Reds manager Dusty Baker was happy for Tim Lincecum when he threw his first no-hitter on July 13. Baker just doesn't want to see Lincecum match Johnny Vander Meer by throwing a second straight no-no. Nor does he expect him to, for that matter.
"Usually I'm not glad for a pitcher throwing a no-hitter, unless he's on my team," Baker said last week. "But [I'm glad] for a guy that was on top and has sort of been struggling the last couple of years.
"There's a good chance when we face him next week, he won't throw a no-hitter."
Lincecum will try to prove Baker wrong Monday night at AT&T Park, where the Giants will host the Reds for a four-game, three-day series.
Two starts before he struck out 13 Padres and walked four en route to a 148-pitch no-no, Lincecum found himself on the wrong side of history, as the losing pitcher when Cincinnati's Homer Bailey no-hit San Francisco on July 2. Less than two weeks later, he was the author of the Majors' second no-hitter this season.
The up-and-down end to Lincecum's first half was somewhat reflective of the turns his career has taken of late. Once an overpowering hurler with a 95 mph fastball and two National League Cy Young Awards to his name, Lincecum has more recently relied on his slider, changeup and curveball, mixing them in to complement his fastball.
But Lincecum still relies on his fastball, which remains effective when he locates it well, and has not changed the way he presents himself to opposing hitters.
"I've been able to buy into the changes I needed to make, not being resistant to them, and accepting of the process," Lincecum said the day before the All-Star break. "I think I have to treat myself like [a power pitcher]. It may not show on the [radar] gun or anything like that, but I think when I try to throw the pitches that I throw, I throw them with the intent of a power pitcher."
Lincecum is still just 5-9 with a 4.26 ERA in 19 starts, and he's not that far removed from a World Series run in which he was relegated to the bullpen. But his no-hitter snapped a six-start stretch without a win, and perhaps there is hope it will once again get him back on track.
Lincecum will line up opposite Reds right-hander Bronson Arroyo on Monday. Arroyo held the Giants to one run and only two hits over six innings on July 1, a rain-shortened "complete game" won by Cincinnati, 8-1.
Arroyo is aiming for his 100th victory as a Red, and he'll enter the start on something of a hot streak. He's allowed three or fewer runs in seven of his last eight trips to the hill -- the exception being a seven-run outing in Oakland on June 25 -- and he's surrendered only five runs in three July starts, all of them on homers.
He'll look to continue his recent run and set the tone for Cincinnati's 11-game, 10-day West Coast swing through San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.
"We have to go play. This is a business trip, not a pleasure trip," Baker said. "We have to take care of business and come on back."
Reds: Choo extends streak to 15 games
The Reds only recorded three hits in Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Pirates, but center fielder Shin-Soo Choo had two of them. His leadoff single in the first was good enough to lengthen his career-high hitting streak to 15 games.
During the streak, the longest current run in the Majors, Choo has hit .426 (26-for-61) with five doubles, a home run and five RBIs.
• Left fielder Ryan Ludwick will begin a Minor League rehab assignment Wednesday with Class A Dayton. Ludwick has been sidelined since separating his shoulder on a headfirst slide on Opening Day, an injury that required surgery to repair a torn labrum.
Ludwick has been hitting for about two weeks and began taking batting practice with the Reds on Thursday. He admitted this will be a "longer" rehab stint, but he said he feels good.
Giants: Affeldt to DL; Machi recalled
San Francisco placed left-hander Jeremy Affeldt on the 15-day disabled list Sunday due to a left groin strain. He suffered the injury while pitching during the sixth inning of Saturday night's game against the D-backs. Affeldt, 1-4 with a 3.51 ERA in 38 appearances, was also sidelined from April 15-May 3 with a strained right side.
Affeldt revealed Sunday that he had been pitching with some discomfort in his groin for a few weeks but said the nagging injury didn't affect his delivery.
"Sometimes being a tough guy doesn't work out," Affeldt said.
• With Affeldt on the DL, Jose Mijares likely will work in a higher-leverage role. The Giants filled Affeldt's roster spot by recalling right-hander Jean Machi from Triple-A Fresno for the fourth time this season. Machi is 2-0 with a 3.54 ERA in 27 games with San Francisco this season.
• Giants manager Bruce Bochy enters Monday with 1,499 wins in his managerial career. Only 20 managers have reached that milestone, and 12 are in the Hall of Fame. Among active managers, only Tigers skipper Jim Leyland (1,728) and Baker (1,636) have more victories than Bochy.
• Since the All-Star break, Reds right fielder Jay Bruce is 0-for-11 with six strikeouts.