The San Francisco Giants have their offense in high gear as they pursue their first postseason berth since 2003.
They wish they could say the same about their ace.
While the Giants (71-57) couldn’t finish a three-game sweep of visiting Cincinnati this week, they still have plenty of optimism after scoring at least 11 runs in three consecutive games for the first time since June 1953.
They nearly completed the biggest comeback in franchise history Wednesday, erasing a 10-1 deficit and briefly taking the lead before losing 12-11 in 12 innings.
San Francisco had Thursday off, but took over sole possession of the NL wild-card lead when Philadelphia lost at Houston.
Sandoval hit .330 in 2009, while Lincecum won his second consecutive NL Cy Young Award.
Like Sandoval, Lincecum (11-8, 3.72 ERA) has encountered problems this season, especially during a difficult August. The right-hander has posted an 8.38 ERA while losing all four of his starts this month.
“Every player goes through tough times and you have to deal with it,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “We need him. … He’s a kid that really hasn’t gone through it, but I think he’s handling it now really, really well.”
Although his latest outing ended in a 5-1 loss to St. Louis on Saturday, Lincecum said he made progress while allowing four runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings.
“Obviously the results aren’t there, which is what people want to look for,” he said. “But in my mind I feel like I’m close to getting back.”
Lincecum doesn’t have a decision in two starts at Arizona this year, but he has dominated the Diamondbacks at home throughout his career, going 3-0 with a 1.43 ERA in six starts.
The Giants have won seven in a row against Arizona - one shy of their longest winning streak ever in this series, which took place July 9-Sept. 5, 2004.
The Diamondbacks (50-78) have also lost 13 of their last 15 at AT&T Park and seven of 10 overall, but they avoided a three-game sweep at San Diego with an 11-5 win Thursday.
“I’m trying not to think about it,” Enright said, “but it’s obviously an accomplishment. Trying to keep the team in the ballgame and trying to do my best.”
This will be the first start in Northern California for Enright, who grew up in nearby Stockton. He faced Lincecum at home on July 25, with each pitcher allowing two runs in a game the Giants won 3-2 in 10 innings.
Arizona’s Stephen Drew(notes) brings a hot bat into this series after totaling three homers, three doubles and six RBIs in his last two games, but he’s 5 for 31 (.161) with 11 strikeouts against Lincecum.
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