Two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum is confident he can bounce back from the worst season of his career.
The San Francisco right-hander's counterpart Wednesday night, Josh Beckett, will attempt to put behind a tumultuous 2012 that concluded with some solid performances for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Lincecum will try to get this season off to a strong start and help the Giants build on their first win in the series finale with the Dodgers.
Lincecum was 10-15 with an NL-worst 5.18 ERA in 2012 and was given only one postseason start in the Giants' run to a second World Series title in three years. He did, however, excel out of the bullpen, yielding a run while striking out 17 over 13 innings in five relief appearances.
"It's a new year," manager Bruce Bochy told the team's website. "Let's see what happens this year. That's how he has to look at it."
A blister on his right hand didn't help Lincecum during a difficult spring training (0-3, 10.57 ERA in five starts), but he said earlier this week that he felt ready for the season.
"I'm going in with a level head," Lincecum said. "I've got a lot of optimism right now. My confidence is high, which is good. I'm just really excited to see what happens."
Lincecum had few problems in his final three starts against the Dodgers in 2012, going 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA. He did not get a decision in a 5-2 win on Sept. 7 while pitching opposite Beckett.
After being acquired from Boston, Beckett was 2-3 over seven starts for Los Angeles but had a respectable 2.93 ERA.
That contrasted sharply with a 5.23 ERA in 21 starts with the Red Sox in 2012. Beckett won 20 games in 2007 while helping lead Boston to its second World Series title in four years but had a couple of high-profile incidents that led to a sour end to his time with the team.
Beckett was reportedly among the players who drank beer and ate fried chicken in the clubhouse during games in 2011, a season in which Boston collapsed down the stretch. He was seen playing golf last season one day after skipping a start because of an injury.
That helped lead to his place in an epic nine-player deal in August that included Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford.
Los Angeles (1-1) won Monday's opener 4-0 behind ace Clayton Kershaw, but San Francisco's Madison Bumgarner followed with his own gem the next night in a 3-0 victory.
Lincecum has tough acts to follow as the first two starters for the Giants (1-1) - Bumgarner and Matt Cain - have tossed 14 scoreless innings while allowing six hits, one walk and striking out 14.
Crawford will try to help the Dodgers score their first run off a San Francisco starter in his expected return to the lineup. The outfielder, who had two hits and scored a run in the season opener, was limited to pinch-hitting duties Tuesday in order to aid his continuing recovery from elbow surgery.
"We want to be able to ease him in," manager Don Mattingly told the team's website.
Matt Kemp, who is coming off of shoulder surgery, is 0 for 6 in the first two games and 0 for 21 with 10 strikeouts in his last six against the Giants. He was 0 for 8 with four strikeouts against Lincecum last season.
Hunter Pence, who had two hits Tuesday night, is 6 for 14 all-time against Beckett, and Marco Scutaro is 6 for 15.
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