The San Francisco Giants might be fading in the NL West race, but they're still in the thick of the wild-card hunt. Having Tim Lincecum take the mound could help them avoid losing a fourth consecutive game.
Lincecum will try to continue his success against the division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday in the conclusion of this three-game series at AT&T Park.The Giants (61-52) have lost four of five, getting outscored 18-5 in that stretch. They managed four hits and lost 9-1 to the Dodgers (69-45) on Tuesday, a night after dropping the series opener 4-2.San Francisco has fallen to third in the West, 6 1/2 games back of the league-best Dodgers. However, the Giants are only one game behind Colorado for the wild card.With a win, Lincecum (12-3, 2.20 ERA) can move into a tie with New York's Johan Santana and Adam Wainwright of St. Louis for the league lead.The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner is 3-0 with a 2.70 ERA in five career games -- four starts -- against the Dodgers, with two of those victories coming at home. He helped the Giants to a win May 10, allowing four runs with eight strikeouts in six innings of a 7-5, 13-inning victory at Los Angeles.Lincecum is 7-1 with a 1.97 ERA in 12 home starts -- including a 2-0 mark and 0.75 ERA in his last three -- but he didn't get much help from the bullpen in Friday's 10-5 loss to Cincinnati.He yielded three runs with seven strikeouts in seven innings before four relievers combined to get tagged for seven runs in the next two."We're spoiled with Timmy," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He left the game with the lead, he threw seven solid innings. That's a pretty good effort."The Giants haven't been swept at home by Los Angeles since July 13-15, 2007.The Dodgers appear to be back on track after having lost four of five entering this series, and Manny Ramirez is playing a key role. The left fielder had two hits, including a homer, with three RBIs on Tuesday, giving him seven hits in the last three games. He's hitting .319 with 13 homers and 44 RBIs on the season, while posting a .429 average in eight games against San Francisco."When you play 162 games, things like this are going to happen. We're fine," Ramirez said. "We've still got two months to go, so it doesn't matter if we come here and win three or lose two. We've still got to push it 'til the end."The Dodgers will give Jeff Weaver (5-4, 3.90) a spot start in place of Chad Billingsley, who is nursing a left hamstring strain."I'm always skittish when it comes to a pitcher with leg problems," manager Joe Torre told the Dodgers' official Web site. "Until he competes, you have to be concerned. But it's not a full-blown hamstring or we would have disabled him. They have this new treatment injecting platelets and it seems to help."Weaver is 2-1 with a 3.47 ERA in five starts this season, but has been used out of the bullpen in his other 15 appearances. The right-hander hasn't started since July 11, when he allowed four runs and six hits with three walks before getting pulled with one out in the fourth inning of a 6-3 loss at Milwaukee.Weaver was solid opposite Lincecum on May 10, allowing three runs and three hits in five innings.