Programming note: For the most comprehensive World Series coverage from Kansas City, watch "October Quest" today at 4 p.m., and immediately after Game 2 on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
KANSAS CITY -– The Giants offered a different answer for why Tim Lincecum missed introductions for Game 1 of the World Series Tuesday night.
He wasn’t running late. He was sick to his stomach.
“He was throwing up,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “That’s the honest truth. He was throwing up, and trying to get well before the game.”
Bochy hadn’t realized Lincecum was absent from the introductions and didn’t even know about the illness until after the game. He said Lincecum had rebounded well enough that he was available to pitch, so head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner decided not to bother Bochy with an update.
Lincecum, wearing a hooded sweatshirt pulled over his head, watched the first two innings from the dugout before heading out to the bullpen.
“There was no intent on (not) going out there for the lineup,” Bochy said. “I don't look at each player. I've got 40 or 50 guys out there, it seems like, so I didn't notice it. He was good to go for the game, and he's fine now.”
Lincecum still hasn’t pitched this postseason, and his fans on social media are clamoring for an appearance. But Bochy didn’t see fit to send Lincecum to the mound with a 7-1 lead in the ninth inning Tuesday.
He sent Hunter Strickland out there, instead.
“The work he and (Dave Righetti) have done has paid off,” Bochy said of Strickland, who threw several times off a mound in an effort to avoid tipping pitches. “It was the right situation for him. There are some other pitchers I want to get out there, but I can’t get them all out there. … I was comfortable with Strickland out there.”
Left unsaid: The Giants plan on Strickland to get critical outs in this series –- more than Lincecum, quite obviously –- and so it was a priority to get him straightened out.
The Giants had to back off Strickland during the NLCS after Matt Adams took him deep. At that point, left-handed batters were 4 for 7 with four home runs against him this postseason. So it was no small victory when Strickland got the Royals’ Eric Hosmer to roll over to second base.
“For sure, for sure,” said Strickland, asked if the scoreless inning gave him a confidence boost. “He’s a great hitter. I just knew I had to execute pitches there because if I didn’t, whatever I threw he could turn around.”
Bochy confirmed that one of the reasons they were so determined to stay the course with Michael Morse and his left oblique injury is that they knew he’d be an ideal designated hitter if they made it to the World Series.
Morse was in the interview room and talked glowingly about being able to walk into the Giants clubhouse on a random Tuesday in May and see Willie Mays walking down the hallway.
“You can’t ask for a better guy to listen to,” Morse said. “He was actually writing something down on a piece of paper, and all I could think about was saving the piece of paper. But he crumpled it up and threw it away. I was like, `Ah, man!’”
Interesting news that Royals manager Ned Yost will have Game 4 starter Jason Vargas wear his spikes and be available in case his club needs long relief behind Game 2 starter Yordano Ventura.
James Shields threw 71 pitches in his Game 1 loss, in case you’re wondering about bringing him back on short rest to pitch Game 4. If the Royals have to consider that alternative, you’ll know this series will have gone very wrong for them.
The Giants’ seven consecutive World Series victories, dating to 2010, is tied with the 1949-50 Yankees for the sixth longest in World Series history. If they were to sweep this series, their streak of 10 would match the 1937-41 Boston Red Sox for the third longest streak. The 1996-2000 Yankees hold the record with 14 consecutive wins.