SAN DIEGO Tim Lincecumsplace in the Giants postseason rotation remains a mystery. But whenever he happensto take the mound in a playoff game, its becoming clearer that Buster Poseywill not be his catcher.
Giants manager BruceBochy confirmed that Lincecum will start Sunday at San Diego and Hector Sanchezwill catch him.
My preference,really, Bochy said. I just like the way its gone in the second half.
Lincecum had a 6.42ERA at the All-Star break, but while working almost exclusively with Sanchez,the right-hander went 7-4 with a 3.06 ERA in his first 13 starts after the break.
Lincecum struggled mightilyto repeat his mechanics in his last outing Tuesday against Arizona, when hefailed to retire a batter in the fifth inning. Sanchez struggled as well whileallowing a passed ball and a wild pitch. Bochy called that game a hiccup.
Bochy dropped a fewmore clues to the postseason rotation, saying he plans to keep his starters onregular rest over this final road trip. That would mean Matt Cain, Barry Zitoand Ryan Vogelsong in this weekends series at Dodger Stadium.
Assuming the Giants remainthe No. 3 seed, Cain would be positioned to take the ball on regular rest in ananticipated NLDS Game 1 on Oct. 6. Madison Bumgarner, who will make his finalregular-season start Saturday at Petco Park, would be the most rested of thebunch and remains the likely choice to slot in as the Game 2 starter.
Its possible theGiants will announce Cain and Bumgarner at the outset of the division series andleave the rest of the pitching matchups to be determined, depending on what theGiants do in their first two games. Bochy would have all three options Zito,Lincecum and Vogelsong on the table for Game 3 and a potential Game 4. (WithCain on regular rest in Game 5 in any scenario.)
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And yes, therotation affects more than the starting pitchers. If Bochy keeps Sanchez pairedwith Zito in addition to Lincecum, that would mean starting Posey at first base and sending either Brandon Belt to left field or the bench.
Belt struggled inthe afternoon sun Sunday when given a look in left field, telling Bochy hesmore comfortable in a night game. Bochy said Belt will start again in left fieldover this final road trip.