Quick run through of some thoughts on 3 of the 4 Bay Area teams that played simultaneously Wednesday night, and ALL WON...

1—Tim Lincecum, as always, is the third rail of Giants-dom. Talk about him in any analytical way, and the franchise might try to electrocute you.

Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean don't seem to like it at all when Lincecum's starts are put under the microscope, and REALLY don't like it when Bochy re-arranges the lineup -- due to ONLY coincidental reasons, naturally -- so that Buster Posey isn't catching him and we wonder why.

The Giants' overt twitchiness on the subject, of course, means I'll follow it even more. Sorry, guys!

The facts: Last night, Lincecum survived five fretful innings in LA, surrendered a career-high-tying 7 walks, but worked out of jams and survived unscathed when Bochy let him finish the 5th inning and then five relievers took it home from there in the Giants' victory.

Oh, and due to Brandon Belt's illness, Bochy made the late call to move Posey to first base and inserted Hector Sanchez -- Lincecum's most regular catcher over the last year-plus -- as the catcher. Nothing to see here!

Here's the practical reality of this: Unless things change dramatically, the Giants are going to keep throwing Lincecum out there (who else do they have?) and he's going to keep walking the high-wire because his command and his stuff aren't what they used to be and may never get back there.

Sometimes he'll battle through, sometimes he won't. Just like last year.

That means the bullpen is going to get chewed up on a regular basis during his starts, as it was last year.

  • Lincecum averaged about 52/3 innings in his 33 starts during the 2012 regular season, then he was a (VERY GOOD) reliever in the postseason; and he just went 5 Wednesday night.

    The difference between the start of this year and last year is that Bochy has now lined #4 starter Barry Zito right behind #3 Lincecum, which could prove to be enormously grueling for the bullpen down the road. (They get a break with an off-day Thursday, but won't get one the next turn, then get another 3/4 break the turn after that.)

    And...

  • Zito averaged just over 52/3 innings in his 32 starts last year; unless he goes into NLCS 7-plus inning lock-down mode for all of 2013, I'd guess Zito will be right around 52/3-per this season; if he gets past the 6th inning, that's a bonus.

    So you're talking about a bullpen that might have to eat up at least 6 and maybe going on 9 innings in a two-day span every time Lincecum and Zito throw on back-to-back days... and that's not counting the possibility of extra innings on either day.

    My easy proposal: Bochy eventually has to flip Zito and current #5 Ryan Vogelsong in the rotation order, which, presuming Vogelsong regularly goes deep into games, gives the bullpen a bit of a break in between Lincecum/Zito high-work days.

    This would make the pitching lineup: Lincecum 3, Vogelsong 4, Zito 5... then go back to #1 Matt Cain.

    The Vogelsong/Zito flip probably should've been the way this season started, but Bochy does love Zito and probably wanted to give him the home opener... The 4/5 flip can be done whenever there's a well-timed off-day or just by skipping a Zito start in the coming weeks.

    And I know Zito's another SFG third-rail, but again: Oh well.

    Side issue: As Wendy Thurm mentioned a few days ago on the Bay Area Sports Guy blog, lining up Linecum and Zito back-to-back makes it tougher for Bochy to avoid letting Zito cross the 200-innings threshold, which would vest his $18M option for 2014.

    And the Giants DO NOT and SHOULD NOT want that to happen.

    Zito has never thrown more than 1991/3 innings in his Giants career -- and never deserved to, once Bochy realized he had to pull Zito whenever he started looking shaky, and that has been the proper way to do this since about 2008.

    But remember, Zito is amazingly durable; he's always healthy for 32-33 starts. And this year, if Zito's consistently pitching after Lincecum short outings, there will be some pull on Bochy to let Zito try to survive a rough 4th inning or tough out a scraggly 6th... just to let his bullpen breathe.

    And that's how you might push that innings count near 200.

    So the Giants have to split Lincecum and Zito for a lot of reasons. There is no way they can pay that $18M vesting option -- that's not just bad money to pay a 5th starter, it's money that could be committed elsewhere if the Giants can just plop a $3-4M guy into that slot in 2014.

    Which they easily could.

    And last point: The Dodgers still look exactly like what they were last year -- great when Clayton Kershaw's pitching, not-so-great when he's not... and that fielding is awful.

    2—The Warriors won last night and cut their playoff magic number to 3.

    That means if they win in Phoenix on Friday, the Warriors can clinch a playoff spot by beating the Jazz at Oracle on Sunday evening.

    Also: Their magic number to finish no lower than the 7 seed is 4.

    Their magic number to clinch the 6th seed? Well, they're only a game ahead of Houston, and Houston has the tie-break advantage, so with both teams having only 7 games left, let's just say that the Warriors have to match the Rockets win for win down the stretch to keep the 6 seed.

    At this point, thanks to the Clippers' swoon, the 6 seed would draw 3 Denver in the first round -- and that's a very bad match-up for the Warriors, in my opinion.

    So I don't think there's a huge advantage for the Warriors to be in the 6 slot vs. sitting in the 7 spot and playing Oklahoma City in the first round. They're out-matched either way and would need a miracle performance to take the first-round series deep.

    First-round GSW miracles have happened, though, I seem to recall.

    3—Josh Reddick is 0 for 12 so far this season. Brandon Moss is 0 for 8.

    Yes, that's an incredibly small sample size for the A's two most dangerous left-handed hitters. A snapshot. Means nothing in the larger picture. All of that logical statistical stuff.

    But let's see what Reddick and Moss do Thursday vs. rookie Mariners starter Brandon Maurer, another right-handed starter after the A's lost to two Seattle RHs to begin the season and then beat-up lefty Joe Saunders last night.

    It's just interesting that Reddick and Moss are two of the more unpredictable parts of the A's offense this year (I'm slotting Yoenis Cespedes in for 35 HRs and all the OPS bells and whistles this year, if he's healthy), and they're two lefties who need to pound RH pitching... or else the A's are going to go through some offensive funks.

    (Unless the A's get an incredible amount from supplemental left-handed bats Seth Smith, John Jaso and others.)

    Basically: Reddick and Moss need to hit a lot of HRs off of RH pitching, like they did last year.

    Last year the A's weren't great vs. RH pitching (scored the fifth-fewest runs in the AL vs. RHs), but hit 133 HRs vs. righties, and that was how they did it.

    This year I think they'll bash lefties again, with Cespedes, Chris Young, Jed Lowrie, switch-hitting Coco Crisp from the right side, and a few others.

    From the left side, the big guns are Reddick and Moss, who have 2012 blasting on their track records and that's just about it.

    Again, we're just a few games into 2013. It's all statistical white noise until everybody gets into June or so...

    But let's see what happens Thursday.