the upcoming All-Star Game.
Also, Lincecum totally saved an elderly dog. So he's got that going for him.
Check out this slideshow of starters around the majors who are having a better year than poor Timmy: