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Two of majors' best set for NLCS opener

PHILADELPHIA — Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum have little in common except performance on the mound.

Nicknamed the "Freak," Lincecum is a shaggy-haired, skinny right-hander who looks more like a Giants bat boy than the 2008 and 2009 National League Cy Young Award winner. Nicknamed "Doc," the bearded Halladay is bigger and stronger, and can probably pass for a professor more than a Phillies right-hander and the 2003 American League Cy Young winner.

Lincecum, 26, is quirky. He has an unorthodox delivery, doesn't ice his arm and munches on treats such as Philly cheesesteaks and ice cream before starts.

Halladay, 33, is robotic. He has perfect mechanics, a tireless work ethic and doesn't let anything prevent him from following his routine.

They will showcase their stuff when the Giants play the two-time NL champion Phillies in Game 1 of the NL Championship Series tonight.

"We have all the respect for Halladay, tremendous command in the strike zone, great stuff, great competitor," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Friday. "And we have a good (pitcher) going, too. Two different styles. But when it comes down to it … 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 a 4-0 victory over Cincinnati. A day later, Lincecum tossed a two-hitter with 14 strikeouts in a 1-0 victory over Atlanta.

Neither expects an encore. But it doesn't mean they won't try.

"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."

Lincecum also 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. "I feel like (starting) 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."

Phillies roster: RHP Kyle Kendrick will be added today, GM Ruben Amaro said. Utilityman Greg Dobbs, who didn't appear in the division series, will be taken off. Kendrick was 11-10 with a 4.73 ERA in 33 games (31 starts) this season. Amaro said the final spot came down to Dobbs and OF Domonic Brown, a rookie who starred at Pasco High.

Rangers roster: LH relievers Michael Kirkman and Clay Rapada were added. INF Esteban German, who didn't appear in the division series, and RH reliever Dustin Nippert, who allowed two runs over an inning in his only appearance, were taken off. Kirkman, a rookie, went 0-0 with a 1.65 ERA in 14 games this season. Rapada, in his third season, went 0-0 with a 4.00 ERA in 13 games.

'Ryan express' returns: Nolan Ryan, the all-time strikeouts leader and now Texas' president and part owner, threw out the first pitch for Game 1 of the ALCS. And he didn't give it a ceremonial soft toss. He gave his familiar leg kick, then fired a pitch that was a little low and would have been inside for a left-handed batter. The radar gun was not turned on.

Double pay: Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez is getting paid by both teams in the ALCS. This would have been the last season of the $252 million, 10-year deal he signed with the Rangers in January 2001. He was dealt to New York in February 2004 and after the 2007 season opted out of the deal to sign a $275 million, 10-year deal. When Ryan's group acquired the Rangers in bankruptcy court, the winning bid included money to pay unsecured creditors. The largest is Rodriguez, $24.9 million in deferred compensation from the first 10-year deal.

Two of majors' best set for NLCS opener 10/15/10 [Last modified: Friday, October 15, 2010 10:48pm]
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