Lincecum's Cy-bid takes a hit

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Just as the Giants’ continue to fade in the playoff race, Tim Lincecum’s Cy Young chances took a severe hit on Sunday,
as he was knocked around for five runs over four innings, his worst
start since May. It was another pedestrian start on the road for
Lincecum, who has some interesting splits in his 2009 campaign:

Home: 9-1 with a 1.79 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and zero home runs allowed in 15 starts spanning 110 1/3 innings.

5-5 with a 3.21 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 10 home runs allowed in 15 starts
spanning 101 innings. Lincecum is 0-4 with a 5.90 ERA over his last
four starts on the road.

With Sunday’s poor outing, Lincecum
(2.47) fell behind Chris Carpenter (2.34) for the National League ERA
lead. He still leads the National League in strikeouts (247) and
complete games (four), but 15 wins might not be enough when Adam
Wainwright has 18. It’s still an impressive season by any measure, but
this year’s Cy Young is likely coming out of St. Louis.

Mike Fiers may not be ready for start of regular season due to back issue

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Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports that Tigers starter Mike Fiers is dealing with a back issue and may not be ready for the start of the season. Manager Ron Gardenhire characterized the injury as a “stiff back” and added, “Maybe a little bit of a bulging disk or something like that.”

Fiers, 32, signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Tigers in December. He has had a forgettable spring, yielding 12 runs on 10 hits and eight walks with seven strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings.

Fiers had a rotation spot locked up along with Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann, and Francisco Liriano. Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris were battling it out for the No. 5 spot. If Fiers opens the regular season on the 10-day disabled list, both could have spots in the rotation.