Tim Lincecum facing Paul Goldschmidt isn't exactly what the doctor ordered for the scuffling Giants, who are mired in their worst stretch of the season, having lost five consecutive games and eight of their last nine.
But that matchup is the reality facing the Giants on Friday night. Goldschmidt has utterly dominated Lincecum, going 13-for-24 with seven homers and 17 RBIs lifetime against the two-time Cy Young winner.
Lincecum hasn't been dominant, but he's been effective in five of his last six starts. He's allowed 18 earned runs in those outings, though eight of them came in his June 3 start in Cincinnati. He's allowed five runs on nine hits in 12 innings during his last two trips to the mound.
Lincecum recently turned 30, and he addressed his maturation from the beginning of his career with MLB.com in a recent interview.
"I think I'm more of a cerebral pitcher. I've always been analytical, and I've always been my hardest critic, along with my father. But I've learned to accept the process a little bit easier, not beat myself up on a daily basis so much, which used to be way easier back then because I was quick to judge myself," Lincecum said. "Now, you start to take things in on a day-to-day basis. It makes it easier to get through. They call it 'the grind' for a reason. I'm learning how to take better care of myself. I'm learning myself better, maybe, as a pitcher. That's where I'm trying to evolve as well, trying to grasp what's going on out there."
He'll be opposed on the mound Friday by Josh Collmenter. The right-hander has struggled lately, allowing 13 earned runs on 24 hits and six walks in his last three starts, a span of 18 innings.
Collmenter is 4-1 with a 3.98 ERA in 15 career appearances (four starts) against the Giants. Buster Posey has tormented Collmenter to the tune of six hits (two homers, seven RBIs) in eight at-bats.
Giants: Pagan's status unclear
The Giants sent center fielder Angel Pagan to Arizona ahead of the rest of the club Wednesday so he could have his stiff back examined.
Pagan missed his third consecutive game on Wednesday with his ailment, which has left him day to day. The Giants, obviously, are concerned about these inactive days accumulating. They know that their offense will be seriously compromised if it must operate for long without Pagan, who's batting a team-high .307 with 11 stolen bases in 14 attempts.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said that Pagan, who already has undergone an MRI exam, which revealed inflammation, will undergo further tests in the Phoenix area.
The Giants have a day off on Thursday. Gregor Blanco has filled in atop the lineup in Pagan's absence.
D-backs: Collmenter no stranger to Giants
Collmenter has faced the Giants many times in his career, but nearly all of his appearances have been out of the bullpen. He will make his first start against the Giants this season on Friday at Chase Field.
In his three prior appearances against them this year, Collmenter pitched seven innings out of the bullpen and gave up only one run. In 15 career outings (four starts) against the Giants, he is 4-1 with a 3.98 ERA.
"I know that team pretty well, faced them quite a few times," Collmenter said. "It's a matter of seeing the lineup and putting together a gameplan once we get to that."
There's one player in particular who Collmenter has had a lot of success against -- third baseman Pablo Sandoval.
Sandoval is 2-for-15 against Collmenter, and his .143 average is the third-lowest against the D-backs right-hander among batters with more than 10 at-bats against him.
"He can hit a lot of different pitches, especially pitches out of the zone, so you just have to be careful with him," Collmenter said. "Pitches that you throw for strikes, and even pitches you think most guys will swing and miss at, he does a good job of hitting those. [He is] just one of those guys that almost hits balls out of the zone as well as he hits pitches in the zone.
"So you just have to move the ball around, keep him guessing, don't let him get comfortable."
• Blanco has a .346 batting average (27-for-78) in his last 29 games.
• The D-backs will decide whether to activate outfielder Ender Inciarte from the seven-day disabled list on Friday. Inciarte suffered a concussion on June 12 while trying to steal second base against the Astros.
Ryan Hood is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.