By C. Trent Rosecrans
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Knocking on the door: Everyone has assumed (myself included) the Giants could just walk from the trade deadline to the playoffs, but if you haven't looked at the National League West standings of late, the Arizona Diamondbacks are just a game behind the Giants. Tonight Tim Lincecum tries to put a little breathing room between the Giants and Diamondbacks. Lincecum hasn't allowed more than a run in a game since Independence Day, going 3-1 with a 1.08 ERA in his last four starts. He's faced the Diamondbacks just once this season, throwing eight shutout innings on May 10. Hudson, however, has struggled a little bit the last month, going 1-2 with a 5.04 ERA in five July starts, while batters are hitting .302/.350/.429 against him. He's 0-2 with a 4.97 ERA in two starts against San Francisco this season. Diamondbacks at Giants, 10:15 p.m.
Bad luck club: Need further evidence against the win statistic as a way to judge a pitcher? How about Tuesday's matchup of San Diego's Mat Latos and Los Angeles' Hiroki Kuroda? The two have a combined 23 losses, despite both pithing too poorly. Over his last five starts, Latos has a 3.69 ERA and batters are hitting just .219/.287/.289 during that stretch. Still, he's 0-2 and the Padres are 1-4 in his five July starts. Four of Latos' five wins on the season came in a five-start stretch from May 15 to June 5, and during that time he gave up more hits and struck out fewer batters than he did in the five starts in July. And then there's 2011 Cy Unlucky in the Dodgers' Hiroki Kuroda, who sports a 3.11 ERA and a 6-13 record. Over his last 12 starts, he has a 3.38 EERA but is 1-10. Dodgers at Padres, 10:05 p.m. ET.
Central showdown: Could Milwaukee be pulling away in the National League Central? Winners of seven in a row, the Brewers have increased their lead in the division to 3 1/2 games, their largest lead of the season. Not only are the Brewers looking to extend a winning streak, so too is starter Shaun Marcum, who has won each of his last three starts. Marcum is 10-3 with a 3.33 ERA, allowing two runs in each of his last three starts. However, the Brewers must contend with Cardinals lefty Jaime Garcia, who is 10-5 with a 3.14 ERA. In his only start against MIlwaukee this season, Garcia threw a two-hit shutout on May 6, striking out eight Brewers. Cardinals at Brewers, 8:10 p.m. ET.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.