No matter what time of year or what the situation, when the San Francisco Giants play the Los Angeles Dodgers it's deadly serious. And when you add the matchup of Tim Lincecum vs. Clayton Kershaw, the stakes raise just that much higher.
San Francisco currently is 3.5 games back in the NL wild card and 5.5 back in the NL West, looking to make a improbable playoff berth after going 11-18 in the month of August to free fall out of the postseason race temporarily. They've come storming back in September though, sporting an 11-5 record and a eight game win streak as they get ready to take on the Dodgers for the playoff livelihood:
"It's Giants-Dodgers, yeah, but we're in a situation now where we've got to win every game," Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong said. "If we don't win [in Los Angeles], then going into Arizona means nothing. And they're playing well. It's going to be a tough series."
The G-Men were 9.5 back of Arizona in the West and 8.5 behind Atlanta in the Wild Card before their winning streak, their longest since a 10 game streak from May 20-31, 2004, scoring six or more runs in six of their eight straight wins. What a difference a few weeks make.
Tuesday will also see the fourth Lincecum v. Kershaw matchup this season, with Kershaw looking like a leading candidate for the Cy Young this year. Sporting a 19-5 record, Kershaw hasn't allowed an earned run in four of his list six outings, and has a career 1.26 ERA against the Black and Orange. Lincecum on the other hand hasn't won any of the previous three meetings with Kershaw this year, despite a 0.82 ERA in those games. He'll be out to build on his last outing against the Padres, throwing seven strong innings of scoreless ball for his 13th win of the season.
First pitch is set for 7:10 pm PT with coverage on CSN Bay Area and KNBR 680 AM.
For more on the Giants, head over to McCovey Chronicles.