Tim Lincecum (7-4, 4.13) took a line drive off of his right forearm in the second inning of yesterday’s game, potentially forcing Manager Bruce Bochy’s decision on which starting pitcher to move to the bullpen to make room for Jack Peavy’s return to the club.
Lincecum has not pitched well over the last five weeks, with an ERA of 7.53 over his last seven starts. Yesterday was no different, as he gave up three runs on four hits and two walks over just 1 ⅔ innings before being removed from the game with an injury (contusion, no fracture). Timmy’s last two starts have resulted in the shortest starting appearances of his career. Lincecum, 31, hasn’t posted an ERA below 4.00 since 2011 as his velocity continues to decline, his strikeout ratio drops and his walk ratio increases. Is he the top candidate to move to the pen? “These are things we are going to talk about,” Boch said. “His last couple starts, he just has not been on top of his game.”
Fortunately, the Giants’ relief core (Petit, Kontos, Romo, and Casilla) was able to keep the game under control while the Giants’ offense slowly clawed back, and eventually overtook the Rox in the seventh inning on a bases-clearing double by hot-hitting backup catcher Andrew Susac. The heart of the batting order – Matt Duffy, Buster Posey, Susac – (who could have envisioned this 3-4-5 combination back in April?) carried the G-men to victory, refusing to lose this one, as they muscled up with runners in scoring position to drive in all seven of the Giants’ runs.
Duffy raised his batting average to .294, going 3 for 4 with a homerun (his 7th), double, three runs scored and two RBIs. Posey continued his tear, going 2 for 3 with a double, walk, run scored and two RBIs. Posey leads the team in homeruns (11) and RBIs (50) and is batting .297. And Susac went 2 for 4 with a double and three RBIs in raising his average to .288.
Susac has seen increased playing time over the past month due to his offensive contributions, along with the need to move Brandon Belt to left field to occasionally help cover the shortage of Giants’ outfielders. “I see his confidence growing,” Bochy said. “He certainly came through with the hit we needed.” Susac now has a career-high eight game hitting streak and is batting .367 in the month of June. Playing alongside Posey everyday has certainly had an impact on Susac. “He’s special,” Susac said of Posey. “I’m very blessed to be able to play with him and watch him go about his business because it only gets me better learning from him.”
The Giants wrap up this three-game series and six-game home stand this afternoon when ace, Madison Bumgarner (7-4, 3.04), faces Kyle Kendrick (3-9, 5.96), in what appears to be a mismatch. In 20 career starts against Colorado, MadBum is 9-6 with a 3.13 ERA, exceptionally good numbers against a perennial offensive powerhouse. Kendrick has struggled this season, especially with the long ball, allowing 21 homeruns already.
- Sergio Romo picked up his 20th hold and Santiago Casilla his 20th save
- A Giants’ win today, combined with a Dodgers’ loss will move the G-men into a tie for first place in the NL West at 42-35
- Angel Pagan returned to the starting lineup sooner than anticipated, going 1 for 4 with a run scored in the lead-off spot. He continues to play through injuries, including two sore knees