1st Pitch: "Giant" September for SF staff


Today’s Trivia: Tim Lincecum needs five strikeouts today to tie the record for most in a pitcher’s first four seasons combined. Who holds the record?

Quick Hits:

The San Francisco Giants began the month four games out in the NL West, but now hold a half-game lead. However, it’s no thanks to the offense, which has scored only 71 runs in 20 games (third fewest in the NL this month). So let’s dive into what the Giants' pitching staff is accomplishing:

• Through 20 games, the Giants have a 1.47 ERA this month. Over the last 50 years, the lowest September ERA belongs to the 1965 Los Angeles Dodgers, who had a 1.59 ERA thanks in part to 10 shutouts.

• The Giants have gone 17 straight games allowing three runs or fewer. That’s the fifth-longest streak of all time, and the longest since the White Sox went 20 in a row back in 1917.

• On top of that, the Giants have gone 22 straight games allowing four or fewer runs. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that’s the longest streak since the 1972 Chicago Cubs went 23 in a row.

• Overall, the Giants’ staff has held opponents to a .174 average this month. Over the last 50 years, the only team to hold their opposition below .200 in September was the 1967 Chicago White Sox (.196).

• In their seven losses this month, the Giants have scored a total of four runs, while hitting .143. That includes just one run in their last four losses.

• The Giants' bullpen has allowed two earned runs in 50 innings this month, which equates to a 0.36 ERA. They’ve allowed only three extra-base hits and opponents are batting .127 for the month.

• In the Giants’ 13 wins this month, the bullpen has a 0.30 ERA in 30 innings and opponents are hitting .102.

• Relievers have inherited 21 runners this month. One scored.

Lowest Opp OPS in September

Last 50 Years

Today’s Leaderboard: The Giants have held opponents to a .495 OPS this month. That would be the lowest over the last 50 years in September.

Key Matchups:

• Back on September 1, Tim Lincecum bounced back from an 0-5 August by allowing one run in eight innings in a win over the Colorado Rockies. It was the start of a September in which he’s gone 3-1 with a 2.36 ERA. Prior to this season, Todd Helton had Lincecum’s number. Entering 2010, he was 9-for-19 with a .600 on-base percentage. He only fanned once in those at-bats. It’s been a different story in 2010. Helton is 1-for-6 with three strikeouts.

• Lincecum will be opposed by Jhoulys Chacin, who is 2-0 with a 1.16 ERA in September. That’s happened despite opponents hitting .275 against him during the month. Chacin has a 2.98 ERA in 19 starts this season, compared to 6.75 as a reliever. Chacin could be the first Rockies pitcher to have an ERA as starter under 3.00 (min. 20 starts). Going into this season, Ubaldo Jimenez’ 3.47 ERA last season was the lowest, and he is currently at 3.00 in 2010. The Giants are only hitting .140 against Chacin this season, but two of six hits were Aubrey Huff home runs.

Trivia Answer: Dwight Gooden’s 892 strikeouts are the most in a pitcher’s first four seasons. He did that in 924 1/3 innings. Lincecum has five fewer K’s in 796 innings.