After what was easily the worst season in the distinguished career of right hander Tim Lincecum, the San Francisco Giants began the post season without the two-time Cy Young winner in their rotation. Now, with his club trailing the best-of-seven NLCS two games to one, Giants manager Bruce Bochy is calling on his former ace to keep his club in the series and naming Lincecum his starting ptcher for Thursday’s Game Four in St. Louis.
Lincecum has been dominant in his post-season relief appearances, prompting ideas that maybe this role as a relief ace could be the best use for the Freak, at least during this playoff run. With Lincecum returning to a starting role, Bochy also announced that Game One starter Madison Bumgarner will shift into a bullpen role for the immediate future. In his place, fellow southpaw and 15 game winner Barry Zito will make the start in Game Five.
“I think we feel that it’s time to give Madison a little break,” the manager said. “He’s a young kid, 23, and he’s been pitching a lot of innings.
“We feel at this point that we’re better off giving him a little break and going with Z, who has done a nice job for us.”
Opposing Lincecum on Thursday will be right hander Adam Wainwright, who will attempt to pitch the Cardinals to within a game of a second consecutive World Series berth. The Giants averaged better than five runs per game away from AT&T Park this season and had won each of their previous three post season road games this season (and five straight going back to 2010) before losing a rain-delayed Game Three on Wednesday night; a game where they were held to one run.