Giants manager Bruce Bochy did not seem to be in the revealing mood on Friday afternoon.
The usually honest and cordial Bochy played his cards close to the vest during his NLDS pre-series press conference at AT&T Park.
Instead of revealing the final cuts to the playoff roster, he chose not to do so until after the evening workouts. And instead of revealing the much-anticipated Game 3 starter, he chose to hold off on that, as well.
For now, we know that Matt Cain will pitch Game 1 on Saturday and Madison Bumgarner will go in Game 2 on Sunday.
“More than anything it’s really vital for us to have all hands on deck here the first two games,” Bochy said. “If we want to use some guys in the rotation early here, then we’ll do that. We wanted to keep our options open.”
The options for the anticipated Game 3 starter are two-time Cy Young award-winner Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito.
Lincecum has had his most disappointing season in his short career, veering off-course to start the season and never regaining traction until a few good starts in the final weeks.
Zito, on the other hand, has not lost since August 2.
“I’m just happy to be here,” Zito said. “Happy to be here, happy to be on the roster, happy to be having fun playing baseball right now. Everything else is gravy.”
Bochy said he does not know when he will be making the decision, but that the players already know what the situation is.
“We may use Timmy in the `pen, we may use Vogelsong in the `pen or Zito,” Bochy said. “They’ll know exactly what’s going on. We’ll make sure that they’re ready. That’s right now what we think is the best way to about it.”
The most telling part of the issue for the Giants is that they have not named the exact starter for Game 3 yet.
A two-time Cy Young award-winner would be given notice of when he will be pitching in the first round of the playoffs – Lincecum has not.
Zito has had some of his best stuff on the mound in the final months of the season and has arguably been the Giants’ most dependable starter since the beginning of August.
Another factor is that Zito cannot come out of the bullpen, based on his pregame rituals and simple fact that he has never done it.
Lincecum has the tools to come out of the bullpen when called upon, and did do it in 2010, which could put Zito on the mound for Game 3 and Lincecum in the bullpen ready to go if the situation presents itself early in the game.