The Cardinals picked up a 3-1 win on Wednesday night after a 3.5-hour rain delay, handing Matt Cain his second loss of the postseason. And because Cain lasted as long as he did, it gave Bruce Bochy the opportunity to plug in Tim Lincecum as his Game 4 starter.
Bochy announced the move immediately following the loss on Wednesday and said that, per CSNBayArea.com's Andrew Baggarly, "lineup tweaks [are] on the way."
The Giants manager also announced that Barry Zito would start Game 5 for the Giants. He'd previously hinted that Lincecum deserved the Game 4 start.
Bochy has then gone to the very rare five-man rotation for a playoff series: Madison Bumgarner started Game 1 for the Giants (and lost), Ryan Vogelsong started Game 2 (and won) and Cain lost on Wednesday.
This is a bit odd, but it gives Bochy some flexibility, provided the Giants make it further than five games. He'd be able to go with Vogelsong or Bumgarner for Game 6, depending on how he thinks the pair will perform. Bumgarner's struggled lately, but he's also been much better at home traditionally. Perhaps some extra rest would do him good.
Bochy sat on his decision to wait and announce a Game 4 starter as well, citing the fact that he didn't have to name a starter as his logic for waiting.
"Because I don't have to right now," Bochy said on Tuesday when asked why he hadn't named a Game 4 starter. "That's my biggest reason."
Cain lasting six-plus innings opened the door for Lincecum though; if he'd only made it through four or five innings (and/or been pulled for weather reasons), it was entirely likely that Lincecum got the long-relief duty and skipped for the start.
Instead, the Lincecum Redemption Tour will get a magnificent chance at glory on Thursday in St. Louis, when the two-time Cy Young winner will get a shot to even the NLCS at two games apiece.