SAN FRANCISCO -- Assuming Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum starts Game 4 of the National League Championship Series, manager Bruce Bochy said Monday that he'd be presented with a choice between Barry Zito and Madison Bumgarner to start Friday's Game 5, if it's played.
Bochy indicated that he might not name his Game 5 starter until after Game 4, which would be consistent with the deliberate nature of his starting pitching decisions through most of the postseason.
Bochy said that the Giants' status in the series, along with the state of the pitching staff, would help him determine a Game 5 starter.
Bochy refused to rule out Bumgarner as an option, despite the 23-year-old's subpar Game 1 performance (six runs and eight hits allowed in 3 2/3 innings).
Bochy noted that Bumgarner occasionally lost his rhythm with his pitching delivery.
"That concerned me a little bit," Bochy said.
Bochy acknowledged discussing with his staff the possibility that Bumgarner might be enduring a dead-arm phase.
"I think at this time of year, especially with a young pitcher like Madison, you're going to have those conversations," Bochy said, though he reiterated that Bumgarner's velocity has not diminished substantially.
"If I thought his stuff had dropped that dramatically, I would worry about it," Bochy said. "But he still had good stuff. He's just making mistakes. It's not like he's throwing 85, 86 [mph]."
But even Bumgarner admitted after Game 1 that his pitches lacked late movement and noted that he has scaled down his between-starts throwing routine to preserve his energy. Bumgarner's 5.47 ERA for September/October was by far his worst for any regular-season month.
"Sometimes they throw too much," Bochy said. "This is a case where less is more, for the most part, at this time of year."