Tonight's pitching battle between Livan Hernandez and Tim Lincecum is likely the biggest mismatch of the Mets' season. The only way these two could be more dissimilar is if one threw lefthanded. The physical differences are striking. Livan checks in at 6'2", and a conservative 245 lbs., while Lincecum is 5'11" and 170 lbs. (soaking wet). Livan's average fastball this season is 84.7 mph, which is 2nd slowest among NL starters. Lincecum is at 92.3 mph, good for 7th fastest. The differences between their DIPS are even more pronounced:
Their peripherals tell a clear story: Lincecum misses a ton of bats, while Livan misses hardly any. What will it take to come out with a victory? Well, the Giants offense will need to be terrible, which is actually pretty likely. Pablo Sandoval and Bengie Molina are the only threats in their lineup, and their team wOBA of .302 is the worst in the league. Lincecum struggled in his lone start last season against the Mets, but his stuff is undeniably filthy. His line-drive % is a poor 24.8% this season and 19.2% for his career, so if a batter makes contact there's a decent chance the ball will be hit hard. His extremely rare "blow-up" starts have generally been a result of too many early walks (which is a surefire way for any pitcher to have a blow-up), so patience at the plate is a must for Met hitters. Otherwise he might have a game more like his 7 inning, 8 K gem at Shea Stadium in 2007. Earlier this season, Livan outpitched Ricky Nolasco en route to a Mets victory, so anything is possible.
For more on Lincecum and the rest of the Giants staff, check out Mets Geek.