On Wednesday night Tim Lincecum all but saved the San Francisco Giants’ season by tossing 4.1 innings of relief against the Cincinnati Reds, after starter Barry Zito checked out after just 2.2 innings. Lincecum was brilliant and got the win in Game 4 of the NLDS to extend San Francisco’s season after an 8-3 road victory.
Now that Lincecum has shown that he can still bring it, the Giants could decide to bring him back into the rotation. In his 4.1 innings on Wednesday night he allowed just two hits and did not walk a batter or allow a run.
Zito didn’t have it Wednesday night, and now that Lincecum has thrown 6.1 innings of scoreless relief work this postseason, there’s a chance the 28-year-old, two-time Cy Young Award winner could replace Zito in the rotation.
Lincecum endured the worst season of his career in 2012, finishing the campaign with a 10-15 record and career-highs in ERA (5.18) and WHIP (1.47). His WAR was also a career-worst -2.0, and he allowed career-highs in runs (111), walks (90), and home runs (23).
So yeah, it’s pretty obvious why he was relegated to the bullpen after the regular season. But now that he has stepped up and pitched well in the postseason it might be time for the Giants to move away from Zito and back to their long-time workhorse. Of course this is al contingent on getting past the Reds in Game 5 of the NLDS.
We’ll see what happens, but manager Bruce Bochy will have some thinking to do if his Giants manage to reach the NLCS.