Lincecum and the San Francisco Giants try to make up ground in the NL West when they play the first of three against the visiting Cubs, who hope to avoid a season worst-tying sixth consecutive road loss Monday night.
San Francisco’s punchless offense failed to come through again Sunday, leaving nine on base during a 4-3, 11-inning defeat to lowly Houston. The Giants (71-63), averaging an MLB-low 2.6 runs per game since Aug. 4, fell four games behind division-leading Arizona.
“You move on. You battle and you’ve got to put it behind us,” said former Cub Mark DeRosa(notes). “We can’t scoreboard watch because we’ve got our own bag of issues we’ve got to deal with and we’ve got to get the bats going.”
San Francisco now looks to regroup behind its two-time NL Cy Young Award winner.
Lincecum (12-10, 2.46 ERA) yielded a run and four hits in eight innings of Wednesday’s 2-1 victory over San Diego, improving to 6-3 with a 1.17 ERA over his last nine starts. He has allowed two runs or fewer in each of those outings - the longest such stretch of his career.
“His (pitch) count was up there a little bit, but he said he felt great, and he pitched like it,” manager Bruce Bochy told the Giants’ official website. “Timmy did what he does best, and that’s make great pitches when he has to.”
Lincecum has held opponents to a .169 average over his run, during which he’s struck out 63 in 61 2-3 innings.
“…he’s one of the elite pitchers in baseball. I can see him walk to the podium and grab a few more Cy Youngs.”
Lincecum gave up a run and five hits in seven innings of a 2-1 loss at Wrigley Field on June 29. He is 1-3 with a 5.04 ERA in four career home meetings with Chicago.
The Cubs (57-77), however, haven’t been able to muster much offense of late either. They are batting .218 - .143 with runners in scoring position - while averaging 2.5 runs during a 1-7 skid.
Chicago suffered a three-game sweep at Milwaukee with Sunday’s 3-2 loss - its fourth straight defeat overall and fifth in a row on the road.
Aramis Ramirez(notes), who had gone 32 for 63 (.508) with four homers during a 16-game hitting streak, saw his run come to an end with Sunday’s 0-for-4 effort. Ramirez is 3 for 15 (.200) lifetime against Lincecum.
The Cubs counter with Randy Wells(notes) (5-4, 5.53), who has thrown the ball much better after struggling earlier in the year. Wells yielded one run and a season-low two hits over 6 2-3 innings in Wednesday’s 3-2 win over Atlanta.
“I’m starting to feel a lot better,” said Wells, who missed nearly all of April and May with a forearm strain. “I’m starting to command the fastball a lot better. Tonight, I had a pretty good changeup.”
Wells is 4-1 with a 4.12 ERA over his last seven starts, giving up two runs or fewer four times.
The right-hander, who threw 7 2-3 innings of six-hit ball during a 2-0 win over San Francisco on Sept. 22, is 0-1 with a 9.58 ERA in two career starts at AT&T Park.
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