What once appeared to be an intriguing interleague series between two teams that have combined to win three of the last four World Series titles has turned into a battle of two teams likely playing for next season. The New York Yankees, who will host the San Francisco Giants for the first of three games starting Friday, claimed their last championship in 2009. New York has dropped five of its last six to drop 3 ½ games behind Tampa Bay for the final American League wild-card spot.
Making matters worse, New York has only nine games left to close the gap and three other teams to overtake if it wants to qualify for the playoffs for the 18th time in 19 seasons. San Francisco, which won the World Series in 2010 and 2012, is simply trying to avoid a last-place finish in the National League West. Although the Giants (71-82) have guaranteed themselves a losing season for the first time since 2008, they have won eight of their last 11.
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, CSN Bay Area (San Francisco), YES (New York)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Giants RH Tim Lincecum (10-13, 4.40 ERA) vs. Yankees LH CC Sabathia (13-13, 4.90)
Lincecum reached the double-digit win mark for the sixth time in as many seasons following Saturday’s 19-3 rout of the Dodgers. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner, who gave up three runs over six frames, has guided the Giants to victories in each of his last five outings and can match his longest winning streak since going 5-0 over an eight-outing stretch to open the 2010 season with another victory. Lincecum will make his first-ever start against the Yankees.
While his counterpart has excelled of late, Sabathia fell to 4-5 with a 6.58 ERA since the All-Star break following Saturday’s 5-1 loss in Boston. The 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner surrendered five runs over six innings and is one loss away from matching his total over the previous two seasons. Sabathia will face the Giants for the first time since 2008, but has yielded a total of three runs while winning each of his starts against them.
1. This series marks the first time the Giants have played six or more games in New York within the same week since 1957. The franchise left New York for San Francisco the following season.
2. Yankees LH Boone Logan (elbow) threw a bullpen session on Wednesday and is tentatively expected to be available for the opener.
3. Lincecum is two strikeouts shy of becoming the seventh pitcher to get 1,500 with the Giants and the first since Gaylord Perry in 1971.
PREDICTION: Giants 3, Yankees 2