The fact that the A’s have won eight of their past nine games and the Giants have lost their past two games, both in a rather uninspiring fashion, is bad enough for the team from San Francisco entering the Bay Bridge Series.
Throw in the fact that the Giants haven’t won in Oakland since 2009, and the club has a reason to be concerned, still four games behind the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West, even after the A’s completed a three-game sweep of those Dodgers on Thursday.
“It just depends on which way the flow is going and which way the mojo is going that day,” Tim Lincecum said of the Giants’ six-game losing streak against the A’s in Oakland. “Obviously, we’re bouncing back and forth [across] the Bay to play them and that environment in San Francisco and Oakland creates that rivalry. It’s not necessarily a pressing game, but it is important and it’s important to the fans.”
If anyone in the Giants’ rotation needs a solid start, it’s Lincecum, who will take the ball in Game 1 of the series today, but has the highest ERA in the majors (6.19) among pitchers with enough innings to qualify.
The Giants have lost Lincecum’s last nine starts, including a 6-2 defeat to the A’s on May 20 in San Francisco, when he allowed four earned runs in just four innings.
“Every time you get to pitch there’s a new chance to make something else happen and to come out of what I’m going through,” Lincecum said. “I’m just going to try to keep positive.” Beyond Lincecum, the Giants will start Madison Bumgarner in Game 2 and Matt Cain in Game 3, who both have sub-3 ERAs and have a combined record of 17-6.
“We’ve got to find a way to get back on track and we need to do that in Oakland,” Cain said. “I don’t really know exactly what it is, but obviously in the past years we haven’t done so well over there so I need to change that.”
The A’s will counter with starters Jarrod Parker (2.82 ERA), Tyson Ross (6.11 ERA) and Brandon McCarthy (2.54 ERA), but the Giants’ normally stout pitching staff has allowed nearly five runs per game in their past three interleague series and allowed 21 runs in their last series on the road against the Angels, the highest total of the season for a three-game series.