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News » Diamondbacks-Giants Preview 2009-04-18

Diamondbacks-Giants Preview 2009-04-18

Diamondbacks-Giants Preview 2009-04-18
The San Francisco Giants snapped a six-game skid thanks to some outstanding pitching in their series opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

They're hoping their suddenly shaky ace can keep that momentum going.

There's been no bigger concern during the Giants' slow start than the struggles of Tim Lincecum, to whom San Francisco will turn Saturday as it continues a three-game home set against slumping Arizona.

The diminutive right-hander won the NL Cy Young award in just his second season in the majors in 2008, finishing 18-5 with a 2.62 ERA as it looked like the Giants (3-7) had possibly the best young pitcher in baseball.

Now, Lincecum (0-1, 7.56 ERA) is off to a rough start in his quest to become the first winner of consecutive Cy Youngs since Randy Johnson won four in a row from 1999-2002 with the Diamondbacks (3-7).

He lasted only three innings on opening day against Milwaukee, giving up three runs while ultimately not receiving a decision in San Francisco's 10-6 win. He wasn't as fortunate Sunday in San Diego, where he yielded four runs and 10 hits over 5 1-3 innings in a 6-1 loss to the Padres.

"He hasn't gotten into his good groove yet," manager Bruce Bochy said. "His fastball command is not sharp and that's what is hurting him. As good as he is, he really needs to do that."

Lincecum, who has battled bronchitis since spring training, was checked out by doctors earlier this week. They found nothing unusually wrong with the Giants' ace.

Lincecum, however, found something wrong with his pitching delivery after looking at tapes. He claimed that his upper and lower body aren't in sync during the unique motion that allows the 170-pounder to throw a fastball as hard as he does.

"I'm not finding the right timing," he told the Giants' official Web site. "The smallest thing can make a difference. It's a difference that I would notice. Somebody else might not."

Lincecum is 3-1 with a 2.23 ERA in six career starts against the Diamondbacks, notching 50 strikeouts in 44 1-3 innings. Conor Jackson is 7-for-17 (.412) against Lincecum, but Stephen Drew (2-for-20, eight strikeouts) and Chris Young (2-for-19, six strikeouts) haven't had much luck.

Another pitcher for whom San Francisco has high hopes took the mound in the opener against Arizona on Friday night, and Jonathan Sanchez rose to the occasion. He gave up two hits in 6 2-3 innings, and three relievers shut the door the rest of the way as the Giants ended their six-game slide with a 2-0 win.

"Sometimes when you get into a streak like we were in, that is what it takes, the guy on the mound to pitch a great ballgame," Bochy said.

San Francisco's offense has averaged 2.3 runs in its past seven games, and the Diamondbacks hope Doug Davis (0-2, 4.15) can keep the Giants' bats at bay.

Davis bounced back from a shaky first start to look very good Monday against St. Louis. The left-hander gave up two runs - both solo homers - over eight innings while striking out five, but lost 2-1.

"That's some of his best stuff," manager Bob Melvin told the Diamondbacks' official Web site. "Seemed like he got better as the game went on. Certainly pitched well enough to win."

San Francisco's Bengie Molina and Randy Winn are each 13-for-34 (.382) with two homers versus Davis.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 18, 2009

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