PIT: Paul Maholm (6-4) 4.63 ERA. SFO: Tim Lincecum (10-3) 2.45 ERA.
After a dreadful 3-7 road trip against Pittsburgh, Atlanta and NL West rival Colorado, the Giants finally come back home hoping to avenge the two losses they were handed back a week ago at PNC Park after the All-Star break. The Pirates certainly are a different team on the road, as their 17-34 record indicates. To make things more enticing in the Giants favor, the men in black and orange have been hard to beat at home as well, illustrated by a 31-14 record at AT&T Park.
It will definitely be interesting this game mainly because of the Freddy Sanchez rumors going into this series. With the trade deadline on Friday, it is certainly plausible to believe that Sanchez may not leave San Francisco when this series is done, ala Doug Mientkiwiciz, who swapped locker room after the Twins finished their series with Boston. Granted, nothing has been confirmed yet, but even yesterday in SJ Mercury Giants beat writer, Andrew Baggarly's blog, he mentioned that it was highly possible that Sanchez would switch uniforms either before the series started or was over. The Giants certainly could use Sanchez to solidify things at second base, but with the Twins also contenders for his services, you can't say for sure he'll be a Giant just yet.
As with every Lincecum start, I'm extremely excited for this one. I'm excited mainly because I think Lincecum is upset after his last couple of outings, which have been good, but characterized by lack of run support and rare, but big mistakes (e.g. multi-run homers). Usually, when he is coming off a stretch like that, he usually musters his best stuff up, especially while at home. Furthermore, with a Giants team that I think is embarrassed by their last offensive outing against Maholm, this game has all the making of a blowout in favor of the Giants.
Granted, that may just be wishful thinking, but I just have that feeling with the "Freak" on the hill and the team coming back from a long, painful road trip, this could be a night where the Giants simply have one of their better performances. This team definitely has a different vibe when they're playing at home than on the road so far this year, and hopefully that can continue in the second half of the season.
Or they could continue the crappy play in the second half. Who knows. It's certainly hard to predict anything with this Giants team.
For game updates check out the SJ Mercury's Andrew Baggarly's Giants blog at Extra Baggs. For live game thread and chat, check out the McCovey Chronicles.