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Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Giants' Wilson returning to 2010 form

By Kenton Wong

Brian Wilson had a dominant 2010, leading the major leagues with 48 saves to go with a 1.81 ERA and 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings.

In 2011, Wilson’s ERA has grown as fast as his beard. His ERA is 3.38 with a 1.67-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Since taking over as the Giants' full-time closer in 2008, Wilson has never finished a season with a ratio under 2.

Part of Wilson’s inflated ERA can be chalked up to rust. After starting the season on the disabled list with a strained oblique muscle, Wilson gave up five earned runs in 1⅓ innings in his first two appearances. Since then, he has allowed just four runs (see chart).

Wilson still is walking hitters -- especially left-handers -- at a higher rate than last season. He’s already walked 10 left-handed hitters this season in 52 at-bats after walking 18 in 126 at-bats last season.

As for the Giants' starter on Wednesday, Tim Lincecum comes into the game having allowed no runs in three of his five starts in May. For his career, Lincecum is 5-1 with a 2.33 ERA in six starts against the Cardinals.

Tim Lincecum
Lincecum
Lincecum might have to be that sharp, since Giants starting pitchers have been receiving very little run support. Offensively, the Giants are tied with the Minnesota Twins and San Diego Padres for the fewest runs scored this season.

And with a team batting average of .240 (13th in the National League), it’s not a surprise that the Giants' starting pitchers receive only 2.6 runs of support while in the game. Only the Padres' and Seattle Mariners' starters receive less run support.