Thanks to Tim Lincecum’s struggles this season, his matchup with Stephen Strasburg in Wednesday’s series finale has lost some of its luster. However, Lincecum’s recent outings suggest he may be up for the challenge when the San Francisco Giants look to win the three-game series. San Francisco responded from its 14-2 loss in the series opener by snapping a four-game losing streak to Washington on Tuesday with a 6-1 win. The Giants remained tied with the Dodgers atop the National League West, while the Washington Nationals lead Atlanta by 4 1/2 games in the NL East.
For the first time all season, the Giants appear to have settled on an everyday lineup, which became complete on Tuesday when third baseman Pablo Sandoval (hamstring) made his first start since July 24. Hunter Pence’s arrival has stabilized the outfield, and Brandon Belt has gone 15-for-30 in his past nine games to take hold of first base. The Nationals hope to have outfielder Mike Morse back for the series finale after he sat out Tuesday with inflammation in his right thumb. Washington is also eager to get shortstop Ian Desmond (oblique) back from the disabled list Friday, although infielder Steve Lombardozzi has performed well in his absence.
Nationals Giants Betting
When: 3:45 PM ET, Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Where: AT&T Park, San Francisco, California
TV: 3:45 p.m. ET, MASN2 (Washington), CSNBA (San Francisco)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals RH Stephen Strasburg (13-5, 2.90 ERA) vs. Giants RH Tim Lincecum (6-12, 5.35)
After a few uneven starts in July, Strasburg has given up just one run over 12 innings in two August starts. Strasburg leads the National League with 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings, but at 133 1/3 innings he’s fast approaching the estimated limit of 160 to 180 set by the Nationals. He’s facing the Giants for the first time since 2010.
Lincecum tossed his third consecutive quality start Friday, allowing three runs over seven innings last Friday against the Rockies to lower his ERA to a season-low 5.35. The two-time Cy Young award winner is 1-3 with a 5.36 ERA in seven career starts against the Nationals, who scored eight runs (seven earned) in 3 1/3 innings against Lincecum on July 3.
1. Giants OF Melky Cabrera is five hits away from reaching 1,000 for his career.
2. The Nationals have either led the NL East or shared the top spot for 117 of the season’s 127 days.
3. The Giants placed RHP Brad Penny on the 15-day disabled list with a right shoulder impingement and recalled RHP Dan Otero from Triple-A Fresno.