Pre-game notes & lineups: Tim Lincecum’s turn to be savior, again


The San Francisco Giants open a 3-game homestand against the St. Louis Cardinals tonight at AT&T Park. RHP Tim Lincecum (6-5, 4.42 ERA) gets the ball for the Giants for the first time since throwing his second career no-hitter last week. Rookie LHP Marco Gonzales (0-0, 9.00 ERA) will be making his second career start tonight for the Cards. First pitch is 7:15 PT.

The Giants and Cardinals faced each other at the beginning of June in St. Louis with the San Francisco taking 3 of the 4 games. That was the beginning of June when all was right with the world and the Giants couldn’t do any wrong. Now the Giants find themselves in 2nd place, just a half game behind the rival Los Angeles Dodgers.

Tim Lincecum is coming off a pretty good start last time out. He no-hit the Padres last Wednesday only facing 1 over the minimum. Since this was his second no-hitter we now get to make wild assumptions. The game directly after Lincecum’s first no-hitter last year? Well he allowed a career high 8 runs and only lasted 3.2 innings.

Will that be the case today? Giants fans sure hope not.

The lineups for tonight’s game.

Juan Perez has replaced Gregor Blanco at the top of the Giants order. Angel Pagan has yet to be activated off the DL.

Hector Sanchez gets the nod behind the plate for Lincecum and Buster Posey will be at first.

Brandon Belt continues to rehab, but the Giants may want to get him back really soon. Belt has gone 10-for-17 with 2 doubles and 3 home runs in 5 games during his rehab stint with San Jose and Fresno. That bat will be a welcome addition to this Giants lineup.

Yadier Molina is the only regular in the Cardinals lineup today that has faced Lincecum more than 6 times. Yadi has gotten the best of it by batting .412 in 17 at bats, but has yet to homer off the diminutive right-hander from the Giants.

The Cards have loaded the lineup with left-handed batters against Lincecum tonight. All 5 position players they have that are left-handed are in the lineup tonight. Include Gonzales the starting pitcher, and the 2/3 of the Cards lineup is batting left-handed.

Against Lincecum, left-handed hitters are batting .259 and right-handed batters are hitting .241. It’s not a huge gap, but I suspect that’s not all of Cardinals manager Mike Matheny‘s thinking. The stat that jumps out is Lincecum’s strikeout to walk ratio. Against rightys he strikes out 4.75 batters for every walk he allows, against leftys it’s just 1.08.

This game could end up as a battle of the bullpens. If that happens the Giants are going to have to step it up. So far in the 7 games on this homestand the Giants bullpen has been dreadful while allowing 13 runs in 16 innings.

July is here and there can be no more talk of a June swoon. We’ll see if the Giants come out rested and hungry after yesterday’s day off.

I almost forgot, if you’re Social Media savvy, tonight is your night.