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The Giants have a question mark regarding Tim Lincecum's health.
The other major question mark is rookie right-hander Hunter Strickland, who might have shown in more ways than one that he isn’t prepared to pitch on this stage.
The Royals blew open a 2-2 game in the sixth inning and did most of their damage against Strickland, who allowed a two-run double to Salvador Perez and a two-run home run to Omar Infante. It was the fifth home run he has allowed this postseason, and although seemingly unprovoked, he responded by staring at Perez and then shouting at him.
Bochy praised Strickland for standing at his locker after the game and acknowledging he was in the wrong.
“I was proud of how he owned his actions after the game,” Bochy said. “He stood up and said, 'Hey I made a mistake, I let my emotions lead me there.' But still, he’s a part of this club and a part of this bullpen and we may need him. I don’t know how these games will go.”
Bochy is not the kind of manager who will publicly show a lack of confidence in a struggling player. So he cast the five-pitcher, five-run sixth inning as a one-off. Even if his true intention is to treat Strickland as the last man standing as the World Series moves forward, he’s not going to come out and say it.
“We think we’ll be fine,” Bochy said. “It didn’t go well last night but that doesn’t happen very often. We try to stay positive here and I want them to stay positive, (Jean) Machi and Strickland, because they could be needed.”
Machi faced just one batter Wednesday, relieving Jake Peavy and giving up a tiebreaking single to Billy Butler after falling behind in the count. But the right-hander hasn’t had the same splitter for awhile now. He had a 1.57 ERA through August but gave up nine runs in nine innings in September. He’s been scored upon in three of his five postseason appearances.
“For most of the year Machi was our bridge, our go to guy,” Bochy said. “You hope the layoff, getting a break, throwing bullpens. … He faced one hitter, he got behind and he made a mistake there. So Dave Righetti and myself will talk about that, how we’ll try to bridge this thing up here.”