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Giants will have to weigh Tim Lincecum start in Game 2

Oct 12, 2012, 1:47 AM EDT

Tim Lincecum Reuters

After beating the Reds in Thursday’s dramatic Game 5 to advance, the Giants can’t wait too long to start thinking ahead to their NLCS rotation. Whether they face the Cardinals or Nationals, it seems pretty certain that they’ll set it up so that Madison Bumgarner pitches Games 1 and 5 and Matt Cain goes in Games 3 and 7. That leaves three starts open for Ryan Vogelsong, Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito.

After being passed over for the NLDS rotation, Lincecum pitched his way back into the picture by allowing one run and amassing an 8/0 K/BB ratio in 6 1/3 innings out of the pen against the Reds. He earned the win in Game 4.

Of course, the Giants also won both of the starts from Vogelsong and Zito in the series. Vogelsong bounced back from a shaky first to allow one run in five innings in Game 3. Zito was pulled after just 2 2/3 innings in Game 4. He walked four and was charged with two runs. Still, he’s the team’s good luck charm: the Giants have won each of his last 12 starts.

The matchups could play a role in the Giants’ thinking. The Cardinals were significantly better against lefties than righties this season, while the Nationals were pretty much neutral  Vogelsong, for what it’s worth, was outstanding in his one start against St. Louis and terrible in his one start against Washington this year. Lincecum struggled twice against the Nats and never faced the Cards. Zito had one quality start against the Cards and never faced the Nats.

The least likely scenario has the Giants giving Zito two starts in the NLCS. My guess is they’ll pick between Vogelsong and Lincecum in Game 2 and then weigh the other against Zito in Game 4. One would think Lincecum is worthy of the second chance to start. However, the Giants could hold him back and use him in middle relief initially, postponing a decision on whether to start him in Game 4.

  1. illadelphiasphinest - Oct 12, 2012 at 2:28 AM

    Not a SF fan at all. But I think Timmy is the better bullpen option just in case Zito or Vogalsong get in trouble rather then vice versa….

    • sailcat54 - Oct 12, 2012 at 8:59 AM

      Tim did an outstanding job as a long reliever in Game 4. It might just be a wise strategic move to hold him in reserve in case of a mound meltdown by a starter. Bochy is not afraid to shake up a lineup or a rotation if it serves a purpose, even if egos and personalities try to get in the way. That’s why he is such a good manager: he makes the hard decisions when he has to.

  2. warriorking1112 - Oct 12, 2012 at 2:38 AM

    baseball is def Americas worst most boring sport!! PLAYOFF BASEBALL SUCKS THE WORST AND THE WORLD SERIES IS HORRID BC INTERFERES WITH AMERICAN DAD AND FAMILY GUY ON FOX!!! BOW BEFORE THE GREAT NFL AS IT KILLS MLB AND WILL SOON PUT IT OFF OF TV(I CAME WAIT) MLB DOESN’T DESERVE TO BE ON BROADCAST TV LET ALONE CABLE! IT BELONGS ON BORING DYING AM RADIO BC THAT’S EXACTLY HOW BASEBALL IS!!! HAIL TO THE NFL!!! ITS PRETTY FUNNY WHEN THE TWO TEAMS WITH THE WORST RECORDS IN FOOTBALL STILL HAS MORE TV VIEWERS THAN GAME 7 OF THE WORLD SERIES!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA DIE MLB DIE FASTER

    • machba - Oct 12, 2012 at 3:19 AM

      warriorking1112 — you sound like a really fungi…

    • sailcat54 - Oct 12, 2012 at 9:03 AM

      Does your mom know you’re on the computer again, warriorking?

    • doubleogator - Oct 12, 2012 at 9:41 AM

      You’re an idiot

    • txnative61 - Oct 13, 2012 at 8:26 AM

      Duhno your problem with the rest of us watching baseball, did you pee your pants in little league?

  3. dgbk - Oct 12, 2012 at 3:00 AM

    i may be wrong but i dont think warrior king likes baseball.

    • dondada10 - Oct 12, 2012 at 6:39 AM

      Or the conventions of grammar.

  4. riverace19 - Oct 12, 2012 at 3:00 AM

    This is a no brainier. It’s playoffs. It’s Timmy time.

  5. moogro - Oct 12, 2012 at 3:29 AM

    What’s the NFL?

    • Jeremy T - Oct 12, 2012 at 12:25 PM

      Neanderthals, Fighting, and Lockouts

      • txnative61 - Oct 13, 2012 at 8:20 AM

        And bounty’s.

  6. drmonkeyarmy - Oct 12, 2012 at 7:51 AM

    You know Zito is worried about Lincecum taking his spot in the rotation…..after all, he did try to blind Tim in the clubhouse celebration yesterday.

  7. doubleogator - Oct 12, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    In Zito’s last start he couldn’t throw strikes, Lincecum had 8 K’s and 0 walks in 6 plus innings….he’s looking like he did two years ago, and he has ice water in his veins….start him!

  8. SOBEIT - Oct 12, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    Seven game series against either StL or Wash…both really tough offensive teams. Gotta go with Lincecum in the rotation. Our bullpen is stout and Boch always has the option to use a starter in a relief role in games 6 or 7 since it most likely will go the distance.

    Which team hits lefties really well this season…StL? That will have to be a factor in the decision making once tonight’s games are over.

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