Despite poor season, Giants will lean on Lincecum

U.S. Presswire File PhotoTim Lincecum has lost his ace status with the Giants during his 10-15 season.

Tim Lincecum’s struggles during 2012 are well-documented. Statistically, he just completed the worst season of his six-year Giants career and isn’t exactly ending on a high note, getting battered for 11 earned runs in 10 innings over his last two regular-season starts.

He finished the season with a 10-15 record and a 5.18 ERA.

None of that has stopped manager Bruce Bochy from putting the two-time NL Cy Young Award winner in the playoff rotation, however.

Up until he struggled against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sept. 25, Lincecum had been pitching well for the past two months.

He gave up more than three runs just once between July 25 and Sept. 18. The Giants clinched the National League West on Sept. 22, though Bochy said Lincecum’s struggles since then were not related to the relative lack of pressure during the final week and a half of the season.

“I hope not, really to be honest.” Bochy said. “Any time you take the field out there you’ve got to take it to me the right way and that’s to play hard, play to win. You can’t drop your guard regardless of what team you’re playing or the situation the fact that we’d clinched. I don’t think that was the case as much as he just couldn’t find his rhythm out there and it caught up with him.”

Despite his lackluster season, Lincecum does have the experience he gained in 2010 to lean on. The right-hander was terrific in going 4-1 with a 2.43 ERA in five playoff starts, including a two-hit shutout against the Atlanta Braves in the NL Division Series in which he struck out 14 batters.

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