Giants-Mariners Preview

In losing the middle game of their series at Safeco Field, the

San Francisco Giants received another sub-par performance from

their Cy Young Award-winning pitcher.

The Seattle Mariners can certainly relate.

Felix Hernandez again tries to break out of his prolonged slump

in Sunday’s finale with a Giants team countering with Madison

Bumgarner, who is looking to win his fourth straight start.

Pitching for the first time at the major league level in his

home state, Tim Lincecum allowed five runs and five hits over five

innings in Saturday’s 7-4 loss to the Mariners (28-39). The

two-time NL Cy Young Award winner dropped to 0-6 with a 6.44 ERA in

his nine outings since the start of May – all losses for San

Francisco (37-29).

Hernandez (4-5, 3.70 ERA) finds himself in a similar funk. In

his last six starts, the 2010 AL Cy Young winner has a 6.37 ERA,

causing his mark for the season to jump nearly two runs from

1.89.

“I’m tired of pitching like that,” he said after allowing five

runs, nine hits and three walks in Tuesday’s 5-4 loss to

offensively challenged San Diego. “I’ve got to do something about

this.”

As bad as things are going, Hernandez was in a similar position

at this point of the 2010 season. The right-hander had a 3.77 ERA

on June 8 before posting a 1.48 ERA the rest of the way to go on to

win the Cy Young.

His start against the Padres was his first in 11 days after he

left his outing against the Chicago White Sox on June 1 with a

stiff back. He didn’t blame his poor performance on the injury or

extended time between starts.

“I was fine. My body feels good,” Hernandez told the Mariners’

official website.

Seattle, which hasn’t won with Hernandez on the mound since May

21, snapped a six-game losing streak Saturday. After hitting .200

with 13 total runs during the skid, the Mariners got first-inning

homers from Casper Wells and Jesus Montero.

Montero finished with three of Seattle’s 12 hits, and Ichiro

Suzuki’s fifth-inning single brought him within one hit of 2,500

for his career.

“It was really nice to see us score some runs here at home and

put something together like we did tonight,” manager Eric Wedge

said.

While Seattle’s offense came to life against the struggling

Lincecum, it could revert to its sputtering ways when facing

Bumgarner (8-4, 3.08) for the first time.

In 7 2-3 innings against Houston on Tuesday, the left-hander

allowed two runs and six hits and also hit his first career home

run in a 6-3 victory. He walked none and struck out a season-high

12 for his third double-digit strikeout performance in his last

five starts.

This could spell trouble for Seattle, which ranks second in the

AL with 522 strikeouts.

Hernandez has a 3.21 ERA in winning his two career starts

against the Giants – he’s allowed four homers in 14 innings, though

– with the most recent meeting coming in 2009.

San Francisco’s Melky Cabrera, 3 for 11 lifetime against

Hernandez, had an RBI single Saturday after hitting a two-run homer

in Friday’s 4-2 win. He’s batting .417 over his last 25 games.