This is where Vogelsong's strong performance starts to make an impact.
Two-time Cy Young Award winner, Tim Lincecum (10-15, 5.18 ERA), did not have to pitch out of the bullpen, and could start Game 4 at Busch Stadium.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle (http://www.sfgate.com/giants/article/Bochy-says-Lincecum-Zito-may-get-starts-3951536.php), San Francisco Manager Bruce Bochy, is "leaning toward" Lincecum against Adam Wainwright (14-13, 3.94 ERA) for Game 4.
This match-up is particularly interesting to me because it's a battle of disgruntled aces. This could be a game where both guys totally dominate, or it could be a game where both guys are chased off early.
Over the past few years, Wainwright and Lincecum have been right up there with the best pitchers in baseball.
Lincecum won back-to-back Cy Young awards from 2008-09, and was great over five starts in the 2010 Postseason, winning four, including a complete-game shutout in Game 1 of the NLDS, his first-ever postseason appearance.
From 2009-10, Wainwright won 39 games, only one less than the Yankees' CC Sabathia, who led the MLB with 40. He also finished with the sixth- and fourth-best ERA, respectively, in those two years.
Wainwright was also terrific in his first and only postseason start before 2012. In the 2009 NLDS, Adam pitched eight innings of three-hit, one-run baseball, only to see the Dodgers score two runs on an infamous Matt Holliday error in the ninth to win 3-2.
But Lincecum had his worst year by far in 2012. And it was very bad.
Bad enough that "The Freak," who was paid $18 million for his services this year, found himself in the bullpen for the NLDS against Cincinnati and for Game 1 of this NLCS.
Lincecum has performed well in his postseason reliever role, giving up only three hits and one run, and striking out nine over 8.1 innings.
Wainwright, who missed all of 2011 after Tommy John surgery, also struggled to find his true form in 2012.
Wainwright did pitch very well in July and August, going 7-3 with a 2.75 ERA. Excluding those two months, however, he pitched about as badly as Lincecum did in 2012, with a 5.33 ERA.
The inconsistency has continued in the playoffs: In Game 1 of the NLDS, Wainwright gave up two ER with 10 strikeouts in 5.2 innings, but in Game 5 only lasted 2.1, allowing three homers and six earned runs. Interestingly enough, the Cardinals lost Game 1 and won Game 5.
I believe that this will be another good game. Lincecum has looked pumped up out of the bullpen and on the bench, and I think he will show up and pitch really well. In 2012, Wainwright's opponents hit .223 in the first four innings and .325 in the fifth through the seventh.
I think this trend continues, the Giants score on their third trip through the order, and they win 4-2.