Game 89: Mets @ Giants

12:30 a.m.: Lincecum gets the shutout, the fourth against the Mets this season, with Freddy Sanchez netting a potential Web Gem to end it (Roy Halladay, Yovani Gallardo and Carl Pavano the others to shut out the Mets). Only three pitchers threw a shutout against the Mets last season. Mets now five back of Braves, lose 2-0.

Couple quick takes:

1- Game lasted two hours, 11 minutes, the fastest nine-inning game of the year for the Mets. Both pitchers were the reason for that. Twas a fine pitchers duel. Lincecum was one pitch better than Dickey who is probably rueing the fastball he threw to Sandoval.

2- Be curious to see how Beltran feels after first game back in an MLB lineup. He had a couple of good swings tonight, with the one base hit.

3- Feliciano having his worst year against left-handed pitching since 2003. He didn't look comfy at all in walking Huff on four pitches, which ended up costing Mets a run.

Check out Adam Rubin's game story and blog posts for more. I'll have a blog post up in the afternoon too. Thanks for all the in-game tweets.

12:24 a.m.: Wright, who entered the AB 2-for-14 with nine strikeouts against Lincecum, leads off by grounding to third. Rough night, 0-4, one out in ninth.

12:20 a.m.: Couldn't ask for more from Parnell there. GIDP keeps it 2-0 after eight. Lincecum goes for the shutout facing 3-4-5 in the ninth.

12:19 a.m.: Fielder's choice plates huge second run. Ike Davis shaded towards second base with righty up (it's worked for him all year) comes left, but throw is just a little late to get Rowand. Giants up 2-0 and looking for more.

12:16 a.m.: Pedro Feliciano doesn't do his job, walks Huff on four pitches to load bases. Parnell coming in for Posey. he's got eight strikeouts in the 19 batters he faced with bases loaded last year. This will be first test of 2010 for him. Posey 2-for-4 with sacrifice fly with bases loaded this year.

12:11 a.m.: Jam here. Two on, one out, after bunt forceout. Pedro Feliciano entering.

Last Giant with shutout vs Mets -- Jason Schmidt beat Al Leiter, 1-0 in SF in 2002. Last before that ... current Padres skipper Bud Black had two in 1991.

12:07 a.m.: Well, we get our answer. Lincecum will go for career CG #7. He gets his fifth hit of the year (entered hitting .103) to start the bottom of the eighth.

12:04 a.m.: Tumbling catch by Sandoval ends Mets eighth. Who you want for the ninth? Lincecum to try to finish or Brian Wilson and his 4.91 ERA and .333 opponents BA vs the Mets? 1-0 as we go bottom eighth.

The answer to our trivia question on the best ERA by Mets righty and lefty vs Giants. Matthew Artus was the first to get the lefty -- Jerry Koosman (2.28 ERA in 29 starts vs Giants). The righty was Steve Trachsel, who would never be seen pitching a game that moved this quickly. He had a 5-2 mark for the Mets against the Giants with a 2.30 ERA. Cap-tip to "Middleagedsport" for nailing that one on Twitter.

11:59 p.m.: Let's see what Lincecum has left in the tank. One on, two outs in eighth for Mets.

11:55 p.m.: Another great inning for Dickey, battling through. Giants go 1-2-3.

My colleague in Stats and Info, Katie Sharp, who preps our game packets (she did one on a Dickey start not long ago) notes Dickey had allowed just 2 doubles to the first 117 lefty batters he had faced this season prior to the one he allowed to Sandoval that cost him a run. 1-0 Giants after 7.

We'll answer trivia after top of eighth.

11:50 p.m.: Lincecum seems likely to start the eighth inning. He's pitched into the eighth four times this year, allowed one run in that inning.

11:45 p.m.: Another five-minute inning for Lincecum. He ends it with his eighth GIDP of the season, one shy of the total he got in 2009. We stretch, with it 1-0 Giants after 6 1/2.

11:41 p.m.: Trivia question #2. Minimum five starts, tell me the Mets with the best career ERA by a lefty AND a righty vs the Giants. The lefty had a 2.28 ERA. The righty had a 2.30 ERA. They both pitched in postseason for the Mets (not vs the Giants) and one pitched significantly better than the other.

11:40 p.m.: Bay gets his fifth assist, thanks to an Aubrey Huff overslide of third base. Huff beat the Mets shift with a an infield hit to start the inning. Good defensive game for Mets so far. Two decent plays by Tejada and Bay having an adventous, but solid day in LF. 1-0 Giants after six.

