Instead of anticipating another tantalizing matchup between NL
West aces, Ubaldo Jimenez and Tim Lincecum both enter their latest
duel desperate for a victory.
Recent results have been especially troubling for Lincecum, who
spent August losing a career-worst five consecutive starts for the
San Francisco Giants.
Jimenez, meanwhile, will take his fifth shot at a
franchise-record 18th win as the Colorado Rockies try to take the
three-game series at AT&T Park on Wednesday night.
Lincecum (11-9, 3.80 ERA) has won the last two NL Cy Young
Awards, and Jimenez (17-5, 2.71) has pitched like a contender for
that honor for much of this season.
Both right-handers, though, have been frustrated lately –
particularly Lincecum, who is eager to begin a new month after
going 0-5 with a 7.82 ERA in five August starts. He has already set
a career high in losses.
“I’m pretty ready for (September),” Lincecum said after Friday’s
6-0 loss to Arizona. “This has been one of those things you have to
take with a punch and just roll with it. It’s not fun to go
through. You have to fight through it. The last thing I want to do
is give up or give in to what’s going on now.”
Lincecum won’t be satisfied with another September like last
year, when he was 1-3 with a 3.60 ERA, his worst month in terms of
both record and ERA.
His Dominican counterpart hasn’t been pitching poorly, but
Jimenez is 0-3 in four outings – all quality starts – since
matching Colorado’s single-season record for wins Aug. 4 against
San Francisco. During that stretch, Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia
has taken the major league lead in victories.
Minimal run support and bullpen problems have plagued Jimenez
lately. He led 1-0 entering the eighth inning Friday against the
Dodgers, but gave up three runs before departing Colorado’s 6-2
“I don’t even think about No. 18,” Jimenez said. “I want to
find a way to keep the game close. I just want to win.”
Jimenez is 2-0 against the Giants this season, including a
four-hitter in a 4-0 road win over Lincecum on May 31, but he also
gave up a season-high seven runs to San Francisco on July 3, with
Travis Ishikawa’s grand slam providing the biggest blow.
Lincecum and Jimenez have often brought out the best in each
other. Each pitched seven shutout innings in a 1-0 Colorado win
June 11, 2008, and they traded low-scoring victories in a six-day
span in August 2009.
Each team hopes its ace can deliver a helpful victory in the
The Giants (73-60) pulled within four games of NL West-leading
San Diego and remained 1 1/2 games behind Philadelphia for the wild
card after Tuesday’s 5-2 victory, breaking a late tie when Andres
Torres’ home run sparked a three-run rally in the bottom of the
“That was kind of a gut-check,” catcher Buster Posey said. “Guys
came back and fought hard. That’s what we’re going to have to
It has still been a somewhat disappointing nine-game homestand
for San Francisco, which is 4-4 entering Wednesday’s finale.
The Rockies (69-62), who won the series opener 2-1, have a
chance to win their first road series since June 28-30 at San
Diego. Since the All-Star break, they’ve gone 8-18 away from home,
losing six of their seven road series and splitting a four-game set
Colorado faces a tougher climb than does San Francisco in order
to reach the postseason, trailing the Padres by seven games and the
Phillies by 4 1/2.