Giants-Phillies Preview

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

majors.

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

routine.

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

Park.

”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

week.

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

over Atlanta.

Neither guy expects an encore. It doesn’t mean they’re not

trying.

”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

Award.

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

and everything.”

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.