SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy won’t commit to naming his starter for Game 4 of the National League Championship Series on Thursday in St. Louis, but appears to be leaning more and more towards right-hander Tim Lincecum.
The former two-time NL Cy Young Award winner had a rough regular season where he went 10-15 with a 5.18 earned-run average.
Lincecum seemed to be turning things around in September, a month where he went 3-1 in six starts, but in his final two starts of the regular season he got rocked and Bochy decided to move him to the bullpen instead of giving him a start this post-season.
As a reliever, Lincecum has looked sharp. In three appearances, including two shutout innings Monday, he has allowed just one earned run over 8 1/3 innings.
The problem for Bochy is that after six post-season games his much-vaunted rotation has yet to produce a quality start and that has put a lot of pressure on his bullpen.
Ryan Vogelsong provided some relief Monday by pitching seven strong innings, but if Wednesday starter Matt Cain doesn’t go deep into his game, Bochy may be forced to stick with Lincecum in the ‘pen and employ Barry Zito on Thursday.
Bochy may not want to give another start to Sunday’s loser, Madison Bumgarner, which would mean that he would have to go with Lincecum and Zito in games 4 and 5.
It’s Bochy’s call.