Tim Lincecum: San Francisco Giants SP Takes on the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday Night

The San Francisco Giants (0-0) and Arizona Diamondbacks (0-0) will open the 2012 MLB season in an important National League West series on Friday night inside Chase Field.

San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks  

San Francisco Giants SP Tim Lincecum is 12-4 with a 2.38 ERA in 21 career games in April

San Francisco is primed to make another World Series run now that catcher Buster Posey has returned from a left ankle injury that cut his 2011 season short.  The Giants know that they will face a serious challenge in winning the division against tonight’s opponent.  “To start with them, that is going to create some interest, really, for both clubs,” commented Giants manager Bruce Bochy.  Overall, the club holds a 137-103 advantage in this series, but the two teams split 18 meetings a year ago.  San Francisco is 89-83 on the road the last two years.

Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum finished last year with a losing 13-14 with a 2.74 ERA in 33 starts a year ago.  The right-hander has tallied a solid 12-4 mark and 2.38 ERA in 21 career games in April, but went 2-2 with a 3.51 ERA in five outings in 2011.  Lincecum will be making his 19th career start versus the Diamondbacks, bringing in a 7-5 record and 2.95 ERA, as he’s allowed just six home runs in 125 innings.

Arizona exceeded expectations under manager Kirk Gibson a year ago, as the club will open at home for the ninth time in 15 years.  The Diamondbacks reached the playoffs due to tallying a major-league best 48 come-from-behind victories last year.  It was a tremendous year, winning the division by eight games over the second-place Giants, while posting a 51-30 home record.  The club’s 29-game turnaround from the previous year was tied for the third-best in the Major Leagues since 1998.  Arizona is 22-27 in April the last two years.

Diamondbacks starting pitcher Ian Kennedy can only hope to duplicate his success from last year, finishing with a dominating 21-4 record and 2.88 ERA.  The right-hander was 3-0 with a 1.22 ERA in five starts against the Giants a year ago, surrendering just 24 hits in 37 innings of work.  Kennedy is certainly known as a slower starter due to going 4-4 with a 5.09 ERA in 16 career games (15 starts) in April.  He finished the 2011 campaign with a flourish after the All-Star break, going 12-1 with a 2.11 ERA in 14 starts.

Bettors will likely back the Giants due to their 6-2 record in Lincecum’s last eight starts as a road underdog, while the Diamondbacks are 13-24 when the total is 7 or less.

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