ST. PETERSBURG -- There are times when the mechanics of Tim Lincecum's convoluted delivery are just right, but it isn't happening with nearly as much frequency as he would like.
Far too often, Lincecum's front foot drifts towards the first-base side, as opposed to landing in a direct line toward home plate, and his right arm lags behind. He fell into that habit over the last couple of years, while working through issues in the hip that was surgically repaired last September.
"It's something that I've had to work around the last few years and made due with, but I don't want to," Lincecum said. "I want to get back to my old mechanics -- sustaining those and doing it more consistently, so I'm not dealing with two different beasts."
Lincecum has a 7.50 ERA through his first four starts with the Angels. He pitched six innings of one-run ball at Oakland on June 18, but has given up 14 runs on 25 hits and seven walks in the 12 innings that have made up his last three outings. He was unable to complete five innings each time.
On Tuesday, against the Rays, the 32-year-old right-hander recorded four more outs (14) than hits allowed (10).
"I didn't see this happening or see myself being here," said Lincecum, signed to an incentive-laden, pro-rated, $2.5 million contract on May 20. "I thought I would've ironed out some things by now, but that's just part of the grind."
Lincecum has experienced flashes of his old delivery, which is evident in his strikeout rate (8.5 per nine innings, an improvement over the 7.5 per nine innings from 2014-15). His four-seam fastball is mostly 88-89 mph, which is about where it was last year, but he's throwing it only 13 percent of the time, relying far more heavily on his split-changeup.
"I think a lot of it has to do with conviction and believing that my stuff is going to be there when I tap into my old mechanics," Lincecum said of regaining the crispness of his pitches. "And I have at times. But there's that kind of coin flip of, 'Is it going to be there on this mechanic?' Or, 'Is it going to be there on this throw?'"
Alden Gonzalez has covered the Angels for MLB.com since 2012. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.