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Cardinals vs. Giants: Tim Lincecum set as starter for Game 4

Giants manager Bruce Bochy announced the right-hander, who struggled for most of the 2012 season, will take the mound for a crucial Game 4 against the Cardinals.

Ezra Shaw

The St. Louis Cardinals have the San Francisco Giants in a tight spot, down 2-1 in the NLCS, but despite an uncharacteristically bad year from Tim Lincecum, Giants manager Bruce Bochy has decided that the right-hander will start Game 4 on Thursday night at Busch Stadium.

Lincecum struggled as a starter for most of the 2012 season, posting a 10-15 record and 5.18 ERA, but has been fairly effective as a reliever in the postseason, allowing one run and three hits over eight innings. It was thought that left-hander Madison Bumgarner, who started and scuffled in Game 1, might be brought back for Game 4, but Bochy thinks it's time to give Bumgarner a break.

He told the USA Today:

"It's time to give Madison a little break," Bochy said. "He's a young kid, 23. He's been pitching a lot of innings."

Bumgarner has a 6.70 ERA in his eight starts since Aug. 25, and has battled release point and control issues for much of that time. Lincecum has looked solid in relief, but pitching with maximum effort for two to four innings is a lot different than pacing one's self for two or three times a lineup, especially one as potent as the Cardinals.

First pitch for Thursday's game is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT and the game will be televised on FOX.