Tim Lincecum won’t have a chance to redeem himself after his subpar season with the San Francisco Giants — at least not in the National League Division Series.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy named 14-game winner Ryan Vogelsong as his Game 3 starter Tuesday in Cincinnati and said Lincecum would be available in relief Sunday night at AT&T Park.
“I’ve talked to Timmy. He’s all in on this,” Bochy said Sunday afternoon before the Giants faced the Reds in the second game of the best-of-five series. “He was great and he understands and says he wants to do whatever he can to help the ballclub move on.”
Bochy hasn’t announced a Game 4 starter, assuming he needs one, but it’s likely to be Matt Cain. If so, it means Lincecum, a two-time Cy Young Award winner who won the 2010 World Series-clinching game against the Texas Rangers, will be relegated to the bullpen in this series.
So far, he’s accepting his role.
“I’m not going to be that guy that’s throwing a tantrum because I’m not getting what I want or I’m not getting what I think I deserve,” he said. “It’s not about that right now. It’s about the team and it’s about winning. These (games) aren’t about stats. These aren’t about individual awards.”
This isn’t the first time Bochy has had to tell a starter he’s not playing a major role in the playoffs. He did something similar to Barry Zito in 2010 when Zito was left off the postseason roster. But there’s little comparison between the two pitchers; Lincecum has become a cult hero in the Bay Area, while Zito’s tenure with the Giants has been one big miss.
“It’s not easy to tell a pitcher that’s accomplished what (Lincecum) has, and we know what he’s done for us,” Bochy said. “But you have to look at what’s happening today, and this year, and Timmy, like I said, he understands.
“I go back to 2010 when Zito wasn’t even on the roster. That was one of the toughest calls I had to make, but Barry was great about it.”
Lincecum had a 10-15 record during the regular season. His 5.18 ERA in 33 starts was the worst among 47 NL starters who qualified for the title. He also struggled at the end, giving up 11 earned runs in 10 innings over his last two starts.
“I understand the way I’ve been going,” he said. “My last two starts weren’t very great, and other guys have had success coming into this series more than I have. I’m just trying to help my team, and if that means being in the bullpen, it means being in the bullpen.”