Lincecum a Giants reliever for now against Reds
Tim Lincecum is a reliever for the time being, two years after
he pitched the Giants’ Game 5 World Series clincher at Texas.
The struggling two-time NL Cy Young Award winner pitched two
innings out of the bullpen for San Francisco in Game 2 of the NL
division series against the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday night. His
team trailed 1-0 after losing Saturday’s opener 5-2.
Manager Bruce Bochy named right-hander Ryan Vogelsong his Game 3
starter for Tuesday in Cincinnati – and Bochy said he already
picked a pitcher for a potential Game 4. He wouldn’t say whether
the Giants would turn to Matt Cain on three days’ rest but said an
announcement on the tentative plan could come by late Sunday.
”My reaction is I know what to prepare for now,” said
Lincecum, who went through pregame work with the relievers. ”I’ll
go in with that mindset today and whatever they want me to do.
That’s really all I can do. I don’t make up the lineup. As much as
I’d like to start, I don’t have that say. He’s the one making the
decisions. That’s what he’s there for and I’m all for that.”
Lincecum is the franchise leader in wins for a single postseason
with four from 2010.
He went 10-15 with a 5.18 ERA and 190 strikeouts in his sixth
major league season. The losses were a career high.
Lincecum started Game 5 of the 2010 NL championship series then
pitched in relief in Game 6 following a day off. Otherwise, the
right-hander has rarely been a reliever – just once in April 2008.
Bochy planned to use him in long relief if the situation called for
him, preferably at the start of a fresh inning.
He pitched the sixth and seventh innings Sunday, allowing one
hit and striking out two. He pumped his fist after striking out
Ryan Hanigan to end the sixth.
”I’m just looking forward to whenever I get on the field,
whether that’s starting,” Lincecum said. ”Nothing’s saying I’m
going to come out of the bullpen today. Just waiting for that
chance. When it comes up I’ll do my best.”
Bochy called it a tough decision, comparing this situation to
leaving left-hander Barry Zito off the postseason roster for all
three rounds during the 2010 run to the franchise’s first
championship since 1954.
Zito, meanwhile, is another option out of the bullpen if needed.
San Francisco won Zito’s final 11 starts.
The 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner with the Oakland Athletics had
his best season since joining the Giants on a $126 million,
seven-year contract before the 2007 season. Zito won his last five
starts and seven decisions of the regular season since a loss Aug.
2 to the Mets.
”I wouldn’t rule out anything,” Bochy said of a Game 4 – if
the series gets that far.
Lincecum was the first Giants starter since Livan Hernandez in
2001 to make at least 30 starts and have an ERA as high as 5.18.
The 28-year-old pitcher also allowed a majors-high 28 runs in the
first inning after giving up only eight all of last year.
While he was 1-6 with a 9.00 ERA in his first nine road starts,
Lincecum was 5-0 with a 3.16 ERA over his final six away from
Ultimately, Bochy decided based on the consistency of playoff
first-timer Vogelsong (14-9, 3.37 ERA). He threw a bullpen session
Saturday after being told the plan a couple of days ago.
”I talked to Timmy, Timmy knows,” Bochy said. ”Timmy
understands. It’s fair to say it’s been an up-and-down year for
Timmy. It’s been a fight for him all year.”