Giants vs. Cardinals, 2012 NLCS Game 3: Giants rotation beginning to look a little thin

Ezra Shaw

With Giants manager Bruce Bochy announcing Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito as his starters for Games 4 and 5, SB Nation's Cardinals blog Viva El Birdos thinks the team's rotation is in trouble.

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.

SB Nation's Cardinals blog, Viva El Birdos, weighed in on Bochy's decision:

"(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.

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