April 2, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants right fielder Hunter Pence (8) celebrates the 3-0 victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Giants Aim For Series Win With Lincecum On the Mound: Game Preview


The San Francisco Giants collected their first win of the season on Tuesday night behind Madison Bumgarner’s gem (eight scoreless innings, two hits allowed). The lefty also had an RBI.

Wednesday night, Tim Lincecum will make his much anticipated first start of the year. A rough spring training saw him post a 10.57 ERA, and after posting a National League worst 5.18 ERA in 2012, there is surely some concern.

Lincecum has a career 2.81 ERA in 19 career games against the Dodgers, and current Dodgers hitters own a combined .225/.309/.313 hitting slash against him. Andre Ethier has two home runs off Lincecum in 43 at-bats, and Skip Schumaker has one in 22 at-bats.

Opposing Lincecum will be another struggling right-hander, Josh Beckett, who has a 4.11 ERA since 2008.

Beckett tallied a nifty 2.92 ERA with the Dodgers in seven starts after coming over from the Boston Red Sox in August. Though prior, he had a miserable 5.23 ERA in 21 starts with the Red Sox. While money is only a number for the Dodgers, Beckett will make $15-plus million over the next two years, which is big money for a declining veteran.

Beckett doesn’t have much history against the Giants. He owns a career 3.66 ERA against San Francisco in eight starts, but has only faced current Giant hitters 56 times. In this short sample size, the Giants figure to have the statistical edge; Hunter Pence is hitting .429 against Beckett (6-for-14) and Marco Scutaro is hitting .400 (6-for-15).

What to Watch For:

Matt Kemp Poised To Breakout

Through two games, Matt Kemp is 0-for-6 with two strikeouts, the first time he’s done this in six full seasons. Something has to give. The Giants would certainly welcome another hitless game from the Dodgers’ star, but Kemp can only stay subdued for so long.

Will Giants Struggle With Runners On Base Again?

Is 2013 the second coming of 2011 for the Giants? It’s far too early to be jumping to conclusions, but Tuesday night saw the Giants strand five runners and go 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Thanks to Madison Bumgarner’s dominance, they got a pass. But it’s not every game that your starter pitches eight scoreless innings. Keep this in mind as the season progresses.

Would Hot Start Assure Lincecum of Success?

Teams play 162 games for a reason, and starting pitches start 30-plus games for a reason. For Linceucm, a hot start would be a confidence booster. In both of his Cy Young years (2008, 2009), he posted a below 2.00 ERA in March/April. A good first outing would put him on the right track.

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