Posted by BaconSlayer09
It took Roy Halladay 320 starts to reach the postseason. Yet, when he finally got there this past Tuesday, it’s as if he was unaffected by the waving white towels, the buzz of a sell-out crowd, and the cameras of a national TV broadcast. In fact, it seemed to fuel him. His no hitter, the second in baseball’s postseason, was probably the second best start of his career (behind his perfect game earlier this year).
Just a few hours ago, Tim Lincecum also made his postseason debut. It’s taken “The Freak” 122 starts to reach the big stage. Yet, when he took the mound at 8:30 CDT tonight, the atmosphere seemed to make him stronger. 9 innings and 14 strike outs (2nd highest total of his career) later, Lincecum walked off the mound with the best victory of his career. His performance resulted in an FIP of 0.33 and a .711 WPA (the highest of his career).
The fact that Lincecum and Halladay, two of the best pitchers in the NL, excelled in their first postseason start shouldn’t be a huge surprise. However, both did it in dominating fashion against two respectable offenses (the Reds scored the most runs in the NL). How dominating? How does 18 innings, 2 hits, 0 ER, 2 walks, 22 Ks, and a 0.99 FIP sound?
I’ve watched baseball for more than a decade now and I have never seen such dominance from two pitchers in the playoffs, especially two newcomers. I think we all have to understand that pressure does not get to everyone. So we shouldn’t give certain pitchers too much credit for pitching “important games”.
For example, you probably shouldn’t think David Price is better than Felix Hernandez because Price pitched in games that meant more in the standings. That would be unfair to Felix Hernandez. Because who knows? Maybe Felix could pull a Halladay or Lincecum. After all, he is one of the most talented pitchers in the game.
With both the Giants and Phillies taking game 1 of their respective series, many are probably salivating at the thought of a Lincecum vs. Halladay matchup. And hey, I don’t blame any of you one bit. But just don’t forget that we also have Cain vs. Oswalt and Sanchez vs. Hamels to look forward to as well. This will be a fun Doctober.