We knew pitching was going to be a key story line in the NLCS series between the San Francisco Giants and the Philadelphia Phillies.
That is proving very true.
First came manager Bruce Bochy's curve ball Wednesday that changed up the pitching rotation.
Tim Lincecum will start game 1 as expected, but Bochy is going with Jonathan Sanchez for Game No. 2 and Matt Cain has to wait until Game 3 back in San Francisco next Tuesday for his start.
And when it comes to the team's ace, there is new concern involving Lincecum's throwing hand. Lincecum told reporters Wednesday that he's developed a blister during his masterful performance against Atlanta in Game No. 1 of the NLDS.
While this posses limited concern to Lincecum and the Giants, it could lead to an advantage for the Phillies if they decide to use Roy Halladay on limited rest once the series gets rolling.
Normally, a blister needs the 5 days rest to recover, which would leave the pitching matchup in Philidelphia's favor.
Now back to the Sanchez and Cain swap. There are a few reasons for that. Citizens Bank Ballpark is considered a "Bandbox", and Sanchez's abilty to enduce the ground ball coupled with his sucess earlier in the year in Philidelphia makes a Game 2 start ideal. Also, Sanchez's numbers as of late are more impressive than Cain's. In his last nine outings, Sanchez has allowed two runs or less going 4-1.
Here's the line up:
- Saturday - Tim Lincecum
- Sunday - Jonathan Sanchez
- Tuesday - Matt Cain
- Wednesday - Madison Bumgarner
After Wednesday it becomes a chess game depending on where the series stands.
The series is being refered to as the "real" World Series by many baseball analysts and that is in great part pitching duel.
It's also worth noting that the highest paid member of the team is still not in the rotation at all. Pitcher Barry Zito didn't even make the roster against the Braves.
The team left AT&T Park for Philadelphia Thursday ahead of Saturday's Game No. 1.