Ballyhooed pitching prospect Tim Lincecum makes his Major League debut tonight against Cole Hamels and the fledgling Phillies, who will be trying to avoid their second-straight series defeat.
Preview: Lincecum, a 22-year-old right-hander who snaps the ball to the plate in a hurry, is starting in place of Russ Ortiz and making his much-anticipated debut. In five outings at Triple-A Fresno, he was almost untouchable, going 4-0 while giving up only one run on 12 hits in 31 innings. Lincecum, who's been compared to Luis Tiant because of his unique delivery, can clock in close to 100 mph on his fastball to go with a knee-breaking curve ... Hamels (3-1, 3.54 ERA) knows a thing or two about being unhittable, but does it with a baffling change-up. The left-hander has won three of his last four starts and overcame a rough first inning Tuesday to earn the win ... The Phillies' bullpen has started to unravel again due to injury and ineffective pitching. Ryan Madson is the latest to land on the DL, following closer Tom Gordon, who landed on the DL just days before. Yesterday, the trio of Francisco Rosario, Fabio Castro and Yoel Hernandez - the bottom half of the Phillies bullpen - allowed five runs over two innings, sealing the Phillies' fate in a 9-4 loss. ... Used as a pinch hitter, Ryan Howard went 0-1 and is now hitting below the Mendoza Line (.198) ... The Phillies were held without a home run for the third time on this road trip ... Barry Bonds is out of tonight's lineup against the left-hander Hamels.
Regular posting resumes tomorrow when it isn't a sunny 65-degree weekend. Enjoy tonight's game and pitching showcase, broadcast nationally on ESPN.