Programming note: For comprehensive coverage of the Giants’ playoff run, watch SportsNet Central tonight at 10:30 p.m. and midnight on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
SAN FRANCISCO – Madison Bumgarner has thrown 249 innings since Opening Day. Bruce Bochy did not check on him before deciding to hand him the baseball for Game 1 of the World Series.
“I think I would insult him if I did,” Bochy said.
The Giants are making very few changes as they prepare to play Missouri’s other team, the Kansas City Royals, in Game 1 on Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium. Bumgarner, the NLCS MVP, will oppose right-hander James Shields and Jake Peavy will follow in Game 2 against right-hander Yordano Ventura.
Tim Hudson and Ryan Vogelsong would remain in the rotation for Games 3-4, with Yusmeiro Petit revising his role as a swingman. And yes, Tim Lincecum will remain on the roster as well, Bochy said.
“I’m pretty sure at some point he’ll be in a game,” Bochy said of Lincecum, who wasn’t used in the wild card game at Pittsburgh, the NL Division Series against the Washington Nationals or the NLCS triumph over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Bochy didn’t comment on his lineup or options at designated hitter for the first two games in Kansas City, where the Giants were swept in August by scores or 4-2, 5-0 and 7-4. But it’s expected Michael Morse’s dramatic, tying home run in the eighth inning of Game 5 against the Cardinals makes him an obvious candidate to DH.
Why stick with 12 pitchers and keep Lincecum, when perhaps the Giants could use an extra pair of legs (Gary Brown or Ehire Adrianza) to pinch run for Morse? Especially when the Royals swiped five bases against Lincecum in a train wreck of a start in August?
“Well, Timmy’s done a lot for us,” Bochy said. “I’ll start with that. You get in a playoff series and there’s always a guy or two who doesn’t get a lot of work. But it doesn’t mean Timmy won’t play a big role.”
Bochy pointed out that Lincecum would’ve pitched the 18th inning of Game 2 at Washington if the Giants hadn’t taken a lead. No, it’s not at all likely the Giants will face that situation again. But left unsaid by the manager: Peavy and Vogelsong are coming off short starts, while Hudson is 39 years old and pitching past the first round for the first time in his career. It’s not as if they can just plug in three or four innings from Petit every day. The additional coverage on the innings side might be more valuable, potentially, than another pinch runner.
“You can’t ever have enough pitching or experience,” Bochy said. “I think about Timmy, trust me, the fact he hasn’t been in there, because I know what he’s done for us and what he could do for us, and I want him to be a part of this.”
As for going with Vogelsong as the No.4 starter over Petit, Bochy cited Vogelsong's strong start in the NLDS and Petit's value and versatility in his current role. There "wasn't a thought" of switching the two, he said.