SAN FRANCISCO -- Manager Bruce Bochy said he wanted to keep his options open about selecting a starting pitcher for Wednesday's Game 4 of the Division Series, if the Giants survive that far.
Common sense dictates that Game 1 starter Matt Cain just might return on three days' rest, one fewer than usual.
Tim Lincecum's demotion to the bullpen for Game 2, which Bochy announced Sunday, indicated that the right-hander isn't in San Francisco's plans to start. Barry Zito would be next in line, but despite his strong finish -- San Francisco won his last 11 starts -- it's believed that the Giants are privately wary of using him at Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park. Zito is 0-2 with a 6.10 ERA in six career outings at the hitter-friendly site.
Cain has never pitched on less than four days of rest in his career, according to baseball-reference.com. He said last Friday that he "wouldn't have a problem" performing on short rest.
Cain allowed three runs in five innings and threw only 75 pitches Saturday while absorbing the decision in the Giants' 5-2 Game 1 defeat. He was removed for pinch-hitter Aubrey Huff in the sixth inning, but Bochy denied that this move was meant to spare Cain for a Game 4 start.
"That was not a thought," Bochy said. "We're doing all we can to win the game. There's no thought in, 'Well, we can bring him back early.' That was [a matter of] trying to get some runs on the board."
Bochy also said, "I don't think so," when asked if his decision on a Game 4 starting pitcher would hinge on whether the Giants led or trailed the series at that point.