Unlucky No. 13: Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and the Elusive Baker's Dozen

Danny PenzaSenior Writer IAugust 22, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO - AUGUST 9:  Matt Cain #18 of the San Francisco Giants wipes off his face as he gets set to throw a pitch against the Cincinnati Reds at AT&T Park  on August 9, 2009 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Rarely have we had negative things to write about the two-headed monster atop the San Francisco Giants' rotation. The two fireballing righties are two of the main reasons as to why the Giants are where they are in the standings.

However, there's a perceived voodoo around the Twin Towers of Fastballs in orange and black right now. This isn't negativity directed toward them, per se, but few times have we seen Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain get stuck on a win total like they have been lately.

As the calendar hits September, there are a good number of concerns, mostly the offensive offense, in Giants Land as the Giros steam toward a possible playoff spot. Righting the ship of the consistently inconsistent offense is obviously priority No. 1 if the Giants want to stay in the National League wild card race.

A huge problem, yes, but it's come to be the norm up and down the pitching staff this year. Just ask Barry Zito. He knows all about getting no run support at all.

But there's also another trend (and not necessarily a good one) that is starting to develop with the orange and black—the pair of young aces have only recorded one win in the month of August.

Both Cain and Lincecum have been stuck on 12 wins for weeks now. And it's not because they're pitching terribly, either.

That's right—we're heading into the last week of August and LinceCain has just one win between the two of them in eight starts going after that oh-so-unlucky No. 13.

Baseball is a game for the superstitious more than any other sport out there. There's a reason why players jump over the line on their way to the dugout, do their different rituals in the batter’s box, and wear their uniform a certain way.

Yet the unluckiest of numbers to get has been just that.

You have to think, knowing how Cain and Lincecum are with their old-school ways of playing the game despite their young age, they want to get the 13th and then their next start, get to 14.

Lincecum did just that last year while steamrolling through the San Diego Padres to get to win No. 14. Cain has seen 13 victories as well during his four-plus years in the bigs, but it was three years ago and it is his career-high in wins. It only took him one start to get it, but that was it, and he lost his final three decisions that year to finish 13-12.

However, this year has been a rougher go of it—especially for Cain. By the time he takes the bump next, it will be over a month since Cain recorded his last win. But it's not as if he's pitched like total garbage over that span.

In fact, it has been the total opposite.

You might say that the run support has been totally non-existent. To a certain notion it has been, more so for Cain, as he has gotten just 11 runs in those five starts, effectively wasting his solid efforts—Cain's ERA is just 2.97 with a 0.90 WHIP since that July 24 win.

Sounds like 2007 and 2008 all over again for Mr. Cain, doesn't it?

Unfortunately, somebody else on the staff is feeling Zito's pain right now.

For Lincecum, though, it has been a little different. Since his dominating effort against the Phillies on the first day of August, it's been the same ol' Timmy (throwing out his clunker against the Reds on Monday), but terrible luck has been the main catalyst for his three-game streak without a decision.

Both his first start against the Reds and his one against the Dodgers a week ago were games he was in line to win and the bullpen blew the lead. Ironically, Brian Wilson got the decision in each of those games—a win, a loss, and blown saves in both to boot.

It's not that the Giants have been completely terrible over the stretch since Cain got his 12th win just about a month ago. After Friday's win against Colorado, the Giants moved to 15-11 in that span.

However, since Cain and Lincecum each notched their 12th victory, the Giants are just 5-5. Not exactly what you would think when you have two of the National League's top two pitchers on the mound, now, is it?

Compared to the 28-13 beforehand, things haven't gone the way that most people expected them to.

Then again, you can say that about most of the 2009 season.

Nobody expected a road series where Cain would allow four runs and take a loss and then Jonathan Sanchez and Joe Martinez would both get wins. Furthermore, nobody expected that, in those two wins, the Giants offense would score 18 runs.

One of Lincecum’s worst starts of the year couldn’t have been predicted against one of the worst offenses in the league. Who could’ve thought that Lincecum would give up five runs in six innings and walk more batters than he struck out?

Ah, the 2009 Giants. How we love them...most of the time.

It's like some 35-year-old Dodgers fan sitting in his parents' basement poking both of the Giants' aces respective bobbleheads with needles every time they toe the slab.

Maybe it's time for all of us to hit eBay for a Manny Ramirez bobblehead.

That would be fun, wouldn’t it?


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