PHILADELPHIA — Through five innings Vance Worley was nearly unhittable.
With eight strikeouts and only a run and three hits allowed, Worley began the 6th inning. After loading the bases on a pair of singles and a walk, Worley gave up a tie-breaking sacrifice fly to Pablo Sandoval to give the Giants a 2-1 lead.
After walking the next batter, a grand slam by Brandon Crawford blew the game wide open and it gave the Giants a 6-1 lead. They were the first four of a five-RBI night for Crawford, who went 2-for-4 in the win.
San Francisco went on to win 7-2, riding a tremendous pitching performance from Tim Lincecum.
Giants starter Tim Lincecum sits in the dugout during the Phillies 5-2 win. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
On a crisp evening in the Bay Area, the Philadelphia Phillies brought their bats in their series opener against the San Francisco Giants.
Opposing pitcher Tim Lincecum came into tonight’s matchup opposite Roy Halladay with an 0-1 record and an 12.91 earned run average. The two time Cy-Young award winner’s early season woes continued as the Phillies used an aggressive first inning approach in their 5-2 victory over the Giants.
The Phillies tapped Lincecum for five runs on eight hits and a walk through six innings. It was the first time all season Lincecum went as far as the 6th inning but he still hasn’t given up fewer than five runs in a start.
After a one-out Placido Polanco double and Jimmy Rollins walk, Hunter Pence hit a line drive single to center to draw first blood. Shane Victorino and Laynce Nix would bring in the next three runs on a single and double respectively.
Collective groans could be heard in AT&T park, as Giants fans were seeing yet another slow Lincecum start where he failed to locate his fastball.
The first two starts have cast a dark shadow on the early season for Tim Lincecum, who has allowed 15 runs in just 7 1/3 innings of baseball. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)
The 4-5 starts may not be an indication of how good the Phillies and Giants really are. But slow starts aside, they are the National League’s two best teams and tonight they will be throwing their best out on the hill to face each other.
It will be the first of a three-game series out in San Francisco (Series Preview by Keiana Williams).
Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum are the faces of both of those teams, which share a passion for pitching while the offense leaves a lot to be desired on a nightly basis.
Their paths first met in the 2010 NLCS where Halladay and Lincecum dueled in Game 1 and Game 5. Lincecum got the best of Doc in the first match up while Halladay kept his team alive in Game 5.
But Lincecum’s squad got the last laugh, winning the series in six games and winning the World Series.
Question: In Game 7 of the World Series, who would you want taking the hill (Non-Phillies)?
This go-around, writers Chris Bengel and Christian Hetrick go at it in Team to Beat’s third installment of “Faceoff.” Hetrick is 1-0 this year and Bengel is taking his first stab at the face off.
Christian: Tim Lincecum
Okay time to play manager.
Since this is a Phillies blog, it is quite easy to get caught up and pick one of the Phillies starters. Cliff Lee has pitched in two World Series’ in the last two years, Halladay threw a postseason no hitter, and heck, even our “number four starter” is a World Series MVP.
However, the pitcher you want does not wear red pinstripes. If you need just one win, you want San Francisco Giants’ ace Tim Lincecum. Now this doesn’t mean I think Lincecum is the best pitcher in the game. Personally I think that honor goes to Mr. Halladay, and to be honest Lincecum might not even be the best pitcher on the west coast. Those honors go to AL Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez.
But if I am picking a pitcher for a must win game, I have to go with the guy with a great playoff resume. You see there are pitchers who are great in the regular season, but are awful in the postseason - Johan Santana, I’m looking at you.
No offense to King Felix, but he has no playoff resume, or big game resume for that matter. That is not his fault though; after all he didn’t choose to be on the Mariners. Still, he is unproven in big games and isn’t a safe choice for a must win game. Now this is where all of you tell me Doc is proven in big games because he threw a playoff no hitter, and Cliff Lee is proven because he has a 7-2 postseason record.
The problem with that logic is if I can have any pitcher I want, I have to also assume my opposing manager can have whoever he wants. This means my ace has to out-duel another ace, and Lincecum has out-dueled Halladay once in last year’s NLCS AND Cliff Lee twice in last year’s World Series.
Even though he has only one postseason under his belt, Lincecum went 4-1 with a 2.43 ERA and one complete game shutout. More importantly, he beat out pitchers that are arguably better than him which in my opinion makes him clutch, and in my opinion makes him the best possible pitcher to choose if I need to win one game.
Chris: Felix Hernandez
First off, my counterpart will question my choice of Felix Hernandez. Sure King Felix has no postseason experience. I give you that. Then again he plays for the Seattle Mariners and they haven’t been good since Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez left.
It is sometimes unsafe to ride a guy with no postseason experience. However as most Phillies fans know, Roy Halladay had ZERO postseason experience with the Toronto Blue Jays. He came over to the Phillies for a chance at playoff glory. Many people had previously crowned Halladay as the best pitcher in baseball before he threw a pitch of postseason baseball.
I would argue that King Felix is one of the best pitchers in the game next to Halladay. I’d hand the ball to him if I had to win a big game. Hernandez went 13-12 with a 2.27 ERA last season and still walked away with the AL Cy Young award. He also finished second in 2009 for the Cy Young. Ladies and gentlemen, he is that good.
Let’s take a look at some of the guys that King Felix beat out for the award: David Price, CC Sabathia, Jon Lester, and even Cliff Lee. These are guys that he faces all throughout the regular season. Well not Lee since he turned down the Yankees. He may not always come out on top because of his team’s failure to give him run support. The Mariners had the worst run support in the American League last year with 3.07 runs-per-game.
But Felix is a horse that doesn’t get a lot of recognition because he plays on a bad team. I can assure you that I want him pitching that must-win game for me. I’d hand him the ball and not think twice about it. I think it’s inevitable that we’ll see King Felix pitch in the postseason one day and he will show why he is a King.
That being said, Tim Lincecum is all well and good. He’s a great pitcher and has the playoff experience. I can’t deny those simple facts. But I feel that Hernandez would be an exceptional postseason pitcher if he ever gets traded to another team or Seattle decides they want to win. He’s the guy I want mowing down hitters and bringing my team that victory.