Lincecum lifted after being struck with a line drive

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Giants starter Tim Lincecum was hit in the back of the right shoulder by a line drive on Wednesday afternoon and was removed from his start against the Orioles.

He crouched in pain after the initial blow, but eventually stood up and headed to the clubhouse under his own power.  Lincecum fanned 10 batters and improved to 7-2 on the season, but he allowed eight hits to a bad Orioles team while also walking four.  The good news is his bruised shoulder shouldn’t affect his status moving forward.

“Timmy is fine,”
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “There were no problems there. He
worked hard and those guys made him work. It was a gutty effort. He has
that ability to turn it up a notch when its needed. He had some big
strikeouts.”

Lincecum, a two-time National League Cy Young Award winner, has looked shaky in some recent starts and his 3.11 ERA and 1.22 WHIP would be three-year highs if it all ended today.  Of course, the season doesn’t end today, and Lincecum’s 106 strikeouts lead all major league pitchers.  We’re thinking that Timmy is going to be just fine.

Battle of the Aces: Max Scherzer takes on Clayton Kershaw tonight

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I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.

Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.

This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.

Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.