Atlanta Braves at San Francisco Giants Series Preview

Lincecum hasn't been very Lincecum-y in 2012.

No Melky? No problem so far for the Giants. Since the 2012 All-Star Game MVP was suspended for a positive PED test, the Giants are 5-2 and have opened a 2.5-game lead in the NL West; they have won eight of their last 11 games.

The Giants added three new faces since they last faced the Braves, trading for Hunter Pence and Marco Scutaro right before the July 31 deadline and claiming lefty reliever Jose Mijares off waivers in early August. Scutaro, in 25 games with his new team, has hit .337 with 18 RBI and has struck out a grand total of six times. Conversely, Pence is hitting just .193 in 21 games with the Giants, striking out 22 times. Scutaro isn't the only Giants hitter with a hot bat. Angel Pagan has hits in 10 of his last 11 games, hitting .375 in that stretch with five multi-hit games among his last six and Joaquin Arias has nine hits in his last 16 at-bats.

But let's not forget he who was out! Buster Posey has been the hottest Giants hitter this month, hitting .375 and slugging .719 with 18 RBI in August. He was unavailable for Wednesday's game with a sore hamstring muscle, so whether or not he plays will depend on the severity of the injury.

The Braves will see Tim Lincecum for the first time this year and he has been trying to salvage what has been an ugly year for him. His walk rate (10.2%) is the highest since his rookie year, his strikeout rate (23.2%) is the lowest of his career and has already given up as many home runs as he did all of last year. However, Lincecum has put up more respectable numbers since the All-Star Break, posting a 3.10 ERA in his last eight starts with 47 strikeouts.

Since the Break, San Francisco's best starter has been Madison Bumgarner. He's held hitters to a .174 average with 61 strikeouts in 56 innings, leading the team with a 1.93 ERA. In August, he's only walked three in 30 innings with a 1.55 ERA. While Bumgarner has been their best pitcher this month, Ryan Vogelsong has been hit hard. Still among the top 10 in the NL in ERA, Vogelsong has given up 15 runs in four August starts, 11 of them over his last two.

Atlanta will miss Matt Cain again but will not avoid Barry Zito, who seems to give the Braves fits despite what his overall season stats may say. This would be his first start against Atlanta in San Francisco.

San Francisco's bullpen is squarely in the middle of the NL with a 3.75 ERA. Sergio Romo continues to be the most effective reliever for the Giants with a 2.13 ERA, setting up for Santiago Casilla and his 24 saves and 3.20 ERA. Romo has struck out 10 in just 6.2 innings in August.

Pitching matchups after the jump.

Thursday, August 23, 10:15 p.m. ET

Tommy Hanson

#48 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves

6-6

220

R

R

Aug 28, 1986

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Tommy Hanson 12-5 23 23 0 0 0 0 132.2 135 66 63 20 56 119 4.27 1.44

Barry Zito

#75 / Pitcher / San Francisco Giants

6-2

205

L

L

May 13, 1978

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Barry Zito 9-8 24 24 1 1 0 0 138.1 135 74 68 18 58 79 4.42 1.40


Friday, August 24, 10:15 p.m. ET

Ben Sheets

#30 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves

6-1

220

R

R

Jul 18, 1978

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Ben Sheets 4-3 7 7 0 0 0 0 44.0 43 17 15 6 10 31 3.07 1.20

Ryan Vogelsong

#32 / Pitcher / San Francisco Giants

6-4

215

R

R

Jul 22, 1977

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Ryan Vogelsong 10-7 23 23 0 0 0 0 148.2 128 49 47 10 51 117 2.85 1.20


Saturday, August 25, 4:05 p.m. ET

Mike Minor

#36 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves

6-3

210

R

L

Dec 26, 1987

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Mike Minor 6-10 23 23 0 0 0 0 136.2 127 78 72 24 46 109 4.74 1.27

Madison Bumgarner

#40 / Pitcher / San Francisco Giants

6-5

225

R

L

Aug 01, 1989

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Madison Bumgarner 14-7 25 25 2 1 0 0 171.2 138 60 54 18 32 160 2.83 0.99


Sunday, August 26, 8:00 p.m. ET

Tim Hudson

#15 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves

6-1

175

R

R

Jul 14, 1975

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Tim Hudson 12-4 21 21 1 1 0 0 134.0 124 59 55 9 39 82 3.69 1.22

Tim Lincecum

#55 / Pitcher / San Francisco Giants

5-11

165

L

R

Jun 15, 1984

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Tim Lincecum 7-13 26 26 0 0 0 0 146.0 150 89 86 15 66 151 5.30 1.48
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