SAN FRANCISCO After a rough month-long stretch starting in mid-August, Ryan Vogelsong seemed to right things over his final three starts. The Giants felt it was a promising enough turn to earn the right-hander a guaranteed start in the N.L. Division Series.
The Giants announced Vogelsong, who finished the season 14-9 with a 3.37 earned-run average, as their starter for Game 3 in Cincinnati over Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito.
That left Lincecum available to come out of the bullpen in Game 2 and not a main member of the rotation in this best-of-five series, two years after he won four playoff games during the Giants' 2010 World Series run.
"I talked to Timmy, and he's all in on this," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He understands and said he wants to do whatever he can to help this ballclub move on, and so we have him in the bullpen right now and we'll see where we're at after (Sunday)."
Lincecum, who went 10-15 and had the highest ERA among qualifying big-league pitchers this year at 5.18, was diplomatic about the move.
"My reaction is, well, I know what to prepare for now," Lincecum said. "I don't make up the lineup and yeah, as much as I would like to start, I don't make that say.
"Any position that I can be in to help the team, whether that's coming out of the bullpen or making a long relief appearance or anything, starting on whichever day, it doesn't really matter. I just want to help my team."
Lincecum pitched the sixth and seventh innings Sunday, allowing one hit and striking out two.
Bochy acknowledged it was "not easy" informing the two-time Cy Young winner he would not be guaranteed a start in the series, though Lincecum said it didn't take him totally by surprise.
"It's about earning it, and it's not about what you've done, it's about what you've done for 'em lately," Lincecum said. "And my last two starts weren't very good."
Lincecum went 3-0 with a 2.52 ERA in his first four starts in September but gave up 11 earned runs in his final two. He pointed out that, if he were to enter in relief, he could draw on Game 6 of the 2010 NLCS, when he worked a third of an inning out of the bullpen.
"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 or whatnot," he said. "It's not about that right now. It's about the team, and right now it's about winning."
Vogelsong, the league's ERA leader as late as Aug. 12, had a 6.75 ERA over his final 10 starts. But he allowed just one earned run over his final three starts and was lifted from his final outing after 71 pitches, indicating he might be in line for a playoff start.
"You look at really how consistent he's been for the most part this year," said Bochy, who held off naming a potential Game 4 starter but said Zito is a possibility.
The Reds, meanwhile, announced right-hander Homer Bailey will start Game 3 after Mat Latos, who was slated to start that game, pitched four innings in relief in Game 1.