Published November 20, 2014
The Giants know that there probably isn't anything they can do with Tim Lincecum other than wait and hope that the right-hander finds his Cy Young-winning form.
Lincecum hopes to begin a resurgence tonight when San Francisco opens up a three-game series against the Oakland Athletics.
Lincecum won consecutive National League Cy Young Awards in 2008-09 and has three times in his career won at least 15 games. Even though he finished below .500 a season ago at 13-14, he still had an excellent 2.74 earned run average and finished sixth in Cy Young voting.
It has been a lost year so far for the 10th overall pick of the 2006 draft, with Lincecum going 2-8 with a 6.19 ERA and currently enduring a career-worst six-game losing streak over his past nine starts since his last victory on April 28.
Pitching one day after his 28th birthday, Lincecum allowed five runs for a second straight outing on Saturday in Seattle. He lasted five-plus innings and gave up five hits and two walks while striking out six in a 7-4 defeat.
"He was throwing well," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Lincecum's outing. "Looked like a good night for him after the first inning. I know he's taking it hard, he was pitching his heart out ... it's hard to explain because he is so good at times. Then he has his hiccup innings and has a tough time staying out of the big inning."
Lincecum is just 1-4 with an 8.13 ERA in seven road outings this season and even a meeting with the Athletics back on May 20 failed to shake him out of his slump. He was battered for four runs over just four innings of work in a loss, falling to just 5-2 with a 1.92 ERA in eight career meetings with Oakland.
Like Lincecum, Oakland starter Jarrod Parker will be seeking a bit of revenge with tonight's outing after suffering the worst loss of his brief career versus the Giants on May 18.
The 23-year-old turned in his shortest outing in 11 big-league starts, lasting only two-plus innings but yielding a career-high six runs on four hits and four walks in an 8-6 loss.
Parker, though, turned in his third scoreless outing in four starts last Thursday in Colorado, twirling seven innings of three-hit ball and a walking one with six strikeouts in an 8-2 win. The righty rebounded nicely after yielding six runs over five innings of a loss in Arizona on June 9.
Parker is 3-3 with a 2.82 ERA in 10 starts this season and will try to pitch the Athletics to a ninth victory in 10 games tonight after they won yesterday's meeting with the Dodgers 4-1 to secure a three-game sweep.
Yoenis Cespedes ripped a walk-off, three-run homer as Oakland has now won three straight series for the first time since September of 2010.
"That ball was hit pretty hard. A lot of times it would have hooked foul, but it didn't have time," Athletics manager Bob Melvin said about Cespedes' homer.
Brandon Inge also drove in a run for the Athletics.
Oakland's win prevented San Francisco from falling further behind Los Angeles for first place in the NL West. The Giants sit four games back of the Dodgers and have lost five of their past seven.
That includes Wednesday's 6-0 setback to the Angels in the rubber match of a three-game series as Los Angeles cruised behind a returning Jered Weaver, who threw six scoreless innings in his first start after coming off the disabled list.
Ryan Vogelsong, who had six wins without a loss in an eight-start span, had that streak broken after yielding seven hits and three runs while fanning six over seven innings.
"Weaver comes off the DL and he didn't miss a beat," Bochy said. "We didn't put any pressure on him. A good outing by Vogy, he pitched well, we just couldn't do anything offensively."
The Giants, who didn't record an extra-base hit, lost to the Angels for the sixth time in the last seven meetings.
San Francisco won two of three over the visiting A's in the previous meeting this season from May 18-20, but have been swept in consecutive three-game series at Oakland.