One major question left hanging over the rest of San Francisco's regular season is who will form the club's starting rotation for the NL Division Series. On Sunday afternoon at Petco Park, Tim Lincecum has the chance to make his best case for inclusion.
Lincecum will take the ball against Edinson Volquez as the Giants and Padres meet in the rubber match of their three-game series. San Diego snapped San Francisco's three-game winning streak on Saturday, although the Giants still have won 13 of 17.
Lincecum (10-15, 5.15 ERA) had been on a roll of his own. In his first 13 starts after the All-Star break, he went 7-4 with a 3.06 ERA.
But the right-hander's earlier struggles crept back on Tuesday against the D-backs, as he tied a career high by surrendering seven earned runs in four innings. Lincecum walked four, hit a batter and threw only 39 of his 77 pitches for strikes.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy hasn't indicated whether the two-time Cy Young winner will get a start in the NLDS.
"This was one he has to put behind him because he's really done a nice job this second half," Bochy said after Lincecum's last outing.
The Padres, who have lost seven of 11, will counter Lincecum with Volquez (11-11, 4.13). The righty has struggled with his control all season, leading the NL with 5.14 walks per nine innings.
Volquez has shown progress in that area by issuing a total of two free passes over his last two starts. On Tuesday, he tossed seven scoreless innings against the Dodgers.
Giants: Sunday a day of rest
Bochy is planning to sit Buster Posey, Marco Scutaro and possibly other regulars on Sunday, with his team's postseason berth already sealed.
Posey did start at catcher on Saturday night and went 2-for-2 with a walk, a day after a Ryan Vogelsong pitch bounced up and hit him in the throat. He now leads the NL with a .337 average and .410 on-base percentage.
Scutaro extended his hitting streak to 17 games on Saturday and is batting .361 in the 58 games since the Giants acquired him from the Rockies.
Bochy will use Hector Sanchez at catcher on Sunday. Sanchez has caught most of Lincecum's second-half starts and likely would be behind the plate for him in the postseason as well.
Padres: Venable in a groove
Outfielder Will Venable entered Saturday hitting .344 with a .913 OPS in 33 games since Aug. 19. He notched five doubles, two triples, two home runs and 12 RBIs in that span.
Venable, hitting .234 against lefties, wasn't in the lineup on Saturday against Madison Bumgarner but came off the bench to go 0-for-1.
Logan Forsythe started at second base and went 1-for-3 with a walk on Saturday after missing the previous two games with a sore knee.
Outfielder Carlos Quentin, who has been suffering from soreness in his surgically repaired right knee, still wasn't able to start on Saturday. He last was in the lineup on Sept. 19, although he pinch hit on Thursday and Friday.
Lincecum owns a 2.15 ERA in 10 career starts at Petco Park but a 4.34 mark in three outings against the Padres this season.
Volquez held the Giants to two runs on three hits in seven innings on July 24, with eight walks and three strikeouts.