There was a rough four-game stretch last August when Tim Lincecum
surrendered 19 earned runs in 19 innings.
But since then Lincecum has regained his status as arguably the No. 1 pitcher in baseball.
Lincecum is off to another fantastic year as he gets set to make his third start of 2011 on Tuesday night when the defending world champion San Francisco Giants host the Los Angeles Dodgers at 7:15 PT in the second of a three-game series.
The 26-year-old right-hander is 1-1 with a 0.64 ERA and an 18-to-three strikeout-to-walk ratio in 14 innings.
This is following Lincecum’s huge September and postseason where he posted nine quality starts in 11 outings with a 2.17 ERA and 10.93 strikeouts-per-nine innings and 1.96 walks-per-nine innings ratios. San Francisco is 7-2 in Lincecum’s last nine starts.
But the Giants and Lincecum are out for revenge facing the Dodgers, who will be starting Chad Billingsley.
Los Angeles, behind Clayton Kershaw, nipped the Giants and Lincecum on Opening Day at Dodger Stadium. Lincecum held the Dodgers to no earned runs on five hits and three walks with five strikeouts in seven innings. But the Giants committed three errors and Kershaw won, 2-1, as a 115 favorites. The combined three runs went ‘under’ the 6 ½-run total.
The Dodgers won three of four from the Giants during that openings series with the victories coming by a combined four runs. The Giants have yet to go above .500 this year.
Billingsley defeated the Giants, 4-3, in the second game of the season as a 120 favorite against Jonathan Sanchez. The combined seven runs pushed on the seven-run total. Billingsley gave up three earned runs on five hits with four strikeouts and one walk in six innings.
The Giants’ runs against Billingsley came on a three-run homer by first baseman Brandon Belt. The rookie, however, is batting only .161 through his first 31 at bats.
Billingsley is 1-1 on the season with an 8.00 ERA as he was shelled in his second start losing as a 115 road ‘dog to Jason Hammel and Colorado this past Wednesday.
The Dodgers right-hander entered that matchup with a 6.29 ERA in 24 1/3 previous innings of work at Coors Field.
Los Angeles entered this series 18-38 the past 56 times it has been an underdog.
Lincecum is 5-2 with a 3.07 ERA lifetime against the Dodgers. The Giants are 4-0 the past four times Lincecum has faced the Dodgers at home. San Francisco has won seven of the last nine times when Lincecum has faced the Dodgers.
Billingsley is 7-3 career-wise versus the Giants with a 2.73 ERA.
The Dodgers were 1-5 the past six times they’ve played the Giants at AT&T Park entering the three-game set. The three-game series ends on Wednesday. The Dodgers then open an eight-game homestand on Thursday versus St. Louis followed by Atlanta.
San Francisco is idle on Thursday followed by three games at Arizona and three at Colorado.
The weather forecast for Tuesday’s game at AT&T Park is for clear skies with temperatures in the mid-50s and winds blowing in at 14 mph.
The Giants are likely to be missing outfielder Andres Torres, who has an Achilles strain. Catcher Buster Posey has been hot, though, with at least one hit in seven of eight games entering the series. He was four-for-eight with a homer in San Francisco’s last two home games against the Dodgers.
Matt Kemp has been on fire for the Dodgers going eight-for-13 during this past weekend to raise his batting average to .438. He was five-for-12 with three extra base hits during the first series between the two clubs.