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By TED SILLANPAA

SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Giants will take 12 pitchers and veteran first baseman Aubrey Huff on the roster when the National League Division Series opens today against the Cincinnati Reds.

Pitching coach Dave Righetti seemed to indicate that Tim Lincecum will be in the bullpen during the NLDS.  San Jose Mercury News columnist Tim Kawakami reported that Righetti said Lincecum would be a key in the series “and it might not be just for one game.” With Matt Cain starting today and Madison Bumgarner in Game 2, Lincecum couldn’t get two starting assignments in the series.

“And he goes, ‘Man, whatever it takes,’ “ Righetti told the Mercury News of Lincecum’s response to the idea of multiple appearances that would have to come out of the bullpen. “He’s looking to help out any way he can.”

Giants manager Bruce Bochy opted to keep the veteran Huff, who appeared in only 55 games and was primarily a pinch-hitter down the stretch after coming off the disabled list, over a host of players who had been used extensively as pinch-runners in September. Neither outfielder Justin Christian or Francisco Peguero made the NLDS roster.

Huff, who started a game at first base in the final week of the season, batted .192 in 52 games while battling leg injuries. The veteran has a .297 career batting average with three home runs and a .495 slugging percentage against the pitchers the Reds will carry into the NLDS.

Xavier Nady will be the only reserve outfielder on the Giants NLDS roster. Left-hand batting Gregor Blanco gets the start in Game 1 in left field. Second baseman Ryan Theriot, catcher Hector Sanchez and infielder Joaquin Arias round out the bench players chosen with an edge given to power over speed as the Giants prepare to play in the launching pad at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park.

While Game 3 and Game 4 starting pitchers remain a mystery,  Barry Zito and Ryan Vogelsong are both on the roster. It was believed that Bochy would choose between righty relievers George Kontos and Guillermo Mota, but he opted to keep both pitchers. The club kept just 11 pitchers on the postseason rosters in 2010.

The bullpen includes  Mota and Kontos with one of the starters, apparently Lincecum, joining Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez, Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla and Jose Mijares.

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6 Comments

  1. Cara

    Not starting Lincecum also avoids the awkward decision regarding his catcher. HSanchez starts and lose Belt’s bat and defense at 1B (though Posey is pretty good there) or keep Belt’s bat in the lineup and stick him in LF? Or keep Posey at C but if Lincecum does poorly (as he has numerous times this season with Sanchez catching), he sulks and Bochy’s judgement gets questioned.
    I think we’ll see Lincecum in game 3 in long relief, Zito will have a short leash.
    Giants in 4.

    October 6th, 2012 1:41 pm

  2. overtime

    Cara….Thanks for reading my stuff. I don’t share most folks’ concern with the domino effect started by Sanchez catching. I think, just think, there’s stuff going on behind the scenes that prompt the Giants to do anything but name a Game 3 starter. No reason for me to think Lincecum would complain. It’s just not the Giants’ style to hem and haw — and, typically, the confidence they show in the starting pitchers indicates they don’t plan to need relief help early. This is all shaping up to make it seem like wherever Lincecum lands, it’s because that’s him really, really helping the club. He pitched like Zito did in 2010, so I’m missing the logic in the delay. Ted

    October 6th, 2012 1:47 pm

  3. Paul

    Curious to know what your baseball guys said about the possibility of Timmy tipping pitches.

    October 6th, 2012 5:23 pm

  4. overtime

    Paul…The guys I talked to felt like if Lincecum’s problems have exceeded giving up a big, timely hit that you mentioned you thought could come from tipping pitches. They doubted that Lincecum was tipping his pitches because none of them notice anything different in his pre-pitch routine, motion and delivery from his great years. As was the case all year, they noticed inconsistencies in his motion and delivery that account for loss of command, etc. His problem has been lack of command in the innings and games where he has struggled. The mechanical problems aren’t things that would help a hitter pick up a pitch … for example, when he opens up a little too much and throws across his body, his landing foot hits a little closer to the first base dugout and not on a direct line with home plate and … it has nothing to do with what pitch he’s throwing. (This is inside baseball stuff, I realize.) Those big hits we feel have sometimes come out of the blue come more from a pitch floating into the prime hitting zone, rather than to the spot he intended to throw it. Thanks for reminding me to explain what I learned. Ted

    October 6th, 2012 5:46 pm

  5. Paul

    I agree that his mechanics are really screwed up. You can see that in his attitude and his clear frustration. His fast ball velocity is so inconsistent and his K pitch (change up) is great unless he hangs it. It just seemed to me that batters would sit on a fastball or a change up and thats when you would see those good cuts that you never used to see against him. But, I suppose when a pitcher is going bad you can just look for your pitch in the zone and go for it. Thanks for researching it.

    October 6th, 2012 6:02 pm

  6. overtime

    Paul…No problem with the research. Thanks for reading and taking part. Ted

    October 6th, 2012 10:49 pm

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