If I were Bochy this is what I would do today:
- Pagan CF
- Blanco LF
- Scutaro 2B
- Posey 1B
- Sandoval 3B
- Sanchez C
- Pence RF
- Crawford SS
- Lincecum P
- Blanco’s been doing well with the bat, he makes the pitcher throw a lot of pitches, and he can get on base. I have more confidence of him there than Crawford.
- You typically want your “best” hitter third and that’s been Marco.
- Panda give Posey some protection. Plus, I just trust him to get the little things done (like a fly ball with a runner on third and less than one out) more than Pence.
- Take the pressure off Pence and hope he can run into something. I just can’t imagine the Giants getting out of this round without a Pence home run (or RBI for that matter).
- Eliminate the three left-handers in a row. Not that it’s really been a big deal, but the Cardinals only have one lefty and this lineup forces Matheny’s hand. There is a lot more left/right balance.
- Maybe the most controversial thing I will say here is this: I love Brandon Belt, but the Giants need to be aggressive in the lower half of the lineup. You cannot strike out looking with runners on base in the postseason. At least Pence is going down flailing. Sanchez will be aggressive. He might swing at a pitch above his shoulders, but this team needs patience at the top and aggression at the bottom. Doing that is the only way they can adequately help Buster.
All that being said, this is the defining moment of the season for Tim Lincecum. Either he shows up and dominates (and all is forgiven) or 2012 is always going to be remembered more for what might have been if the Giants had good Timmy than for what was actually accomplished.