Oct 132010
Phillies ace Roy Halladay

Phillies ace Roy Halladay

October 13 Philadelphia Daily News:

“For the 16 position players who will take the field on Saturday in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, the only thing more daunting than the at-bats they will take might be the questions they face in the week leading up to one of the best pitching matchups in postseason history.

“I’m not even going to bring a bat with me,” Shane Victorino said with patronizing horror as a gaggle of media descended upon him after the Phillies‘ workout yesterday at Citizens Bank Park.

Mock all you want, but it’s hard to imagine baseball and television executives joining in the eye-rolling. As insufferable as the hype is bound to be, the showdown between righthanders Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum on Saturday night has all the makings of the top sports story in the nation (outside of SEC country, that is).

Not since 2000, when Mike Hampton and Roger Clemens squared off in Game 2 of the World Series, have two pitchers faced each other in the postseason after throwing shutouts in the previous round. Hampton, however, never won a Cy Young. Lincecum has won the last two awards in the National League, and Halladay, who won the AL award in 2003, is the frontrunner to supplant him this season.

Together, they combined to allow four baserunners and strike out 22 in Game 1 victories over the Braves and Reds in the National League Division Series. Halladay pitched the second no-hitter in postseason history, limiting Cincinnati to one walk in a 4-0 victory in Game 1 on Oct. 6. The next night, Lincecum allowed a leadoff double to Omar Infante and then proceeded to retire 27 of the final 29 batters in a 1-0 victory over Atlanta.

“It doesn’t get much better than that,” Phillies catcher Brian Schneider said.

Schneider’s words resonate because he has faced both pitchers, going 0-for-5 with one strikeout against Lincecum and 3-for-16 with three strikeouts against Halladay. He is also a catcher, which gives him a unique perspective on just how nasty both men can be.

“The thing about them is they both have strikeout pitches, a couple different ones,” Schneider said. “Some guys have good stuff but have trouble putting you away. These guys can put you away with three pitches. That’s the biggest thing about them. They have so many different pitches to put you away with. It’s not like you can look for one or two pitches.””

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