National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, July 14th
(All times eastern)
Houston Astros (33-54) at San Francisco Giants (47-40), 9:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Houston - Lucas Harrell (7-6, 4.56)
San Francisco - Tim Lincecum (3-10, 6.42)
(Sports Network) - Tim Lincecum has struggled mightily this season.
He hasn't displayed any signs of his award-winning ways and is aware of that.
"You never want to say, 'Hey, I've hit rock bottom' or anything like that,"
Lincecum told the Giants' website. "When things are going as bad as they are
right now, you kind of got to go out there feeling like you've got nothing
left to lose.
"It's been terrible. It's a terrible feeling, feeling like you've let your
team down. That's the hardest thing."
Lincecum will get back to work tonight for San Francisco in the second test of
a three-game series versus the Houston Astros at AT&T Park. The two-time NL
Cy Young Award winner is a paltry 1-8 with a 6.69 earned run average in his
last 13 starts -- the Giants are 2-11 in that time. He previously toed the
rubber in a 13-2 setback at Pittsburgh on July 8 and lasted 3 1/3 innings for
a second consecutive start, allowing six runs and seven hits to fall to 3-10
with a 6.42 ERA in 18 appearances.
"I have to erase this, but obviously remember it and use it to know what I
don't want to go through again," Lincecum added. "When you're the weaker link,
you kind of look at that and it wears on you. You try your hardest to work out
of it, and that's what I've got to do."
The right-hander, who is 2-4 in eight home starts, could turn this slump
around if his career record against Houston holds up. In eight career starts
against the Astros, Lincecum is 5-0 with a sparkling 1.14 ERA.
Madison Bumgarner didn't have a problem with the Astros in Friday's 5-1 win
and held the visitors to a run and two hits in seven innings. He struck out
five and walked two, improving to 11-5 on the season and 15-2 in his last 18
starts at AT&T Park.
"It's pretty incredible what he does and the poise he has out there," said
Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "For most of the pitching staff and the players,
you're always gonna be a little bit more comfortable here and you usually do
pitch better at home."
Buster Posey hit a two-run homer for the Giants, who ended a two-game slide
and won for just the third time in 10 tries. The Giants remained only one-half
game behind the Los Angeles Dodgers for the NL West lead. All-Star Game MVP
Melky Cabrera had a hit in four at-bats in the win.
Posey's homer gave San Francisco nine in the past 22 games. Only 15 of the
Giants' 52 home runs have come by the bay.
Houston kicked off a 10-game road trip on the wrong foot last night and lost
for the 11th time in 12 tries.
Chris Snyder's solo home run in the seventh inning was all the offense the
Astros could muster, while Wandy Rodriguez took the mound and allowed four
runs in six innings to absorb the loss.
"They squeezed out some hits and squeezed out the early runs," said Snyder.
Rodriguez has gone at least five innings in 48 consecutive starts, marking the
longest active streak in the National League. Infielder Scott Moore did not
play Friday and has hit safely in each of his first nine games with the club
-- a franchise record. Jeff Kemp had an eight-game run back in 2009. Moore is
batting .306 with three home runs during the streak.
Lucas Harrell draws the start for the 'Stros tonight after plenty of rest and
is 7-6 with a 4.56 earned run average in 17 appearances. He is 1-0 in his past
two starts since losing back-to-back outings, and did not figure into the
decision of an 8-7 loss at Pittsburgh on July 3. Harrell lasted five innings
and gave up five runs and nine hits -- one start after tossing a six-hit
shutout against San Diego on June 27.
Harrell, a right-hander, is only 2-5 in 10 road starts this season and will
face San Francisco for the first time.
The Giants won two of three over the Astros at home in mid-June and have
claimed 15 of the last 22 meetings overall.
07/14 10:34:25 ET