The San Francisco Giants ace is also trying to rebound from one of his worst performances of the season in the opener of this three-game series against the Nationals at AT&T Park on Monday night.
Since 2008, Lincecum (5-4, 2.59 ERA) leads the NL in wins (54) and the majors in strikeouts (845) while compiling a 2.80 ERA and limiting opponents to a .223 average.
Only one of those victories, however, have come against Washington (26-33), which has the worst record in baseball since 2008 at 213-331.
The hard-throwing right-hander last beat the Nationals on June 6, 2008, allowing one run in seven innings. He’s 0-2 with a 5.50 ERA while striking out 19 and walking seven in 18 innings in three meetings since, and lost the latest April 29, when he yielded three runs and seven hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings while the Giants (33-26) were five-hit by Jason Marquis(notes) in a 3-0 defeat.
Lincecum is 2-0 with a 3.22 ERA in three starts entering this matchup with Washington, but he may not have much momentum after a sloppy effort in a 7-5, 11-inning win at St. Louis on Wednesday. He matched his season high by allowing five runs while equaling his career high of 10 hits with two wild pitches and nine strikeouts in 6 1-3 innings.
“Pitchers pride themselves on shutout innings after you get a lead and I just didn’t do that,” said Lincecum, who is five strikeouts shy of becoming the eighth pitcher to reach 1,000 in his first five seasons.
San Francisco has won seven of nine home meetings with the Nationals, but was outscored 11-4 while losing three of four in the nation’s capital from April 29-May 2.
The Giants, winners of four of five, are 2-1 on this 10-game homestand after beating Colorado 2-1 on Sunday.
Washington’s 12-21 road record is the worst in the NL, while its .224 average ranks last in baseball.
Despite those struggles, the Nationals beat Arizona 9-4 in 11 innings Sunday to split a four-game series that opened an 11-game road swing.
The offense’s troubles are the main reason the left-hander still seeks his first win against the Giants. He’s 0-1 with a 1.98 ERA in two starts, but has been backed by one run in each contest.
That was the theme April 30, when he was the hard-luck loser while yielding two runs in 6 2-3 innings of a 2-1 loss.
He’s received three total runs over his last two games, undermining his impressive performances while allowing an unearned run and six hits in 13 innings.