11:33 p.m.: Mets half-innings aren't lasting more than five minutes. Giants fielders getting little work. Lincecum sharp with two more whiffs and a weak groundout. 1-0 Giants after 5 1/2

Got asked for most home runs by a Met in the post-Candlestick era: Cliff Floyd, Mike Piazza, Carlos Delgado with five. Floyd is the Mets leader with three homers at AT&T Park.

11:27 p.m.: Nine straight for Dickey. Jason Bay's range being tested by the winds in SF, but he's held up fine so far (most would say he's been better than expected on D, right?). Giants down in the fifth. 1-0 SF after five innings.

11:20 p.m.: Jerry Manuel, making sure Pagan bats with two on, has Dickey bunt runner to second. Dickey entered game hitting .313 this season, but concern about the matchup had him bunting. Lincecum escapes, gets Pagan to fly to right to end fifth. 1-0 Giants after 4 1/2.

11:19 p.m.: Jason Bay leads the Mets with 14 advances on the basepaths via things such as fly balls, gets another one. Corners with one out. Look out for Dickey to slap one to right, which he's done nicely a couple times this season.

11:16 p.m.: Thole drills a liner in AB #2 vs Lincecum. He's looked real good against everybody. That was a nice bounce-back.

11:12 p.m.: Bay a little bit of an adventure on that first of two fly balls he handled in a 1-2-3 fourth inning. Will be interesting to see how Beltran/Pagan mesh in center/right field. Pagan was very solid defensively in centerfield by all these new metrics. Beltran has had past troubles with CF playing RF (see Mike Cameron).

Both pitchers throwing strikes. 105 pitches threw four full innings, 71 for strikes. Those trying to stay awake in the east like that.

For those curious: After All-Star weekend, I believe I've now been to 22 of the current parks. I'd rank AT&T Park and Camden Yards just about dead even. Dodgers Stadium (was there Sunday) reminded me of Shea Stadium, except nicer weather and lots of palm trees.

11:07 p.m.: Carlos Beltran with his first hit of the season, continuing his success against Tim Lincecum. he's now 5-for-9 against him. But then he gets thrown out -- a rare CS, but opponents are 6-for-14 stealing against Buster Posey. 1-0 Giants going bottom fourth.

11:03 p.m.: Our question was a stumper. I was surprised by the answer -- Ron Swoboda -- with 16. Strawberry and Hojo second with 14. We'll try another one after the sixth inning for the night owls.

11:01 p.m.: Dickey survives the third (nice move by Cora to cover first base on an awkward grounder). 1-0 Giants after 3. Trivia answer coming...

10:58 p.m.: Aaron Rowand gets an 0-2 hit off Dickey's glove. Opponents entered hitting .115 against Dickey once he gets up 0-2. He got ahead of first two batters 0-2. Got one out, thanks to Pagan's play in right field.

10:55 p.m.: Mets put leadoff man on, but another quick inning for Lincecum. 1-0 Giants after 3. Lot of guesses on our trivia, but none right, yet...

10:51 p.m.: Unusually bad AB for Dickey, who has looked pretty adept at the plate. One on, one out for Mets in the top of the third.

10:48 p.m.: A little Mets trivia for those in Twitterville. Who has the Mets mark for career home runs against the Giants? Tweet answer to @msimonespn and I'll note the first person to get it right

10:45 p.m.: Pablo Sandoval, who has struggled against everything except knuckleballs this season, crushes a Dickey two-strike fastball off the wall in right for a run-scoring double. Interesting pitch selection that had worked in the first inning. 1-0 Giants after two innings. Sandoval was 1-for-14 in the first series between these teams this season.

10:39 p.m.: Baseball Info Solutions charts difficult throws handled by first basemen ("scoops" and others). Ike Davis just got No. 13 to retire Travis Ishikawa. MLB leader is Albert Pujols, who entered the day with 24. That's followed by Dickey's third wild pitch of the season.

Man on third two outs, after Davis positions himself well on grounder to 1B/2B hole.

10:36 p.m.: Josh Thole with a rare AB with two swings-and-misses. Lincecum mows them down 1-2-3 in three minutes. Jason Bay also struck out. He hit .277 with 16 HR after the All-Star Break last season. Mets would take that in a heartbeat. 0-0 after 1 1/2 innings.

