Nationals-Giants Preview

Tim Lincecum may be a two-time NL Cy Young Award winner, but he

hasn’t defeated the Washington Nationals in three years.

The San Francisco Giants ace is also trying to rebound from one

of his worst performances of the season in the opener of this

three-game series against the Nationals at AT&T Park on Monday

night.

Since 2008, Lincecum (5-4, 2.59 ERA) leads the NL in wins (54)

and the majors in strikeouts (845) while compiling a 2.80 ERA and

limiting opponents to a .223 average.

Only one of those victories, however, have come against

Washington (26-33), which has the worst record in baseball since

2008 at 213-331.

The hard-throwing right-hander last beat the Nationals on June

6, 2008, allowing one run in seven innings. He’s 0-2 with a 5.50

ERA while striking out 19 and walking seven in 18 innings in three

meetings since, and lost the latest April 29, when he yielded three

runs and seven hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings while

the Giants (33-26) were five-hit by Jason Marquis in a 3-0

defeat.

Lincecum is 2-0 with a 3.22 ERA in three starts entering this

matchup with Washington, but he may not have much momentum after a

sloppy effort in a 7-5, 11-inning win at St. Louis on Wednesday. He

matched his season high by allowing five runs while equaling his

career high of 10 hits with two wild pitches and nine strikeouts in

6 1-3 innings.

“Pitchers pride themselves on shutout innings after you get a

lead and I just didn’t do that,” said Lincecum, who is five

strikeouts shy of becoming the eighth pitcher to reach 1,000 in his

first five seasons.

San Francisco has won seven of nine home meetings with the

Nationals, but was outscored 11-4 while losing three of four in the

nation’s capital from April 29-May 2.

The Giants, winners of four of five, are 2-1 on this 10-game

homestand after beating Colorado 2-1 on Sunday.

Washington’s 12-21 road record is the worst in the NL, while its

.224 average ranks last in baseball.

Despite those struggles, the Nationals beat Arizona 9-4 in 11

innings Sunday to split a four-game series that opened an 11-game

road swing.

Washington gives the ball to John Lannan (3-5, 4.05), who is 0-3

with an 8.24 ERA over his last four away starts while getting just

five total runs of support.

The offense’s troubles are the main reason the left-hander still

seeks his first win against the Giants. He’s 0-1 with a 1.98 ERA in

two starts, but has been backed by one run in each contest.

That was the theme April 30, when he was the hard-luck loser

while yielding two runs in 6 2-3 innings of a 2-1 loss.

He’s received three total runs over his last two games,

undermining his impressive performances while allowing an unearned

run and six hits in 13 innings.