The two-time reigning Cy Young Award winner will take the mound looking to pull the Giants closer to the NL West-leading Padres in the conclusion of this three-game series Sunday.
San Francisco (67-51) is second in the NL West, 2 1/2 games behind San Diego (68-47). That small gap can be attributed to the Giants’ 2-8 record this season against the Padres.
Despite his team’s struggles with the Padres, Lincecum (11-6, 3.41 ERA) is 4-2 with a 1.67 ERA and 85 strikeouts in 75 2-3 innings in 11 starts against them with eight resulting in Giants victories.
The right-hander, however, hasn’t been that dominant of late. He’s trying to avoid a career-high three-game losing streak after allowing nine runs and 14 hits - three homers - with 11 strikeouts in 10 1-3 innings over his last two starts.
He was pulled after four innings in Tuesday’s 8-6 loss to Chicago, giving up a season high-tying six runs.
“Everybody in here has high expectations of themselves and when things like that happen you kind of wear it,” Lincecum said. “Obviously this has been the year with most struggles for me, both mentally and physically, just trying to figure out my mechanics and just trying to feel through it.”
The Giants hope Jose Guillen(notes) can provide a boost to their playoff aspirations as he’s slated to get his first start. They acquired the right fielder from Kansas City on Friday in exchange for a player to be named later.
He grounded out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth Saturday, and was batting .255 with 16 homers and 62 RBIs before being designated for assignment by the Royals on Aug. 5.
The left-hander is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in three starts against them. His most recent meeting with the division rival resulted in a 3-2 win at AT&T Park on May 11. However, he battled command issues and threw 94 pitches before exiting one out shy of completing the fifth after allowing two runs with four walks.
LeBlanc has struggled on the road since, losing five of seven starts with a 5.72 ERA.
He labored through 106 pitches in 5 2-3 innings of his latest outing Tuesday, but yielded one run with a career high-tying eight strikeouts in a 4-1 win over Pittsburgh.
“I needed to do that, not only for my own confidence in what I’m doing, but maybe to show these guys that I’m still behind them and I’m still working for them,” LeBlanc told the team’s official website.
LeBlanc is also one of the top hitting pitchers in baseball. He has a .324 average and drove in his first career run against the Pirates.