Toe the Rubber: Lincecum makes potential final start for Giants

Lincecum makes final start of season in rubber match vs. Dodgers

Toe the Rubber: Lincecum makes potential final start for Giants
September 26, 2013, 4:30 pm
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After signing a two-year, $40.5 million contract in 2012 Tim Lincecum has gone 20-29 with a 4.80 ERA in 64 starts. (AP)

Programming note: Giants-Dodgers coverage kicks off tonight at 6:30 p.m. with Giants Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California

While the NL West champion Los Angeles Dodgers have seen plenty of Tim Lincecum over the years, he could be making his final start in a San Francisco Giants uniform Thursday night.

Gearing up for their first playoff appearance in four seasons, the visiting Dodgers conclude a three-game set against Lincecum and the Giants.

Los Angeles (91-67) had won three in a row before falling 6-4 on Wednesday. Matt Kemp went 3 for 4 with two RBIs but Ricky Nolasco was outpitched by Barry Zito, who may have been making his final appearance with San Francisco (73-85), too.

The Giants now turn to Lincecum (10-14, 4.44 ERA), who is set to become a free agent at the end of this season. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner, who threw his first career no-hitter July 13, is 20-29 with a 4.80 ERA in 64 starts since signing a $40.5 million contract prior to last season.

"There's going to be a time when I'm going to have to weigh my options," he told MLB's official website. "I've had a great time here with the Giants. I respect the organization and stuff. With that we'll see if the relationship goes further or not. I can't say that exactly right now.

"I have to see what's on the table before I dismiss anything."

Lincecum is 4-1 with a 2.55 ERA in his last six starts versus Los Angeles. He is 4-1 with a 2.13 ERA in nine career home outings against the Dodgers, though he hasn't faced them in San Francisco this year.

Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez are a combined 19 for 94 (.202) with no homers and 34 strikeouts in their matchups.

Lincecum saw his season-high four-game winning streak come to an end Friday in a 5-1 loss at Yankee Stadium. The right-hander surrendered four runs in 6 2-3 innings and is now one loss away from matching his career high set last year.

Lincecum struck out six to surpass 1,500 for his career.

"It's cool, but at the end of the day, I lost. That's what I'm thinking about," he said.

The Dodgers counter with Edinson Volquez (9-12, 5.77), who allowed two runs over 6 1-3 innings in Friday's 2-0 loss at San Diego, his former team. The right-hander dropped to 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in four starts since signing with Los Angeles on Aug. 30.

He has struck out 22 in as many innings during those outings, and he could be auditioning for the postseason roster.

"You usually don't use a fifth starter in the playoffs, unless you have him in the bullpen," manager Don Mattingly said. "We'll see. We'll talk about that when we get to roster time."

The Dodgers also have a decision to make about Andre Ethier, who returned to Southern California on Wednesday to have his injured left ankle re-examined. It is unclear if Ethier will be ready for the NL division series starting next week.

"I think you're always making plans with different scenarios," Mattingly said. "I'm a little worried about him."

Kemp is batting .405 with two homers, four doubles and 10 RBIs in his last nine games at AT&T Park.

Los Angeles has dropped 10 of 18 to San Francisco this season, including four of the last five by a 34-14 margin.

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