SAN FRANCISCO -- Sounding more like a psychologist than a struggling pitcher, Tim Lincecum spoke Wednesday of the need to get "in touch with my identity" and regain the swagger he maintained while winning two Cy Young Awards and dominating the 2010 postseason.
Lincecum, who owns an unsightly 2-7 record with a 6.00 ERA, said that his path to recovery must involve "remembering who I am, remembering what I've done and taking that out there with me. Not going out there gloatful, but [with] kind of a sense of arrogance a little bit."
To that end, Lincecum discussed his slump Wednesday with pitching coach Dave Righetti and bullpen coach Mark Gardner. They had him watch video of his 14-strikeout, two-hit gem in Game 1 of the 2010 Division Series against Atlanta, which the Giants won, 1-0. The objective, Lincecum said, was "trying to get that feel back and knowing what that mindset was."
Lincecum pointed out that his fastball that night hovered in the 90-91 mph range, which is his usual velocity now.
"I was spotting my fastball better," Lincecum said. "... I was just executing pitches."
Lincecum also believes that before he can command his pitches, he must command himself.
"It's just getting back to being yourself and knowing who that is," he said. "I know a lot of it has been mental. I feel like that is just coming in touch with my identity and who I am and what I've done."
Lincecum senses that a steady mindset will lead to steadier pitching. Because, at one point or another, various aspects of his game have betrayed him.
"At one point it's a bad inning, and another it's walks, and another it's not being aggressive in the strike zone or throwing too many secondary pitches," he said. "Those kind of things get in your head, when it comes down to just executing what pitch the catcher [calls]. ... I'm just looking for that break where I'm trusting my stuff out there 100 percent of the time."
Manager Bruce Bochy seconded Lincecum's realizations.
"You have to have that confidence and you have to realize you have a gift," Bochy said. "Don't let that self-doubt creep in there. ... It doesn't matter what we think; we know how good he is. It's always up to the player to believe in how good he is. This is how he has to hit the mound."