Tim Lincecum is the least of the Giants' pitching worries as they head toward clinching the division.
On Friday, the San Francisco Giants will embark on a series against the Padres that will, quite possibly, see them clinch the National League West title.
But please don't ask them about it, because they have no interest in trying to talk playoffs until it's a done deal.
"The view looks great right now," center fielder Angel Pagan said. "We have to really make sure. We can't talk about playoffs right now."
Since, you know, they could always go 0-12 down the stretch. Or 1-11. Or 2-10. Or 3 ... nevermind, that would actually clinch things for them.
So a sweep makes it happen, cap'n. Could it happen? Sure, especially since the matchups look pretty nice.
Game 1, Friday 9/21, 7:15 p.m. PT, Ryan Vogelsong (12-9, 3.65 ERA) vs. Casey Kelly (2-1, 5.85)
Vogey is pitching for his playoff life in this one. Barry Zito picked up another win on Thursday and since August 1, Vogelsong has allowed less than three runs in a start exactly once. His ERA since then is 7.95 (!). That is a big problem, especially as Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean start making decisions for the postseason roster.
Right now, he's got to be out. He'll have this start and another to make his case to step up and make the postseason, and how he responds will go a long way towards determining if he can get off the bubble.
It's hard to ask for a better matchup, but it's also impossibly difficult to quantify what he's facing when he takes the mound on Friday night, regardless of whether or not the Giants are sweating the need to go ahead and clinch the division title.
Game 2, Saturday 9/22, 6:05 p.m. PT, Madison Bumgarner (15-10, 3.26) vs. Andrew Werner (2-1, 3.68)
I guess what happens when the NFL starts is one day you look over at the Padres starting pitchers and you say "Who the hell are these guys?" I mean, really. I get that this isn't a good baseball team, but who are they running out these days?
Anyway, MadBum's been struggling badly since he shut out the Dodgers over eight innings in late August: over his past five starts he has a 1-3 record with a 6.00 ERA and 21:14 K:BB ratio. He needs this start to gain momentum for the playoffs. Badly.
Game 3, Sunday 9/23, 1:05 p.m. PT, Tim Lincecum (10-14, 4.91) vs. Eric Stults (6-3, 2.69)
Speaking of momentum, Timmy's finally got Uncle Mo in a headlock, and it couldn't be coming at a better time.
Wouldn't it be amazingly insane if the Giants needed one win to clinch the NL West come Sunday and Lincecum was there to pitch it and closed the thing out?
He's been one of the bigger stories in baseball for his struggles throughout the season, and yet he could very well end up clinching the Giants division title. It would be a little too perfect, but it could happen.
And if it does, it's gotta be a good omen going into the postseason.