Tim Lincecum will likely have something to say about that.
The Giants’ young All-Star will be on the mound Sunday as the Brewers go for their first three-game sweep in San Francisco in more than nine years..
Milwaukee (54-43), chasing the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis in a tight NL Central, is looking for its fourth straight win overall. The first two wins of the Brewers’ current three-game streak came thanks to complete-game efforts from recently acquired CC Sabathia.
The big left-hander led them to a 3-2 win over Cincinnati on Sunday before the All-Star break, then shut down the Giants (40-57) with a 10-strikeout effort in a 9-1 win on Friday.
Milwaukee’s offense had another big day Saturday, scoring seven runs after the fifth inning in an 8-5, come-from-behind win - its fifth victory over San Francisco in as many tries this season.
“I like to call this a quick-strike offense,” said Milwaukee manager Ned Yost. “Our kids are very, very talented offensively.”
The Brewers will try to complete a season sweep of the Giants on Sunday, while looking to pull off a series sweep in San Francisco for the first time since taking three games at Candlestick Park from June 21-23, 1999.
If Milwaukee is to finish its first road sweep of any opponent this season, it’ll have to go through Lincecum (11-2, 2.57 ERA). The 23-year-old right-hander was the youngest player selected to the NL All-Star team, though he didn’t pitch because of flu-like symptoms.
Lincecum, who threw 146 1-3 innings as a rookie last season, has already thrown 129 2-3 in 2008. Given the recent illness, San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said his young starter will be closely monitored.
“If at any point … we’re better backing him off, skipping him a start, whatever, we’re going to do it,” Bochy told the Giants’ official Web site. “It’s gonna mean so much to our future and we’re not going to risk that.”
Lincecum certainly didn’t look tired in his final start before the break. He gave up one run in eight innings against the NL’s top offense last Sunday, striking out nine as San Francisco beat the Cubs 4-2 at Wrigley Field.
Lincecum went 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in three starts against the Brewers as a rookie.
If the Giants are to avoid their ninth loss in 10 games, they’ll need better pitching than they’ve had against Milwaukee this season. The Brewers have lit up San Francisco’s staff for 42 runs in five games, led by first baseman Prince Fielder, who’s hitting .429 (9-for-21) with eight RBIs.
Fielder has homered in each of the first two games in this series. Saturday’s drive was the 100th of his career.
Milwaukee will send Manny Parra (8-2, 3.78) to the mound in the series finale. The left-hander is coming off a lackluster outing on July 11, when he gave up five runs - four earned - in 6 1-3 innings, but escaped without a decision in the Brewers’ 6-5 loss to Cincinnati.
Parra earned his first major league win on April 5 against the Giants, allowing two runs in 5 1-3 innings of Milwaukee’s 5-4 victory.