Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum, two of the National Leagues best pitchers, showed two different answers to the questions coming off dismal 2012 seasons.
For Halladay, the results aren’t encouraging.
On Wednesday, the Braves were able to not only able to get to Halladay early and often (5 earned in just 3.1 IP), but the way in which they got to them should worry the Phillies just as much as the end result. On a cold, rainy night in Atlanta, Halladay was unable to locate his fastball where he wanted it. he also wasn’t able to keep the ball down (which lead to Justin Upton and Evan Gattis home runs).
I’m not ready to write the “Halladay is done” line that everyone else seems to be ready to place on him. He did strike out nine hitters, and his fastball still had enough on it to show the velocity, although down, is still there. But I have to wonder if his injury is still something that is bothering him given the fact that I rarely see him hang that many pitches for an extended period of time.
Tim Lincecum, although credited with the win, did walk seven; but it was encouraging to see him pitch like a guy who knows he can’t do some of the things he used to do. The inning that showcased Lincecum’s new mentality was the bases loaded jam in the second (getting Matt Kemp to fly out) and the mixing of his change-up and slider all night to keep hitters off balance; setting up a fastball routinely clocked at 91 mph.
Both are vital to their teams, but with Halladay not showing any sign of really coming out of it, Lincecum seems to be the one whose reinvention is paying off early in ’13.