Sometimes even the great ones have a rough patch. We'll see an illustration of this when the San Francisco Giants play the Mariners in Seattle on Saturday. San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum is a two-time Cy Young award winner and a four-time All-Star, but his pitching mechanics are completely off right now. As a result, neither his accuracy nor his knack for getting good late life on this pitches are there. He’s 2-7 with a 6.00 ERA and there’s nothing in his recent performances to suggest he’s about to get out of that funk: in his past two outings he’s given up nine runs and 14 hits in 11 2/3 innings.
The Mariners’ Kevin Millwood is coming off throwing six innings of a combined no-hitter and has a respectable 3.57 ERA. Millwood did leave his last start with a small groin problem, but that isn’t expected to keep him out here as the Mariners, on at 1.95, should prevail over the Giants at 1.85.
The combination of two pitchers on form plus two substandard offences should result in a low-scorer when the Pittsburgh Pirates visit the Cleveland Indians. The Indians’ Ubaldo Jimenez has suffered through a bumpy season but provided flashes in his last outing of what made him a star when he pitched for the Colorado Rockies. He conceded one run and just five hits in seven innings of work. More importantly, he showed excellent control (he didn’t walk a batter) and the ability to get swings and misses (seven strikeouts).
His pitching opponent, AJ Burnett, also recently proved his ability to bounce back; in his most recent display, he had a no-hitter going into the sixth inning. All told, not including one horrible performance against the St. Louis Cardinal on May 2 (he gave up 12 runs that day), Burnett’s ERA in 2012 is 1.96. The Indians’ lineup has been below the American League average in runs scored this year and the Pirates are dead last in the National League. Look for under 8.0 runs at 1.85 rather than the over at 1.95.