The San Francisco Giants join their Bay Area brothers as they too have their backs up against the wall entering Game 3 of the NLDS. After getting outscored 14-2 in their first two games, the Giants are hitting the road looking to work their way out of the 0-2 hole they’ve dug themselves. The man they’re handing the ball to who they feel can spark a comeback in the series is not former Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum or former ace Barry Zito. Instead the Giants have named Ryan Vogelsong their Game 3 starter.
Vogelsong is only mildly better than both Lincecum and Zito as all three pitcher struggled mightily down the home stretch of the season. For Lincecum, being passed over as the Game 3 starter is perhaps the low point of an otherwise forgettable season for the marijuana loving ace. As for Zito, he actually had a better case to start Game 3 than Lincecum did, but the nod ultimately went to Vogelsong who posted a 14-9 record with a 3.37 ERA in 2012.
Not only is this a low point for a guy who won back-to-back Cy Young Awards in 2008 and 2009, but it also means that the Giants could go their entire postseason without having their so-called ace take the mound. If the Giants lose, obviously they’re out and Lincecum will have had no chance to take the mound other than in a relief appearance.
But even if the Giants win a game in Cincinnati, they could very well pass over Lincecum and start the new ace of the staff, Matt Cain, on three days rest in Game 4 and then either Madison Bumgarner or Barry Zito in Game 5.
Passing over Lincecum in a must-win situation shows the Giants have lost all faith in the wild arm of Lincecum this year, who posted a 10-15 record this year with an outlandish 5.18 ERA, the highest of his six year career with the Giants. Lincecum’s sub-.500 record in 2012 also marked back-to-back years that the pitcher dubbed “The Freak” has posted a losing record. But even in his 13-14 season last year, Lincecum still managed an ERA under 3.00.
The erstwhile ace did put in two scoreless innings of relief in Game 2 and managed to stop the bleeding temporarily for he Giants, but his efforts were fruitless as his team dropped their second straight game, losing 9-0.
This Giants team is still young and extremely talented but that clearly doesn’t mean it’s a good team. Something’s not happening in San Francisco and like Lincecum’s troubles this year, the ballclub is hoping they leave their woes in the bay area as if they want to advance to another NLCS appearance, they’ll need to win out in Cincinnati against the second best team in baseball.