Sept. 20, 2011
GIANTS PAGE GIANTS VIDEO
That it's Giants-Dodgers in late September, with at least one of the teams still clinging to playoff hopes, makes it compelling enough.That it's Tim Lincecum-Clayton Kershaw, each with something of serious consequence at stake, makes it marquee.Kershaw, a clear frontrunner for the National League Cy Young Award, will be gunning for his 20th win of the year Tuesday night as his Dodgers host the Giants in the opener of a three-game series at Chavez Ravine. The last time the Dodgers had a 20-game winner? Rewind all the way to 1990 when Ramon Martinez turned the trick.What's more, Kershaw will be trying to become the first Dodgers hurler to go 5-0 against the Giants in a season since 1946, when both teams were battling for supremacy in the game's golden age in Gotham.Or did you forget the great Vic Lombardi?
Then there's this, yet another sign of Kershaw's dominance: He's 10-0 with a 1.46 ERA over his past 13 starts at home.He's also beaten Lincecum three times this year, but don't lay that on Lincecum, whose ERA in those games is 0.82. Trouble is, Kershaw's ERA in those games is 0.39.Talk about a clash of the titans. That's a total of three earned runs over 55 innings. Despite the Cy Young implications, Tuesday's game is even more meaningful for Lincecum because there's a team element to it. The Dodgers aren't going anywhere but home after their last game of the regular season, and the Giants still have a shot at going to the playoffs. That -- not snapping his losing streak to Kershaw -- is all that Lincecum really cares about.He almost certainly also cares about erasing the memory of two sub-standard starts that came in the midst of the slide that put the Giants in such a precarious postseason position.A two-time Cy Young winner and 2010 postseason MVP as the recipient of the little-known Babe Ruth Award, Lincecum prides himself -- and has proven himself -- as a pitcher who comes up big when his club needs him the most, and on consecutive starts at home, Aug. 29 vs. the Cubs and Sept. 3 vs. the Diammonbacks, he gave up five earned runs each time, going five innings against Chicago and six against the Snakes.Think that doesn't rankle him still? He's sure pitched like it ever since, allowing two runs over 15 innings in gems against the Dodgers and Padres.Beat Kershaw? Yeah, that's be nice. But that's a secondary concern. First and foremost among the Freak's goals Tuesday night is a far more familiar refrain: "Beat L.A."