Mets-Giants Preview

It appears to be an uncharacteristically poor first half of the

season for Tim Lincecum based solely on his record. A deeper look

at the numbers, though, shows the San Francisco Giants’ ace is not

entirely to blame.

Lincecum will try to head into the All-Star break on a positive

note as he takes the ball for the Giants on Saturday night against

the New York Mets, who have been getting very strong pitching on

the road from Chris Capuano.

In the first halves from 2007-10, Lincecum received 4.86 runs of

support per nine innings while going 34-10 with a 2.99 ERA. This

year, Lincecum (6-7, 3.14 ERA) has seen his support slashed to 3.22

runs per nine innings as several key players were lost to

injury.

Included in that group are Pablo Sandoval, who was out for six

weeks in May and June with a broken hand, and 2010 NL rookie of the

year and catcher Buster Posey, lost for the year in May with a

broken leg suffered in a gruesome collision at home plate.

Lincecum has received no support in four of his last six starts,

including Monday’s 5-3 loss to San Diego. The right-hander labored

through five innings, giving up three runs and seven hits.

“I didn’t feel like I had a good rhythm or energy, but that’s

the excuse I seem to give every time,” the two-time NL Cy Young

Award winner said. “I fell behind hitters and every pitch seemed

difficult instead of cruising. … You have to grind through it. I

didn’t grind hard enough. … It was a pretty bad outing all the

way around.”

However, Lincecum is headed to his fourth All-Star game next

week in Phoenix after being selected by his manager Bruce Bochy,

the NL skipper.

In his only previous start against the Mets, Lincecum threw

seven scoreless innings and fanned 12 in a 2-0 win May 4 at Citi

Field.

Riding a four-start winning streak on the road, Capuano (8-7,

4.19) will try to earn his first victory at AT&T Park.

After losing at Yankee Stadium on May 21, the left-hander has

surrendered eight runs in 24 innings. Despite claiming he didn’t

have his best stuff, Capuano held the Dodgers to two runs and six

hits in six innings of a 5-2 win in Los Angeles on Monday.

“Sometimes you get a little off with your mechanics and you just

have to try to find what’s working that day and try to go with it,”

he said.

Capuano is 0-3 with a 6.11 ERA in four games, including two

starts, in San Francisco. He hasn’t taken the mound there since

Aug. 24, 2007, when he took the loss while with Milwaukee.

New York (46-43) opened this series with a 5-2 win Friday. Pinch

hitter Scott Hairston’s solo homer in the ninth inning off All-Star

closer Brian Wilson snapped a 2-all tie, and Carlos Beltran and

Nick Evans added RBI singles as the Mets improved to 5-1 with Jose

Reyes out due to a hamstring injury.

“I don’t think there’s any question we’re exceeding

expectations,” Mets manager Terry Collins said.

Nate Schierholtz had a homer and sacrifice fly for the Giants

(50-40). Sandoval, who extended his career-best hitting streak to

19 games with a double, has a single in his only at-bat against

Capuano.