Lincecum a Giants reliever for now against Reds


Lincecum a Giants reliever for now against Reds

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Tim Lincecum is a reliever for the time being, two years after he pitched the Giants' Game 5 World Series clincher at Texas.

The struggling two-time NL Cy Young Award winner pitched two innings out of the bullpen for San Francisco in Game 2 of the NL division series against the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday night. His team trailed 1-0 after losing Saturday's opener 5-2.

Manager Bruce Bochy named right-hander Ryan Vogelsong his Game 3 starter for Tuesday in Cincinnati - and Bochy said he already picked a pitcher for a potential Game 4. He wouldn't say whether the Giants would turn to Matt Cain on three days' rest but said an announcement on the tentative plan could come by late Sunday.

``My reaction is I know what to prepare for now,'' said Lincecum, who went through pregame work with the relievers. ``I'll go in with that mindset today and whatever they want me to do. That's really all I can do. I don't make up the lineup. As much as I'd like to start, I don't have that say. He's the one making the decisions. That's what he's there for and I'm all for that.''

Lincecum is the franchise leader in wins for a single postseason with four from 2010.

He went 10-15 with a 5.18 ERA and 190 strikeouts in his sixth major league season. The losses were a career high.

Lincecum started Game 5 of the 2010 NL championship series then pitched in relief in Game 6 following a day off. Otherwise, the right-hander has rarely been a reliever - just once in April 2008. Bochy planned to use him in long relief if the situation called for him, preferably at the start of a fresh inning.

He pitched the sixth and seventh innings Sunday, allowing one hit and striking out two. He pumped his fist after striking out Ryan Hanigan to end the sixth.

``I'm just looking forward to whenever I get on the field, whether that's starting,'' Lincecum said. ``Nothing's saying I'm going to come out of the bullpen today. Just waiting for that chance. When it comes up I'll do my best.''

Bochy called it a tough decision, comparing this situation to leaving left-hander Barry Zito off the postseason roster for all three rounds during the 2010 run to the franchise's first championship since 1954.

Zito, meanwhile, is another option out of the bullpen if needed. San Francisco won Zito's final 11 starts.

The 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner with the Oakland Athletics had his best season since joining the Giants on a $126 million, seven-year contract before the 2007 season. Zito won his last five starts and seven decisions of the regular season since a loss Aug. 2 to the Mets.

``I wouldn't rule out anything,'' Bochy said of a Game 4 - if the series gets that far.

Lincecum was the first Giants starter since Livan Hernandez in 2001 to make at least 30 starts and have an ERA as high as 5.18. The 28-year-old pitcher also allowed a majors-high 28 runs in the first inning after giving up only eight all of last year.

While he was 1-6 with a 9.00 ERA in his first nine road starts, Lincecum was 5-0 with a 3.16 ERA over his final six away from AT&T Park.

Ultimately, Bochy decided based on the consistency of playoff first-timer Vogelsong (14-9, 3.37 ERA). He threw a bullpen session Saturday after being told the plan a couple of days ago.

``I talked to Timmy, Timmy knows,'' Bochy said. ``Timmy understands. It's fair to say it's been an up-and-down year for Timmy. It's been a fight for him all year.''

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3 reasons the Caps beat the Red Wings

3 reasons the Caps beat the Red Wings

Not much separated the Washington Capitals and the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday. A late 2-on-0 goal for Brett Connolly proved to be the difference.

Here's why the Caps ultimately walked away with the 1-0 win.

A first period goalie interference call

Andreas Athanasiou thought he had given the Red Wings a first period lead, but Barry Trotz challenged the call for goalie interference. The review showed that Tyler Bertuzzi clipped Philipp Grubauer in the head with an elbow right before the shot went in. Given how long it took the Caps to get going in this game, it is fair to say an early deficit would have been hard to overcome.


Killing off a full two-minute 5-on-3

Two man advantages are hard to kill. Killing off a full two-minutes at 5-on-3, that's a tall task. With the game still scoreless in the second period, T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller were both assessed penalties giving Detroit two-full minutes at 5-on-3. The Red Wings managed four shots on goal, but Washington was able to successfully kill off the penalty and keep the game scoreless.

Philipp Grubauer

There were few players who had strong efforts on Tuesday, but Grubauer was phenomenal. Even when the game felt sleepy in the first two periods, Detroit still managed 28 shots on goal, all of which were turned aside by the German netminder. When Washington finally took the lead in the third, the Red Wings woke up and began pushing the offense, but Grubauer was in the zone at that point and could not be beaten. His best save came in the third period when he stared down a breakaway from Athanasiou and extended the pad to deny the shot.


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Tarik's 3 stars: Grubauer, Caps shut down the Red Wings

Tarik's 3 stars: Grubauer, Caps shut down the Red Wings

It wasn’t pretty but the Caps eventually got what they needed in Detroit: two points.  

After a sleepy first 40 minutes, Brett Connolly scored midway through the third period and then Philipp Grubauer made sure it stood up at Little Caesars Arena, where Washington eked out a 1-0 victory Thursday over the scuffling Red Wings.


Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Philipp Grubauer, Capitals

For much of the game, Grubi was left to fend for himself. Good thing for the Caps he was up to the task. The German netminder, who has been one of the NHL’s top goaltenders since Thanksgiving, turned aside 39 shots, including three stops on a pivotal 5-on-3 penalty kill in the second period.

2-Brett Connolly, Capitals

The Caps didn’t get many Grade-A opportunities vs. Jimmy Howard. But Connolly buried one of the few they got…on a 2-on-0, set up by Jakub Vrana in the third period.

Connolly’s goal was his 15th of the season in his 63rd game, equaling the career-high he set a year ago in 66 contests. Vrana, meantime, has three goals and five assists since getting scratched 12 games ago.

3-Lars Eller, Capitals

Eller didn’t record a point, but he was all over the puck in Motown. The veteran center finished with a game-high six shots on net. He also had a key backcheck against Darren Helm, on a shorthanded breakaway, in the first period.

Eller was good in the dot, too, winning eight of 12 faceoffs.

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