Giants leaning towards starting Tim Lincecum in Game 4

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The Giants’ Tim Lincecum said he was ready to pitch in relief tonight after throwing two scoreless innings in Sunday’s Game 1 against the Cardinals. However, it appears to be manager Bruce Bochy’s strong preference to reserve him for the Game 4 start, according to CSN Bay Area’s Andrew Baggarly.

“We’d like to have that option if we decide to go that way,” Bochy said. “We’ll do all we can to win this one. And we also have Barry Zito if we use Timmy.”

Of course, Zito could still get his start later on. Bochy appears to be weighing using him over the struggling Madison Bumgarner in Game 5.

Asked if he would pick Zito over Bumgarner, Bochy hedged, saying that “it’s still a decision.”

If Lincecum gets the start in Thursday’s Game 4, it would be his first since Sept. 30. He’s allowed one run in 8 1/3 innings during his three postseason relief appearances.

Michael Wacha leaves game with a left oblique strain

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Cardinals starter Michael Wacha suffered a strained left oblique muscle during his start this afternoon against the Phillies, causing him to leave in the fourth inning.

Wacha is 8-2 with a 3.20 ERA and a 71/36 K/BB ratio in 84.1 innings across 15 starts this season with St. Louis. To the extent he has to miss some time — and obliques invariably send starters to the disabled list — potential fill-in candidates include John Gant, Daniel Poncedeleon and Dakota Hudson.