Last night, Tim Lincecum pitched well but got beat by Carlos Zambrano. What struck me was a difference in peak and overall velocity - Big Z was throwing harder than The Freak.
Zambrano peaked at 96.3, Zambrano was strong, just outside the top third of his peak range. His average fastball speed (93.8, with or without sinkers) was 7th out of 73 starts in average fastball speed (two- and four-seam combined). It was also he best average fastball velocity of 2009.
So, there was probably nothing "in the air" that night pushing The Freak's speed numbers down. Lincecum topped out at 94.3 - that's his lowest peak on record. He averaged 91.4 mph. Throw out the two-seamers and he's at 91.6. Out of Lincecum's 77 PITCHf/x starts, that's dead last.
Pretty impressive for a guy without his best stuff. As the Wild Card slips away, it may be time to protect the franchise's most valuable asset.