The Giants provided a lesson Sunday on why general managers and managers need to be flexible. Who would have thought on Opening Day that two months later Chad Gaudin would be starting for the Giants with Tim Lincecum providing backup in the bullpen?
A twist of fate and scheduling made that happen Sunday, and Gaudin gave the Giants the pitching equivalent of CPR with six four-hit innings in a 4-2 victory that ended a bad week for the team on an up note.
"He gave us such a huge shot in the arm, the way the games have been going," manager Bruce Bochy said.
Before the game, Bochy provided an interesting subtext when he revealed that Lincecum was in the bullpen for the second straight day.
More than a few people in and out of baseball believe Lincecum's future is in relief, given his burgeoning struggles as a starter plus the way he blew through the Reds, Cardinals and Tigers out of the bullpen in the 2012 postseason.
In five relief appearances, Lincecum pitched 12 innings and allowed one run and three hits while striking out 17.
Although the Giants' hands are tied at the moment with Ryan Vogelsong on the disabled list, general manager Brian Sabean, Bochy and pitching coach Dave Righetti surely will kick around the idea of Lincecum in relief if they can spare him from the rotation.
Lincecum was not needed in relief this weekend but acknowledged he might be open to the bullpen if the Giants - or any future team - deem it necessary.