Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum have little in common except
performance on the mound.
Nicknamed the Freak, Lincecum is a shaggy-haired, skinny kid who
looks more like a bat boy than one of the best pitchers in the
Known as Doc, the bearded Halladay is bigger, stronger and can
probably pass for a professor.
Lincecum is quirky. He has an unorthodox delivery, doesn’t ice
his arm, and munches on treats like Philly cheesesteaks or ice
cream before starts.
Halladay is robotic. He has perfect mechanics, a tireless work
ethic and doesn’t let anything prevent him from following his
Who’s the better pitcher?
They’ll showcase their stuff when the San Francisco Giants play
the two-time NL champion Philadelphia Phillies in Game 1 of the
league championship series on Saturday night at Citizens Bank
”It’s going to be a tremendous matchup,” Giants manager Bruce
Bochy said Friday. ”You have two of the best pitchers in the game.
We have all the respect for Halladay. Tremendous command in the
strike zone, great stuff, great competitor. And, we have a good one
going, too. Two different styles. Their guy’s probably a little bit
more conventional than Tim with his unique delivery. But when it
comes down to it, he’s in the same position. They have four-plus
pitches they can throw at any time with good command.”
Both pitchers were sensational in their postseason debuts last
Halladay threw the second no-hitter in postseason history in
Philadelphia’s 4-0 victory over Cincinnati. A day later, Lincecum
tossed a two-hitter with 14 strikeouts in San Francisco’s 1-0 win
Neither guy expects an encore. It doesn’t mean they’re not
”That’s the beauty of it. I don’t look at it as pressure. I
look at it as a challenge,” Halladay said. ”Getting to this
point, you put in so much work to get here that once you do, it’s
been nothing but excitement. And you don’t feel like there’s a
certain standard you have to live up to. I feel like I need to go
out and pitch the way that I normally pitch, execute pitches and be
aggressive. It’s been nothing but a challenge and something I look
forward to. I just haven’t felt the pressure of having to live up
to something or do something.”
Lincecum certainly won’t be overwhelmed by the spotlight.
”You get a taste of what it’s like to play in postseason ball.
I think it can’t do anything but help me,” he said about his
success in his first start. ”I feel like the All-Star game last
year helped me prepare for the postseason scenario, just with the
heightened atmosphere and how crazy it gets. But my approach on
this game is the same as any other start Obviously, it’s a big
game. But I don’t want to get too overamped. I want to take it just
like any other start.”
Halladay lived up to enormous expectations in his first season
in Philadelphia after 12 years with Toronto. The 33-year-old
right-hander finished 21-10 with a 2.44 ERA. He tied CC Sabathia
for most wins and led the majors in complete games (nine), shutouts
(four) and innings (250 2-3).
Halladay threw a perfect game in May, made his seventh All-Star
game and is the leading candidate to win his second Cy Young
While Lincecum is freakish in that he doesn’t follow standard
practices, Halladay goes overboard. He’s legendary for his workout
routine that starts at 5:30 a.m. EDT.
”There’s never a guarantee of whether a guy’s going to be good
or not, or how good he can be,” Halladay said. ”It just kind of
happens. I think there’s a lot of internal makeup that’s involved.
But it’s a great part about this game. You don’t have to be 6-9 and
280 pounds to be a defensive lineman. You can take all different
shapes and sizes and do the job. So that’s what makes it fun.”
Cole Hamels, the 2008 World Series MVP, said he tried working
out with Halladay once in spring training. He didn’t make it back
for another day.
”It’s insanity. I have a newborn. I needed every minute of
sleep I can get it,” Hamels said. ”He gets there at 5:30. That
means he’s up at 4:30. That’s the personality he has and he’s had
success with it.”
Even after throwing a no-hitter, Halladay didn’t take a break
from his normal day. He turned down an invitation to David
Letterman’s ”Late Show” and other media appearances.
”As far as who he is and how he goes about things and what
makes him good, those are the things that I feel like I’ve learned
about him,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. ”And the things
that I think are better than what I really imagined was definitely
his command and his routine. It’s so regimented, He’s so focused
Lincecum, the reigning two-time Cy Young Award winner, had an
up-and-down year after emerging as the most dominant pitcher in the
league in his first two full seasons. The 26-year-old righty
rebounded in September after a career-worst five-start losing
streak in August, and finished 16-10 with a 3.43 ERA.
The Halladay-Lincecum matchup is the marquee pitching duel in a
series that features a handful of aces. San Francisco flip-flopped
its Nos. 2 and 3 starters, and will send Jonathan Sanchez against
three-time All-Star Roy Oswalt in Game 2. Matt Cain faces Hamels
when the series shifts to AT&T Park on Tuesday.