Lincecum looks to avoid a seventh consecutive loss to Arizona as the visiting San Francisco Giants seek a three-game sweep Wednesday night.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner looked like anything but last season, going 10-15 with a career-worst 5.18 ERA before making five of his six postseason appearances out of the bullpen in San Francisco’s run to a World Series title.
Lincecum (2-1, 3.64 ERA) has had a couple of rough outings this season as well - he gave up six runs in six innings against Colorado on April 9 and four in five frames versus the Chicago Cubs on April 14 - but otherwise has been solid.
The right-hander scattered four hits over 6 2-3 innings of a 2-0 win over San Diego on April 20 before suffering a tough 2-1 loss to Padres on Friday despite giving up two runs and striking out nine in seven innings.
“I’m trying to get away from comparing this year to last year,” Lincecum told the team’s official website after his last outing. “It was great to go seven and not be all over the place. I’ll take it as a positive.”
Lincecum hasn’t experienced many positives recently versus the Diamondbacks, though, dropping his last six starts while posting a 6.75 ERA.
He allowed seven runs - including a three-run homer to Paul Goldschmidt - in four innings of a 7-2 loss in his last start versus Arizona on Sept. 25.
Goldschmidt, who is 8 for 14 with five home runs in his career off Lincecum, went 0 for 4 on Tuesday, though, when Pablo Sandoval hit a two-run homer in the top of the ninth off J.J. Putz to give the Giants (15-12) a 2-1 win over Arizona.
Sandoval, 11 for 18 over his last four games, went 2 for 3 with an RBI in Monday’s series-opening victory and shook off an elbow inujry to contribute the big hit Tuesday.
“He’s swinging good,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “When you get a good hitter like that in the zone, it’s fun to watch. We weren’t sure he was going to play, but he shows up, says he fine, and ends up swinging the bat well.”
Arizona (15-12) mustered only four singles and wasted a solid performance from Trevor Cahill and it may need to provide plenty more run support for Brandon McCarthy on Wednesday if he continues allowing runs at his current pace.
McCarthy (0-3, 7.48) has gotten off to a disappointing start in his first season with the Diamondbacks. He’s allowed 25 runs in 27 2-3 innings over five outings after giving up six runs in six innings of Friday’s 6-3 loss to Colorado.
“I have never been through a stretch like this,” said McCarthy, who spent his first seven seasons pitching in the AL. “It gets pretty frustrating pretty quick and makes your margin of error so small. It just puts you on a razor’s edge and if you are not sharp all the way through then you’re going to get hurt.”
The right-hander has never faced the Giants, though Hunter Pence is 3 for 7 with a double and triple lifetime off McCarthy.