With a 2-1 series lead and a San Francisco Giants team forced to rely on the shakiest of their starting pitchers in Games 4 and 5, St. Louis Cardinals fans have plenty to be optimistic about heading into Thursday's NLCS game at Busch Stadium.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy announced that right-hander Tim Lincecum -- who had an uncharacteristically poor 2012 (10-15, 5.18) and has been relegated to the bullpen in the postseason thus far -- will start Game 4, and characteristically poor left-hander Barry Zito will start Game 5 on Friday. Bochy's decision to go with Lincecum and Zito over Madison Bumgarner -- who struggled in his Game 1 start -- is being questioned by baseball media, Giants fans, and Cards fans alike.
"(W)eighing too heavily a few bad starts seems like a serious hazard for a manager; weighing a few bad starts too heavily and choosing Barry Zito over an otherwise good starter seems like a poor choice. let's hope i'm proved right tomorrow. tonight, we face Lincecum, with a chance to take a big lead in the series."
Will Giants fans see the Lincecum of old, or the 2012 version? Will throwing the unreliable Zito instead of Bumgarner -- who has looked tired in recent starts -- pan out for a Giants team that is running out of time?
First pitch of Game 4 of the NLCS is scheduled for 5 p.m. PT and the game will be televised on FOX.