© 2010 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
PrintPrint

04/16/10 8:38 PM ET

Dodgers plan to 'outlast' Lincecum

With two-time reigning Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum on tap to pitch for the Giants on Saturday and fellow Cy Young Award winner Barry Zito scheduled to pitch Sunday, Dodgers manager Joe Torre is fully aware that the task ahead for his club will be not be an easy one.

The Dodgers defeated the Giants, 10-8, in the first game of the three-game series Friday. Charlie Haeger will start for Los Angeles on Saturday.

"They're all No. 1 guys to me. Lincecum with two straight Cy Youngs, that's not bad for somebody under 25," Torre said. "That's pretty cool. Lincecum, he's a cool customer."

The plan for beating a pitcher like Lincecum, Torre said, is the same plan he employed when managing the Yankees against Pedro Martinez when Martinez pitched for Boston: Wait him out.

"We used to do it with Pedro; we had a lot of success in the games that Pedro pitched," Torre said. "I'm not saying we beat Pedro with the Yankees, but we had a lot of success in those games, and we pretty much outlasted them and our bullpen was better than their bullpen."

Lincecum already appears in midseason form. He has worked seven innings in each of his two starts with his only lapse being Brian McCann's two-run, first-inning homer last Sunday for Atlanta. The Braves did not score again.

"He's the best pitcher in the game," McCann said. "It was almost like he turned on another gear after the home run. His changeup is close to unhittable."

Lincecum has had mixed success at Dodger Stadium, where he's 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in four outings. His most recent appearance in Chavez Ravine, last Sept. 20, was atypical. He allowed five runs and four hits in only four innings while walking four and striking out three.

The Dodgers expect his best Saturday.

"I remember the first year I faced him, it was a lot of heaters, a lot of curveballs," Dodgers outfielder Reed Johnson said. "And now he's throwing a lot of changeups, even to righties and that can always change from a game-to-game standpoint. He might attack you the first time with a lot of changeups, and then he might come at you with a lot of fastballs. I think that's what makes a successful pitcher a successful pitcher."

As for Haeger, the knuckleballer struck out 12 Marlins in six innings in his season debut, the most strikeouts to open a season by a Dodgers starter since Don Drysdale fanned 14 in 1960. Haeger has quickly earned the reliance of Torre because of his resilience, but also because he's been effective. In his second appearance of the season, he pitched one scoreless inning of relief Wednesday against the D-backs.

Dodgers: Manny being in the lineup
Dodgers left fielder Manny Ramirez left Friday night's victory in the fourth inning with tightness in his right calf but Torre did not rule him out of the lineup for Saturday's game. Ramirez is hitting. 379 with one home run and eight RBIs this season. He's 1-for-6 against Lincecum in his career.

Giants: Rowand on the mend
Giants center fielder Aaron Rowand has a mild concussion and small fractures in his left cheek area after being struck by a Vicente Padilla fastball on his batting helmet in the fifth inning Friday. Rowand's X-rays were sent to doctors in San Francisco for further evaluation.

The veteran outfielder has been hit by pitches twice this season and at least 10 times in each of the previous six seasons.

Worth noting
Los Angeles outfielder Andre Ethier ranks among Lincecum's most significant Dodgers tormentors with a .294 average (5-for-17) and one home run off him. Ethier has a flare for heroics. His walk-off single Thursday against Arizona was the 10th walk-off hit of his career.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


MLB.com