Tim Lincecum hopes that his first career appearance against the Indians will be more like a repeat performance. Zach McAllister is hoping his first career outing against the Giants is just a continuation of what has been a strong month.
Lincecum's coming off his initial win of 2014, a three-run, six-inning effort Sunday at San Diego. The right-hander left the game after yielding Nick Hundley's seventh-inning leadoff homer. As he has all season, Lincecum displayed improved command while striking out seven and walking three. He has 24 strikeouts and only four walks in 21 innings this season.
"I was just trying to do my best to elongate my outing," Lincecum said. "Attack the zone, be aggressive and see what happens. Overall, I'm pretty happy with the way things went."
Lincecum has no desire to be the rotation's weak link as he strives to keep up with the three starters ahead of him in San Francisco's pecking order: Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain and Tim Hudson.
"That's something we've always had with the Giants, built-in competitiveness," said the two-time Cy Young Award winner. "Between pitchers, we're trash-talking, but it's all in good fun. It's nice to have that as a staff, the continuity to build off each other.
If Lincecum finds a contemplative moment Saturday, he might allow himself to wonder how his career might have unfolded with Cleveland instead of San Francisco. The Indians selected him in the 42nd round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, but he opted to remain at the University of Washington.
Friday, Lincecum acknowledged that he wasn't ready to leave school, though he respectfully let the Indians have their say.
"I just felt like I didn't want to sell myself short of my junior year," he said.
McAllister, who has been a stable arm within the Tribe's up-and-down rotation, improved to 3-0 on the season with a win over the Royals on Monday. The big right-hander logged six innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits. Over his past three outings, McAllister has spun a tidy 1.37 ERA with 13 strikeouts against three walks across 19 3/2 innings.
"This is a young kid still that I think is enjoying the responsibility and the challenges of getting better," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He came into camp and he was throwing the ball so well, and he had that downward plane on his fastball. Then he kind of lost it a little bit toward the end of spring, and he's kind of recovered through hard work and with [pitching coach Mickey Callaway].
"He feels good about himself, and he should. If you're around Zach for five minutes, he desperately wants to be so good."
Indians: Johnson waiting his turn
Versatile Indians utility man Elliot Johnson can play every infield and outfield position. He gives the Tribe a switch-hitter off the bench, can serve as a pinch-runner and is also Cleveland's emergency catcher. Manager Terry Francona loves having Johnson on his bench, but the utility man had not appeared in a game since April 11 prior to a pinch-hit at-bat Friday.
"I understand," Johnson said. "This isn't Little League. It's not about making sure everybody participates. It's about winning and that's all that really matters. You're not going to see me complain and you're not going to see me whine. I'm going to be the same guy, even if i happen to get in and get a couple hits, or if i don't get hits, whatever. I'm going to be the same guy."
Giants: Pagan's knee being monitored
San Francisco center fielder Angel Pagan was back in the ineup Friday, but manager Bruce Bochy said the club is monitoring the outfielder's right knee issues. An MRI exam revealed a small, chronic tear of Pagan's patella tendon, though Bochy said the ailment is not as significant as the bruised knee recently sustained by the outfielder.
"If you looked at a lot of players," Bochy said, "you would find a lot of small tears somewhere."
• Indians manager Terry Francona gave Carlos Santana (Cleveland's regular third baseman and backup catcher) the nod behind the plate for Friday's opener against the Giants at AT&T Park. Francona said starting catcher Yan Gomes will start Saturday and Sunday.
• The Giants have sold out their last 256 regular-season home games, the longest active streak in the Majors. They're one sellout shy of equaling the Phillies, who sold out 257 consecutive games from July 7, 2009 to Aug. 5, 2012.
• Entering the series in San Francisco, Cleveland's bullpen had stranded a Major League-best 32 of 35 (91.4 percent) inherited runners this season. The Tribe's bullpen ranked third in the American League in ERA (2.74) and opponents' average (.214).