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The Giants' World Series Rotation

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You'll be previewed to death between now and tomorrow five PM Pacific, so let me not add too much to the scrum. I'll just focus like a laser -- like a laser off the bat of Marco Scutaro -- on the Giant starting rotation, which needs some creative engineering to avoid exposure.

The bottom line is that, if everyone gets at least four days' rest, Matt Cain will only start once. That's not good. Ryan Vogelsong will be lined up for two games, Barry Zito, the Game 1 starter, for two, and the two lost lambs of the Pacific Flyway will be responsible for a pair. Like this:

Game 1: Zito
Game 2: Bumgarner/Lincecum
Game 3: Vogelsong
Game 4: Cain
Game 5: Zito
Game 6: Bum/Tim
Game 7: Vogelsong

Madison Bumgarner has gone AWOL this post-season, as you all know. Tim Lincecum fizzled in his one start when the Giants needed him to sparkle. Perhaps he'll get another shot, but for now he seems better suited for the bullpen.

There is no way to re-jigger the rotation unless Bochy changes his mind about three days' rest. Moving up Vogelsong and Cain to games 2 and 3 puts Vogey on three days' rest, with Cain on four.   

Now, in recent days I read at the end of someone's notes column that the coaches seemed to figure out a mechanical flaw that's been holding Bumgarner back. Is it fixed enough to declare him World Series-ready? If the Giants weren't blowing smoke, and if there's a glimmer of resuscitation, I think he'll go in Game 2, with Lincecum ready to jump in behind him. If the entire exercise sets off the Tuesday-noon emergency broadcast system siren, Bochy could still opt to bring Vogey back on three days' rest in Game 6, and same with Cain in Game 7. He could then manage their pitch counts in Games 3 and 4 accordingly. If, say, the Giants are up 6-0 after five in Game 3, Bochy could take a calculated risk and rest Vogey as much as possible.

However, if the Giants privately feel Bumgarner is done for the year, I'd move up Vogelsong and Cain to Games 2 and 3, and pray that Barry Zito can get deep into Game 1 to spare the bullpen. Not ideal, but if anyone can grind out five tough innings on three days' rest, it's Vogelsong.

This might be the series the Giants take an extra bullpen arm, what with all this rotation uncertainty.

I'll leave you with one more thought: the DH is weird. No, not just in the sense that it's an unsightly pimple on the otherwise flawless cheek of the world's most lovely game, but also because the rule has quirks. Bruce Bochy has to be careful. If I'm reading it correctly, the rule would make it awkward to use Hector Sanchez as DH; if he were to shift behind the plate, the Giants might lose the DH entirely and the pitchers would have to hit for the rest of the game:

The Designated Hitter may be used defensively, continuing to bat in the same position in the batting order, but the pitcher must then bat in the place of the substituted defensive player, unless more than one substitution is made, and the manager then must designate their spots in the batting order.

So you don't have to go clicking around the shady Interwebs, here's the entire DH rule for you. Until tomorrow, my friends, stay strong, and if at all possible, get the hell out of those wet clothes and into a dry martini.

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Header photo courtesy of Flickr user eviltomthai under a Creative Commons license.