Rangers-Angels preview

ANAHEIM — A former Cy Young Award winner likely will pitch with his career on the line when the Los Angeles Angels and the Texas Rangers meet Tuesday night at Angel Stadium.

Right-hander Tim Lincecum, once the mainstay of the San Francisco Giants' rotation, will face the Rangers' Kyle Lohse with his spot in the rotation — and perhaps on the roster — in jeopardy.

Lincecum, who won two Cy Young Awards while helping the Giants win three World Series, underwent hip surgery in September and had not pitched in 11 months when the Angels signed him May 20 to bolster their beleaguered rotation. His season debut followed a script that screenwriters for the Hallmark Channel could have produced.

At the O.co Coliseum in Oakland on June 18, Lincecum earned a 7-1 victory over the Athletics in his first appearance since June 27, 2015. The right-hander threw six innings and allowed one run, two walks and four hits while adding two strikeouts.

Since then, however, the fairy tale has turned ugly.

Not only has Lincecum failed to win any of his four ensuing starts but the former ace has pitched just 17 2/3 innings and failed to last longer than 5 2/3 innings during any single appearance. During that stretch, the right-hander permitted four home runs among the 34 hits he allowed and compiled a 9.17 earned-run average.

With left-hander Tyler Skaggs close to returning after missing nearly two years because of Tommy John surgery, Lincecum has little margin for error.

“I think for any player on a major league field, it's performance based,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia told MLB.com. “He needs to perform well, and nobody is immune to that. But we have a lot of confidence that he is going to do what he needs to do to be one of those five guys who are going to give us a chance to win games as a starting pitcher.”

Lohse finds himself in a similar situation. After going 5-13 with a 5.85 ERA for the Milwaukee Brewers last year, Lohse languished on the free-agent market until May 13, when he signed a minor league contract with the Rangers. The right-hander made 10 starts at Triple-A Round Rock before being promoted to make his season debut July 9.

But in that game against the Minnesota Twins, Lohse surrendered six runs on nine hits while throwing 99 pitches in just five innings. Worse, Lohse sustained a mild strain in his right oblique muscle that forced him to begin an immediate program of accelerated recovery.

“I didn't have that fun of an All-Star break, doing two-a-day treatments to see how good we can get this thing going quickly,” Lohse told MLB.com. “It didn't feel like it was going to be something short. But we have been making progress every day.”

That progress culminated Saturday, when Lohse threw a bullpen session before the Rangers' game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field and felt no ill effects.

“I came out of the bullpen session feeling good with minimal soreness,” Lohse told MLB.com. “We did a lot of work on it and feel good where it's at.”

Had Lohse been unable to pitch Tuesday night, right-hander Nick Martinez would have been recalled from Round Rock to make the start. Martinez had been optioned July 8 but made one start for the Express, making him eligible to return quickly.