Tim Lincecum has had no trouble keeping things in perspective during his most dominant stretch in four seasons.
The right-hander looks to win his fifth straight start Sunday when the visiting San Francisco Giants try to complete a three-game sweep by handing the Miami Marlins a seventh consecutive defeat.Lincecum's current run began when he no-hit San Diego on June 25. Including that outing, Lincecum (9-5, 3.66 ERA) has allowed one run and 10 hits over 30 1/3 innings during his first four-start win streak since opening 2010 at 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA."He just is in a good rhythm out there and he's throwing with a lot of confidence," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's been on a good roll."Lincecum, who allowed three hits in seven innings of a 5-0 victory over Arizona on July 11, is grateful for his current success and overall resurgence after three straight losing seasons."You never take it for granted while you're in it; you just try and ride it as long as you can," he told MLB's official website. "I'm going to ride this wave as long as it goes."The two-time Cy Young winner is surely hoping the wave won't crash versus Miami (44-52), which has been outscored 39-13 during its six-game slide.Lincecum went 2-0 with a 2.11 ERA in his first three starts against the Marlins, but is 0-2 with a 5.79 ERA in his last three. He allowed three runs in six innings of a 5-0 home loss to Miami on May 17.Pablo Sandoval had three hits and Hunter Pence added two with two RBIs as San Francisco (54-43) won its third in a row, 5-3 on Saturday. The NL West-leading Giants last swept a series at Miami in 2010.Sandoval is hitting .486 (18 for 37) with five doubles in his last nine games against the Marlins.Pence is batting .362 in his last 23 road games and .344 with five RBIs in his last seven overall versus Miami.Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton has homered in back-to-back contests. Three of his 23 home runs this season have come against the Giants."That's good, back-to-back homers," manager Mike Redmond said of Stanton, who is 3 for 25 in the last eight games. "Hopefully that gets him going. We definitely need him."Stanton is 3 for 11 with a triple and a homer versus Lincecum.Teammate Christian Yelich is batting .373 during a 12-game hitting streak, but went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts against Lincecum earlier this season.Miami's Brad Hand (0-2, 5.26) is 0-1 with a 3.52 ERA in three starts since missing a little more than a month with a sprained right ankle. The left-hander yielded three runs and six hits in four innings of a 9-1 road loss to the New York Mets last Sunday.Hand is 0-9 with a 5.93 ERA since his only win over 20 career starts on July 7, 2011, versus Houston. He's pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief against San Francisco.It's uncertain if Hand will need to worry about Brandon Belt, who exited the Giants lineup in the third inning Saturday due to dizziness. Belt had an RBI double in his only at-bat after going 0 for 5 during Friday's 9-1 victory.
Tim Lincecum is allowing a .167 batting average against his change-up this season, sixth-best in the NL amongst qualified pitchers. Christian Yelich is batting .083 against change-ups this year, fourth-worst in the majors amongst qualified batters.