Tim Lincecum, playoff middle reliever.

The idea takes some getting used to, even if everyone around the Giants has been thinking and hinting about it for several days now.

That would include Lincecum himself, who took a flat and matter-of-fact approach Monday when I asked him about his official status as a reliever for this series.

"I'm not mad," Lincecum said in front of his locker after the Giants' brief workout at Great American Ball Park.

He didn't sound mad--at least not mad at manager Bruce Bochy and the rest of the Giants' hierarchy.

Mostly, Lincecum sounded displeased with himself and the realities handed to him by the 2012 season overall.

Earlier, Bochy announced that Barry Zito will start Wednesday's Game 4 vs. Cincinnati if the Giants avoid elimination in Game 3, and confirmed that the Giants' plan all along was to keep Lincecum out of the rotation for this series.

So I asked Lincecum: With everything that you've accomplished for yourself and this franchise, doesn't this hurt your pride?

"No, you've got to earn it," said Lincecum, who won the NL Cy Young in 2008 and 2009. "And what I did in 2008 and 2009 means (nothing) today."