Lincecum over Zito in Game 4, but both get starts
Left-hander tabbed by Giants for Game 5, leaving Bumgarner as odd man out
ST. LOUIS -- Tim Lincecum or Barry Zito? No -- for the Giants, it became Lincecum and Zito.Believed to be weighing a choice for his Game 4 starter between those two, San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy pulled a minor surprise following the 3-1 loss to the Cardinals in Wednesday's rain-delayed Game 3 loss. Bochy formally named Lincecum as the Game 4 starter tasked with again squaring this National League Championship Series. Then he added that Zito would go in Game 5.
That leaves as the odd man out Madison Bumgarner, who after struggling in both of his postseason starts may not get to make another this October unless the Giants advance to the World Series.Lincecum slinked out of the visitors' clubhouse as Bochy was telling media about his assignment, thus was not available to comment on a rotation renaissance for which he had longed. But San Francisco second baseman Marco Scutaro called the choice of Lincecum "great," and his double-play partner anticipated a great start from him. "We always expect a quality start out of Timmy," shortstop Brandon Crawford said. "He's a good pitcher with great stuff, and I'm sure he'll show that again tomorrow."
Tale of the Tape: Game 4
|2012 regular season|
|Overall: 33 GS, 10-15, 5.18 ERA, 90 BB, 190 K||Overall: 32 GS, 14-13, 3.94 ERA, 52 BB, 184 K|
|Key stat: All three of Lincecum's outings this postseason have come in relief, going 1-0 with a 1.08 ERA over 8 1/3 innings.||Key stat: Wainwright made the shortest start of his career last time out, lasting only 2 1/3 innings of NLDS Game 5.|
|At Busch Stadium|
Career: 5 GS, 3-1, 3.21 ERA
| 2012: 17 GS, 10-6, 3.73 ERA
Career: 80 GS, 44-26, 2.70 ERA
|Against this opponent|
Career: 7 GS, 5-1, 2.89 ERA
|2012: 2 GS, 1-1, 2.13 ERA
Career: 6 GS, 2-4, 3.04 ERA
|Loves to face: David Freese: 0-for-4
Hates to face: Carlos Beltran: 7-for-14, 3 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBIs
|Loves to face: Gregor Blanco: 1-for-6, 1 K
Hates to face: Hunter Pence: 11-for-38, 3 2B, 1 HR
|Why he'll win: After enduring the worst regular season of his career, Lincecum has seemingly returned to normal out of the bullpen this postseason.||Why he'll win: Wainwright was stellar in two starts against the Giants this year, allowing only three earned runs in 12 2/3 innings.|
|Pitcher beware: For all his struggles this season, Lincecum was especially inefficient on the road. In 16 road starts, he went 6-6 with a 6.43 ERA.||Pitcher beware: On five days' rest this season, Wainwright was 6-6 with a 4.41 ERA.|
|Bottom line: Under perhaps the greatest scrutiny he's faced in the big leagues, Lincecum will make his return to the Giants' starting rotation.||Bottom line: Wainwright was bailed out in his last start thanks to a brilliant comeback by the Cardinals' lineup, and now he has a chance to bounce back.|
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.