ST. LOUIS Tim Lincecum is a reliever no more. Needing a win today against the St. Louis Cardinals to avoid a 3-1 deficit in the National League Championship Series, the Giants will send their two-time Cy Young Award winner to the mound for his first start of this postseason.
Manager Bruce Bochy, who made it official after the Giants lost 3-1 to the Cardinals in Game 3, also said left-hander Barry Zito will start Game 5 on Friday.
"He's the guy we want out there and he's been throwing the ball well," Bochy said of Lincecum. "We've got to bounce back. It's great to have a guy like Timmy all set to go to start for us."
Lincecum was not in the Giants' rotation in the division series after going 10-15 with a 5.18 ERA during the regular season. But he has pitched very well out of the bullpen in the postseason in three outings, he has allowed one run on three hits in 81/3 innings and struck out nine.
Bochy said the starters have known the plan for some time, but he was waiting to see whether he would need Lincecum in relief in either of the past two games.
Bochy said he had not decided whether to start Buster Posey today at catcher or Hector Sanchez, who has caught most of Lincecum's outings this season.
Posey, who has caught Lincecum in the playoffs and said it seems like the right-hander's pitches have shown more life than they did in the regular season, added that he expects to catch Lincecum today.
"But I don't know if that's the case," Posey said.
Sanchez has also regularly caught Zito, who will be starting Game 5 instead of struggling left-hander Madison Bumgarner. Zito lasted 22/3 innings in his lone start of the NLDS but pitched well down the stretch for the Giants, who won his final 11 regular-season starts.
"I think we feel that it's time to give Madison a little break," Bochy said. "And he's a young kid, 23. He has been pitching a lot of innings, and we feel at this point that we're better off giving him a little break and going with Z, who's done a nice job for us."
Bumgarner has been hit hard in his two playoff starts, both of them losses, giving up 10 runs in eight innings.
Rain, rain While Game 3 was in a rain delay, most of the crowd that stuck around took shelter from the deluge under overhangs and waited. It sounded as though the Giants, in their clubhouse, were doing much of the same.
"Try to do something," said center fielder Angel Pagan. "Rest, eat, there's not much to do. Maybe watch videos of your last at-bat."
The storm appeared to let up around the two-hour mark, but the game was kept on hold while a smaller, second wave of rain passed through, to avoid another stoppage. In total the delay lasted 208 minutes or 20 more than the Giants had all season.
During that time, Posey said, he was doing "a lot of sitting. I walked to the kitchen, I walked to the training room, walked to the bathroom. Then I sat some more."