SAN FRANCISCO In the words of Giants manager Bruce Bochy, youllprobably see some tweaking here real soon as he aligns his rotation for thepostseason.
But Bochy doesnt plan to coast over these final nine games.He penned a regular lineup for Tuesdays series opener against the ArizonaDiamondbacks and said the starters would play the entire game, as long as thescore doesnt get out of hand.
LINEUP: Posey at first for another Lincecum start
I think (Lincecums) next start will tell you which waywell go there, said Bochy, adding that he hasnt ruled out pairing Posey withLincecum again.
The Giants are expected to start Cain, MadisonBumgarner and Lincecum in the first three games of an NL Division Series, withthe order somewhat dependent on opponent and more so whether Bochys club opensat home or on the road.
Bochy did not rule out using just three starters, but thatsituation likely would happen only if the Giants are down 2-1 and faceelimination in Game 4. A better bet is having either Barry Zito or RyanVogelsong as the Game 4 starter; Bochy already said the plan is for bothpitchers to be on a playoff roster.
You look at all the starters and theyve all thrown verywell, Bochy said. We wouldnt be here without any of them. Its unique wehave five starters with double-digit wins.
The Giants also have to decide whether to carry 11 or 12pitchers. The Giants would be able to use their fifth starter as a long man,but they might prefer to keep an eighth reliever anyway because they are somatchup-dependent with a closer-by-committee approach. On the other side of thecoin, the team wants to carry Aubrey Huff as a bat off the bench -- and for allpractical purposes, he requires a pinch runner.
Huff could make some starts at first base down the stretchto gauge his running ability.
And what about the thought that the Giants (89-64) arebetter off in their current spot as the No. 3 seed, who opens the first roundwith two home games? Could it be a disadvantage to pass the WashingtonNationals (93-60) or Cincinnati Reds (92-61) in the victory column?
The top seed, after all, wont know where its going tostart an NL Division Series until the one-game wild card playoff game. Andalthough the top two seeds would play games 3-5 at home, theyd only beguaranteed one home playoff date.
Bochy said hes already spoken to some players and remindedthem that they are playing to win.
If it ends up that way, so be it, Bochy said. Theres no otherway to play the game. I cant say theres a preference. Weve got a pitchertrying to win a game and weve got fans watching. We still want to go out thereand play good baseball.
During the managers session, I made a joke that France, Bochysbirth country, is getting jobbed again in the World Baseball Classic. I didntrealize that France actually has a team that is trying to qualify for the WBCfor the first time. In fact, their pitching coach is 2003 Cy Young Award winnerEric Gagne.
And I didnt know that French officials asked if Bochysson, Brett, would be able to pitch in a bleu uniform.
Unfortunately, that wont happen. Brett Bochy was shut downas a precaution because of arm fatigue. The connection is tenuous, anyway.Bochy was born on an army base in France, left with his family in his infancy,and didnt return until he was in his 50s for a vacation.
He thought he found the village where he was born, Landes deBussac.
After we got back, I figured out we went to the wrongBussac, Bochy said.