The Giants look to overcome their road woes as they open a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.
Right-hander Tim Lincecum, on two days’ rest, will pitch Friday’s game in Pittsburgh, according to the Giants’ plan. Lincecum threw two innings in Tuesday’s All-Star Game in St. Louis, laboring at first but retiring his final five batters. He started the game, based on his 10-2 record and 2.33 ERA. Before Tuesday, he previously pitched July 9 against the Padres. Paul Maholm gets the starting nod for Pittsburgh.
Maholm is 3-1 with a 2.96 ERA in seven home starts this season. He won his last outing before the break on the road, holding Houston to two runs over six innings of a 6-3 victory July 7.
Maholm is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in four starts against the Giants, who are batting .179 (7 for 39) with one home run and eight strikeouts against left-handers since June 27.
Do the Giants need a hitter?
Most people outside the organization think so. Even Jeff Borris, Barry Bonds’ agent, spoke out once again during the All-Star break, saying his client is waiting and willing: “I know the Giants are dying for power, and they’re in it. They wouldn’t have to look beyond their backyard.”
In reality, the Giants—who play their first game after the All-Star break Friday night in Pittsburgh—might prefer Barry Manilow to Barry Bonds.
But they also realize another hitter could make a big difference in the Giants’ pursuit of the playoffs. They currently have the best record among second-place teams, meaning they’re leading the wild-card race. Whether that lasts could come down to the Giants’ desire to aggressively chase offensive help.
Tim Lincecum said it’s not as easy as it sounds.
“Right now, I think we’re really meshing well with the team we have,” he said. “To make significant movement like that, it might mess up the chemistry of the team.”
It could improve it, too.
• LHP Jonathan Sanchez, who threw the Giants’ first no-hitter in 33 years in his last start, won’t appear in the Pirates series. But another Sanchez, Freddy, will. Freddy Sanchez is the Pittsburgh second baseman who’s trade bait and of interest to the Giants, who have Jonathan Sanchez as a trade chip. If a Sanchez-for-Sanchez deal at all is in the works, it could be easier to swing with the teams playing each other.
• Sue Burns, 58, the Giants’ principal owner, is gravely ill, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle. She was diagnosed with cancer this week. Burns is the widow of Harmon E. Burns, who died at 61 in 2006.
• LHP Randy Johnson expects to miss three weeks with a left shoulder strain, according to Giants manager Bruce Bochy. Johnson will continue his rehab over the All-Star break and be checked when he returns, but if all continues to go well, the Giants could be looking at getting him back in the rotation in early August. That could make for an interesting rotation decision considering how well rookie Ryan Sadowski has been pitching and considering that Jonathan Sanchez threw a no-hitter after replacing Johnson in the rotation.
By The Numbers: 8—The most innings LHP Jonathan Sanchez had pitched in a game in his major league career until his no-hitter on July 10.
Quote To Note: “I waited for a while, let everybody else clear out and had a little cry. It was wonderful.”—Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti, on his reaction after Jonathan Sanchez’s no-hitter.
• RHP Matt Cain is scheduled to start Sunday in Pittsburgh. He exited his last start in the second inning after taking a liner off his right elbow, and he was forced to bow out of the All-Star Game, though he attended the festivities in St. Louis. The pitcher who took his All-Star roster spot, Pittsburgh RHP Zach Duke, will be Sunday’s opposing pitcher.
• C Buster Posey, a first-round pick in 2008, was promoted from Class A San Jose to Class AAA Fresno. The Giants decided to have their top hitting prospect skip Class AA because of his maturity at San Jose, where he hit .326 with 13 homers, 58 RBIs, 45 walks, 45 strikeouts and a .967 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 80 games.
RHP Matt Cain (bruised right arm) left the July 11 game. He missed the All-Star Game, but he is expected to start July 19.
LHP Randy Johnson (strained left shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list July 6. He is expected to miss three weeks.
RHP Kelvin Pichardo (strained right shoulder) was recalled from the minors and placed on the 60-day disabled list June 29.
RHP Joe Martinez (concussion, hairline fractures in skull) went on the 15-day disabled list April 10, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 21. He began a rehab assignment with Class A San Jose on June 25.
LHP Noah Lowry (left forearm surgery in March 2008, left elbow surgery in September 2008) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 27, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 24. He had surgery May 19 to remove a rib, and he is likely out for the season.