My first year on the Phillies beat I was standing in the clubhouse before a game. Not far away from me was Adam Eaton, the righthander who spent most of the 2008 season in the rotation but was left off the playoff roster. Eaton was staring up at a TV screen.
"Unhittable," he said.
I looked up. On the screen was Tim Linecum, who the previous season had gone 7-5 with a 4.00 ERA, 9.2 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 as a rookie for the Giants. I didn't know much about Lincecum at the time. Eaton knew plenty: both were from Washington state.
Needless to say, I quickly became acquainted with the nastiness that is Lincecum's repetoire. I have covered nine games in which the Phillies have faced the righthander, and only once have I seen them score more than two runs against him. As you can see below, Phillies hitters have produced exactly one extra base hit in 20 2/3 innings in their last three starts against Lincecum.