Giants

What will we get from Wainwright, Lincecum?

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What will we get from Wainwright, Lincecum?

ST. LOUIS The Giants and Cardinals can shoot all the sunshine they want about their confidence in Tim Lincecum and Adam Wainwright.But in reality, neither side knows what to expect from the man they send to the hill in Game 4 Thursday night. The two formerly bankable aces are no longer backed by the FDIC.Wainwright got pounded for six runs in less than three innings by the Washington Nationals in his last start, serving up three home runs to put the Cardinals in what will go down as the most famous 6-0 hole in franchise history.And Lincecum, despite three squeaky clean long relief outings this postseason, had the highest ERA of any starting pitcher in the National League during the regular season.Lincecum might operate exclusively from the stretch. He might throw to Hector Sanchez and not Buster Posey. However he does it, the Giants need the same strike-throwing tendencies that Lincecum displayed while allowing one run, walking one and striking out eight this postseason.

UPDATE: Sanchez catching, Posey at first base
Itll be a major advantage if he doesnt have to face Carlos Beltran, who left Game 3 after one at-bat because of a left knee strain. Beltran is 7 for 14 with a home run, three doubles and just one strikeout (plus six walks, too) in his career against Lincecum.UPDATE: Carlos Beltran scratched from Game 4
Yadier Molina has been swinging a Popsicle this postseason but hes a .412 hitter (7 for 17, all singles) against Lincecum. Matt Holliday is a .294 hitter but doesnt have a home run in 34 career at-bats vs. the right-hander.Lincecum did not face the Cardinals in the regular season.

Wainwright was 6-8 with a 4.75 ERA through June but pitched much better in the second half, going 8-5 with a 3.18 ERA over his final 16 starts. Thats to be expected for a pitcher who missed all of 2011 while recovering from Tommy John surgery.Despite getting throttled by the Nationals in a memorable Game 5 of the NLDS, Wainwrights Game 1 start against them included 10 strikeouts and one run in 5 23 innings.While he doesnt throw as hard as he once did, Wainwrights curveball remains one of the best in the league and he has no discernable platoon split.Struggling right fielder Hunter Pence is a .289 hitter (11 for 38) against Wainwright and owns the only home run by an active Giant against him. Xavier Nady is a .391 hitter with only two strikeouts in 23 at-bats.Wainwright beat the Giants at Busch Stadium on Aug. 9, holding them to a run on five hits and three walks while striking out seven in seven innings of a 3-1 victory.This stage is nothing new to either starting pitcher. Lincecum is making his first postseason start since he won a clinching Game 5 at Texas in the 2010 World Series. And Wainwright, prior to his last blowup at Washington, owned a 0.77 ERA in 11 career postseason games (two starts), including a save in a clinching Game 5 when the Cards defeated the Detroit Tigers in the 2006 World Series.

Just a number? Longoria says slow down with concerns of Giants' aging roster

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AP

Just a number? Longoria says slow down with concerns of Giants' aging roster

The Giants added two premier face of the franchise players this offseason in Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen. Together the two have combined for eight All-Star Game appearances. 

What they don't bring to San Francisco though, is youth. Longoria (32) and McCutchen (31) are the latest to join an again Giants roster. Buster Posey turn 31 in March, Johnny Cueto turns 32 in February, Hunter Pence turns 35 in April, Brandon Crawford turns 31 in January, and Brandon Belt turns 30 in April.

Father Time though, is far from getting Longoria and the rest of the Giants' stars according to the third baseman. 

"I believe that all of us believe we're in our prime and we are more than capable of competing," Longoria said Wednesday on KNBR. "That's just ways of making waves in the news. Our job is to just go out and do our job. I think we'll be just fine." 

Longoria is entering his 11th season in the big leagues. That has certainly added wear and tear on him, but also added knowledge of his body. 

"I'm definitely a different player," Longoria says now at 32 compared to 22. "There's a lot of ways that I prepare now that I didn't have to do or I didn't know how to do when I was a younger player. For me personally, it's going to be quite an experience."

While Longoria and McCutchen may not have the freshest pair of legs in baseball, they are two of the most durable players in the game. In 2017, both players appeared in 156 out of 162 games.

"Being prepared for the season is one thing and I know how to do that and I know how to get myself ready for that," Longoria said. "It's just a matter of the day in and day out homework so to speak that I'll have to do. That's gonna change based on the league and based on the division."

Evan Longoria reacts to Giants' 'big, big acquisition' of Andrew McCutchen

Evan Longoria reacts to Giants' 'big, big acquisition' of Andrew McCutchen

When Evan Longoria heard he was being traded to the Giants, he instantly thought of the three World Series trophies. 

"They've won three World Series in the past eight years or whatever, everyone knows that," Longoria said Wednesday on KNBR. "It's a great place to be. The fan base is amazing. I'm just looking forward to playing in front of that and being a part of that." 

That's true, the Giants have won three titles in the last eight years. At one point, it was three in five years, building a modern-day dynasty. That also means they have come up short the last three years. 

In 2017, the Giants fell well beyond short. Playing his whole career in the American League East for the Tampa Bay Rays, Longoria didn't realize quite how bad things were going in San Francisco this past season. 

His wife did though. 

"My wife was actually the one that said, 'Hey, did you know the Giants basically had the worst record in baseball last year?'" Longoria shared. "I said 'I'm excited to be going to a contender' and she said 'Uhh... wait a second here.' But I know that those things happen and it's very tough to compete atop of the division every year and there's years that you have to punt so to speak and start preparing for next year." 

None of that matters to Longoria. The past is the past. All Longoria cares about now is 2018 and beyond. And he believes the Giants are in line to make some more Even Year Magic.

"I truly believe that this organization, obviously with the moves that they've made this offseason, with the recent acquisition of [Andrew] McCutchen, I believe that they're still not done," Longoria says. "I think they wanna do a few more things and that shows a committment to winning. We're definitely on the path to turning it around this year." 

The Giants acquired McCutchen from the Pirates on Monday for prospects Bryan Reynolds and Kyle Crick. Longoria couldn't be any more excited to be in the same lineup as McCutchen. 

"It's a big, big acquisition," Longoria said. "I think when you look at Cutch's numbers, they speak for themselves. When you look at what he's done on the baseball field is probably some of the best numbers and performances in the last 10 years in the National League.

"When you add a player like that, it brings a mindset that the team is committed to winning and I've heard nothing but great things about McCutchen in the clubhouse and off the field too. Whether or not you can quantify it, I believe those things go a long way." 

Longoria and McCutchen combined for 48 home runs and 174 RBI in 2017.