SAN FRANCISCO -- Game 5 of the National League Championship Series is sure to be played. And the Giants can feel almost as sure that Tim Lincecum will excel, based on past performance. Lincecum, San Francisco's Game 5 starter against the Philadelphia Phillies, has faced the same opponent in back-to-back appearances six times in his regular-season career. His record the second time around is a dazzling 5-0 with a 2.05 ERA and 43 strikeouts against only 11 walks in 44 innings. One of these instances happened to occur against the Phillies in 2008. After receiving no decision while allowing four unearned runs in six innings in a 6-5 Giants loss on May 4 at Philadelphia, Lincecum returned home and subdued the Phillies for eight innings, allowing two runs and four hits while walking one and striking out eight in an 8-2 conquest.
Lincecum last faced the same team twice in a row on Aug. 23 and 28, 2009. He absorbed the decision in a 4-2 Giants loss at Colorado in the first game, yielding three runs and three hits in seven innings, before blanking the Rockies on four hits through eight innings in a 2-0 win at San Francisco. Lincecum was efficient in the Giants' 4-3 triumph in Game 1 of the NLCS last Saturday. He surrendered three runs and six hits and struck out eight in seven innings to earn his second postseason victory.