10:33 p.m.: R.A. Dickey very effective at painting the corners and mixing in the occasional fastball in the first inning. Seemed to slow down his windup a little bit, working very deliberately. Beltran had no trouble with his first fly ball chance. Opponents now 6-for-40 against Dickey in the first inning after going 1-2-3 in the top of the first. Means he faces the red-hot Buster Posey with no one on base.

10:23 p.m.: David Wright hits one 395 feet to dead center for an out. AT&T Park is a tough park to hit one out anywhere. The park has yielded four home runs to center field this season. The average MLB park has yielded seven this year.

Carlos Beltran with a good swing, but a harmless flyout ends the Mets threat in the first. Scoreless after half an inning.

10:17 p.m.: Top thing to watch on Lincecum is whether hitters spit on his pitches out of the strike zone, or chase them. That determines his success. he starts Pagan off with three straight 95-MPH fastballs (a few MPH faster than he's averaged this season) before getting him to ground to first.

Regarding Reyes' return: To a man, our folks on Baseball Tonight say that a strained oblique can take a LONG time to heal

10:05 p.m.: First pitch is 10:15 p.m. Lineups are below.

Braves beat Brewers, 2-1, behind Jair Jurrjens and a dominant ninth inning from Billy Wagner. Chipper Jones career HR No. 433, one shy of Juan Gonzalez for 37th-most all time. Prince Fielder had a couple rough at-bats, shut down by Braves pitching. Mets need to win to stay four games out.

In reply to a couple of Tweets to @msimonespn

Matthew Buono asked about good hitters vs great pitchers. On the Mets, that's Beltran, who via our friends at Bill James Online, hit .295 with five home runs in 88 at-bats vs pitchers with a sub 3.5 ERA last season. Lot of Mets have very unimpressive numbers against those types of pitchers this season.

Jeremy Wilkinson asked about Wright's second half: His 2005 to 2008 numbers after the All-Star Break historically are fantastic (.347 BA, 30 HR, 110 RBI in 2007/2008 combined), so you'd think he'd stay in the groove he was in entering the break. Speaking of second-half stars: Cubs 3B Aramis Ramirez helping Mets out with four RBI against the Phillies. He's historically a tremendous player post-break.

9:45 p.m.: Giants starter Tim Lincecum coming off one of his best starts in awhile in beating the Brewers last week. He's a pitcher for whom it's tough to classify his pitch types, because a lot of his off-speed stuff looks the same. Key to the last win, according to our Inside Edge scouting data, was his changeup.

Inside Edge had Lincecum throwing 23 of them, of which the Brewers swung at 12 and put only one in play. Lincecum, who allowed six hits with the changeup in his two starts prior to that one, allowed none against the Brewers, and used the pitch to record six of his 10 strikeouts.

9:30 p.m.: Hi folks, Mark Simon from ESPN Stats and Information (I research for Baseball Tonight) filling in to help Adam out from San Francisco. We'll be live blogging throughout the game (if any news warrants, we'll get Adam to fill us in), so please check back frequently.

We'll try to add a little interaction to the process, though no guarantees. Feel free to tweet @msimonespn and we'll see if we can respond as the game moves along.

For now, your lineups:


Angel Pagan, RF

Alex Cora, 2B

David Wright, 3B

Carlos Beltran, CF

Ike Davis, 1B

Jason Bay, LF

Josh Thole, C

Ruben Tejada, SS

R.A. Dickey, RHP


Aaron Rowand, CF

Freddy Sanchez, 2B

Aubrey Huff, LF

Buster Posey, C

Travis Ishikawa, 1B

Juan Uribe, SS

Pablo Sandoval, 3B

Nate Schierholtz, RF

Tim Lincecum, RHP

Game notes: Carlos Beltran is 4-for-7 with a home run and three walks against Tim Lincecum for his career. David Wright is 2-for-11 with eight strikeouts against Lincecum. Cap-tip to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle who was told that Aaron Rowand is hitting high in the lineup because of his success against other knuckleballers (he's 11-for-20 against Tim Wakefield). R.A. Dickey is hoping for better success than Wakefield today. Wakefield allowed six runs in the first inning against the Rangers, the most he's ever allowed in the first inning of a game in his career (according to the Elias Sports Bureau) ... Mets are 9-4 in San Francisco in last three seasons. (Remember, they lost their first 12 regular-season games there.)