After inching closer to first place in the NL West, the Rockies look to match their longest winning streak of the season and find a way to solve Lincecum when they conclude a three-game series against the Giants on Wednesday night in San Francisco.
Colorado (63-71) made an improbable run last season, winning 14 of its last 15 regular season to clinch the NL wild card and ultimately reaching the World Series before being swept by Boston. The Rockies are now six games behind first-place Arizona in the NL West, but they have gained three games on the Diamondbacks with nine wins in their last 11 contests.
Catching the Diamondbacks is likely the only possible route to the postseason for Colorado, which trails Milwaukee by 15 games in the wild card race.
Colorado gained its latest game on Arizona with a 7-2 victory over San Francisco (58-74) on Tuesday night. A win Wednesday would give the Rockies their fourth five-game winning streak of the season.
It won’t be easy against Lincecum (14-3, 2.48 ERA), who is 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA, 57 strikeouts over 42 innings, and a .160 opponent batting average in his last six starts. He has been outstanding against the NL’s current division leaders, going 4-0 with a 2.33 ERA in a combined six starts against Philadelphia, Arizona and the Chicago Cubs.
Lincecum is 2-1 with a 3.30 ERA in five career starts against the Rockies.
In his last outing, the 24-year-old right-hander gave up four hits and struck out eight in eight innings to earn a win as San Francisco beat San Diego 5-0 on Friday night.
Colorado will counter with Livan Hernandez (1-2, 15.32 ERA), who has struggled in three starts since being acquired on waivers from Minnesota. The veteran right-hander gave up six runs and eight hits in 3 2-3 innings as Colorado lost 8-5 to Cincinnati on Friday night.
Hernandez is 3-4 with a 2.99 ERA in 12 career starts against the Giants.
The Rockies placed closer Brian Fuentes on the bereavement list Tuesday. Manager Clint Hurdle is not putting a timetable on Fuentes’ return.
“When it’s family issues I don’t push it,” Hurdle said. “He just needs to get back to his family and he’ll come back when he can.”
Hernandez will face a San Francisco team that has been held to two runs in each of this series’ first two games. The Giants had won five straight and eight of 10 before facing the Rockies.
Colorado, meanwhile, is averaging 6.0 runs over its last 10 games.
Brad Hawpe went 2-for-2 with three runs scored after entering the game batting .130 (3-for-23) in his previous seven games against the Giants.