Giants Try to Lock Up Series, Lincecum Tries To Bounce Back Against Padres


April 14, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum (55) pitches during the game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Reid Compton-USA TODAY Sports

Even though the Giants are 3-0 in Tim Lincecum’s starts, Lincecum hasn’t exactly shined.

Lincecum pitched five innings and gave up two home runs against the Chicago Cubs on Sunday, and while the Giants ended up winning the game, Lincecum’s outing was concerning. The former ace’s ERA is currently 5.63, which is far from good. Lincecum opened the season with five shutout innings and a win, but he has allowed 10 runs over his last two starts.

Now, he’s trying to bounce back against a team that gave him trouble in 2012. Chase Headley and the Padres will try to even up the series against Lincecum, and they will send Andrew Cashner to the hill in hopes of doing so. Cashner has a 3.86 ERA in five bullpen appearances this year, so he hasn’t been much better than Lincecum.

In 2012, Lincecum’s ERA against the Padres was 4.74. However, in his last three starts against San Diego, Lincecum is 0-1 with a 7.16 ERA. Cashner hasn’t been better against the Giants, as his ERA was 6.75 in two appearances against the orange and black. There may not be a pitchers’ duel tonight, but it will be an interesting game.

Last night, San Francisco won on a walk-off double by Angel Pagan, snapping a three-game losing streak. However, San Francisco continued its brief scoring drought. San Francisco hasn’t been hitting poorly, but a lot of deep hits have turned into outs. The Giants have recorded six hits or more in their last 16 games, and they are 10-6 in those games.

The offense should be able to stay hot against the Padres. Brandon Crawford will likely hit sixth for the Giants, according to Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area. Crawford’s 10-game hitting streak ended Friday, but he’s still been great. Crawford is leading the team with a .328 batting average (not including non-qualified pitchers), and he’s been ripping apart opposing hitters.

Buster Posey hit a sacrifice fly and reached base twice (with one hit) Friday. Posey is hitting just .224, but he’s still an extremely valuable player. Without Posey at the top of his game, the Giants are seventh in runs scored (77) and sixth in batting average (.270). So, it won’t be easy to carve up the San Francisco lineup with the 2012 NL MVP ready to go.

But carving up a weak Padres offense shouldn’t be too hard.

Lincecum will have offensive support, a big ballpark and rabid fans. He needs to get going and turn in a quality start, one the Giants haven’t seen in his last six starts. Lincecum is a talented pitcher who hasn’t performed like one, and now is the time for him to step up.

Can Lincecum step up? Find out at 6:05 PM PST, when the first pitch is thrown. Golden Gate Sports will have postgame coverage.