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Facing Lincecum: Cubs vs. Giants Preview, Friday 9/25, 9:15 CT

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The last time the Cubs faced Tim Lincecum, on May 5 at Wrigley Field, Lou sent onto the field a makeshift lineup that included Joey Gathright leading off in CF (the only game he started as a Cub), Kosuke Fukudome batting third, Micah Hoffpauir hitting fifth, and Aaron Miles starting at SS and batting second (surprisingly enough, he actually worked a walk off Lincecum).

I really have no idea why Lou did this; maybe he was thinking "we're going to lose this game anyway to this pitcher, so I'll give my regulars some rest". And you know what, the spring training style lineup might have actually worked if Sean Marshall hadn't given up a three-run homer to Bengie Molina in the first inning. After that, Marshall settled down and matched Lincecum well for the next six innings; each of them allowed a pair of runs between the second and the seventh.

Tonight, there will be a few sub Cubs in the lineup again (see below), but this time out of necessity due to injuries and several other factors. With Carlos Zambrano on the mound, maybe this time, the Cubs can beat Lincecum; they have done so only once before, on August 21, 2007, and that was primarily the fault of the Giants' bullpen, though Jason Marquis matched up well with Lincecum that night. I was at that game in San Francisco; here's the recap I wrote the next day.

There are only three visiting teams that have a winning record at AT&T Park. Believe it or not, last night the Cubs (now 17-16) joined the Dodgers (43-38) and, amazingly, the Pirates (15-14) on that very short list. (Hat tip to BCB reader bison for the link.)

Lineup via Twittermyer:

Fukudome, rf; Theriot, ss; Ramirez, 3b; Hoffpauir, 1b; Baker, 2b; Scales, lf; Hill, c; Fuld, cf; Zambrano, p

Paul Sullivan asks whether the Giants might be a good match for Milton Bradley in an offseason trade and posits whether Aaron Rowand would be a good return:

... both GMs are motivated sellers, and a Rowand-Bradley deal would not be out of the realm of possibility. Rowand has three years and $36 million left on his contract, while Bradley has $21 million and two years left on his deal. Obviously more players would have to be involved, unless the Giants were willing to pay the Cubs around half of the $15 million difference in the contracts.

Well. Rowand has had a mediocre year (and looked awful striking out against Carlos Marmol last night) and is two years removed from his fine offensive season with the Phillies. But he is an outstanding center fielder; getting him would allow the Cubs to move Kosuke Fukudome back to RF (perhaps he could platoon with Reed Johnson there?) and maybe Rowand has one more good year left in him. Maybe some of the difference in salaries could be made up by asking the Giants to take Aaron Miles in return, too. If a deal like this were made, the Giants would probably have to leave Bradley home during any series at Wrigley Field. It's not the only option or even the best one, but it might be worth considering.

Finally, for the third day in a row, I found a fun photo for which I'll run another caption contest. Prize again is a DVD of "Chasing October". Previous winners can enter, but can't win again (ballhawk and KaliCub, who won last night for this entry).

Today's Starting Pitchers
Carlos Zambrano
Carlos Zambrano
Cubs
vs. Tim Lincecum
Tim Lincecum
Giants
8-6 W-L 14-6
3.91 ERA 2.47
138 SO 247
73 BB 63
10 HR 10
vs. SF -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Carlos Zambrano 8-6 33 26 0 0 0 0 154.1 147 74 67 10 73 138 3.91 1.43


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Tim Lincecum 14-6 31 30 4 2 0 0 211.1 160 65 58 10 63 247 2.47 1.06

The crack in Tim Lincecum's armor might be his recent performance. Is he tiring at the end of a long season? In his last six starts he's a pedestrian 3-2, 3.69 with 20 walks in 39 innings. Maybe the Cubs can wait him out and get on base via walks tonight. The more pitches you make him throw, the quicker the Cubs can get into SF's bullpen. Derrek Lee is 6-for-16 (.375) with a pair of doubles vs. Lincecum, but he won't be starting tonight. And maybe someday, Lincecum will look like he's older than 15.

Carlos Zambrano hasn't faced the Giants since 2007, when they had quite a different-looking lineup than today's, on August 23, 2007. Z threw OK that day, but allowed his opposing pitcher, Matt Cain, to hit a two-run homer. Overall Z is 4-1, 3.40 in seven career starts vs. the Giants, and has not lost (3-0) in six road starts (2.76) since the All-Star break. Edgar Renteria (12-for-31, .387) and Randy Winn (6-for-11, two doubles, a HR) have hit Z well.

Today's game is CSN-centric; Chicago and Bay Area. In Chicago it'll be on CSN Plus, so "check local listings" for the channel on your system (CLTV in Chicago and 285 for the HD version if you have Comcast in the city). For other games today see the MLB.com Mediacenter.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Giants site McCovey Chronicles. Grant, who runs the site, is one of SBN's best writers.

Overflow comment threads will post today at 10:15 and 11:15 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.