The Giants are starting Ryan Vogelsong in Game 6 of the NLCS on Sunday night against the Cardinals and will turn to Matt Cain if the series goes seven.
And it’ll be all hands on deck behind them.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy told Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News that Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner are available in relief in Game 6 and could also be used if the club forces Game 7.
Bumgarner, who’s been displaying signs of fatigue since mid-August, yielded six earned runs in 3 2/3 innings during the Giants’ NLCS Game 1 defeat. Lincecum yielded four runs over 4 2/3 innings as San Francisco fell in Game 4. If they’re called upon, it will likely be for mop-up duty in a blowout win or loss.
I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.
Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.
This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.
Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.