Oct 10, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Barry Zito (75) pitches in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds in game four of the 2012 NLDS at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE
Game One: Barry Zito, LHP
The Giants haven’t made an official announcement regarding their pitching rotation, but it seems apparent that Zito will get the game one start on normal rest after pitching in game five of the NLCS. Barry Zito has a Cy Young award in his closet at home, but that came ten years ago, and he hasn’t put up an ERA below 4.00 in a season since 2006 while he was still with Oakland.
Game Two: Ryan Vogelsong, RHP
San Francisco’s game two starting pitcher is very much up in the air. Vogelsong would have to pitch on short rest in order to go in this slot, but he may be a more attractive option to the Giants than Madison Bumgarner, whose velocity has been trending sharply downward, or Tim Lincecum, who posted a 5.18 ERA in the regular season and got shelled (4.2 IP, 4 ER) in his one start in the NLCS.
I’m guessing they’ll try to get Vogelsong in here, because if they don’t, they’ll be stuck with the possibility of two starts from the Bumgarner/Lincecum combination and only one start from Vogelsong.
Game Three: Matt Cain, RHP
Matt Cain is the staff ace, so San Francisco would like to get him in the action as soon as possible and pitch him twice in the series. He’s a lock to pitch game three on normal rest which also lines him up for to pitch game seven as well. I’m sure the Giants would have loved to line him up for games one and five, like the Tigers did with Verlander, but that wasn’t an option after falling down three games to one in the NLCS to the Cardinals. They needed Cain for game seven to get to the World Series in the first place.
Game Four: Madison Bumgarner, LHP
We could very easily see Lincecum get this start, but he’s excelled in a relief role this postseason. Bumgarner’s velocity (and lack of effectiveness) has been a concern for San Francisco fans, but he would be on extra rest here, and they’d be able to put him on a short leash with Lincecum available for a couple of innings out of the pen.
Game Five: Barry Zito, LHP
Zito has pitched well in the postseason, but he’s nowhere near the Barry Zito of old and Giants fans can’t be particularly pleased about the prospect of him pitching twice in the World Series, especially if he’s matched up against Verlander in both games.
Game Six: Ryan Vogelsong, RHP
The advantage of Vogelsong pitching on short rest in game two would be his availability to pitch in game six. If he sticks with normal rest (actually extra rest) and pitches in game four then he’d only get one World Series start and we’d see Bumgarner or Lincecum start in a pivotal game six.
Game Seven: Matt Cain, RHP
Again, it’s an easy choice for Cain to pitch game seven. He’s their ace, and the Giants would have to be favored in a Cain-Anibal Sanchez matchup.
The Tigers have feasted off of right handed pitching this season (.275/.337/.434), so that gives them a leg up against the Giants’ top two pitchers (Cain and Vogelsong), but they’ll have to step up against the lefty Zito (and possibly Bumgarner) to take the series (Detroit hit .253/.329/.395 versus left-handers on the season).