As the media in San Francisco will tell you, when Tim Lincecum struggles is when they get the best material. It is seemingly cathartic for the two-time Cy Young winner to talk more and provide more insight, as he says, to "just kind of get it out there on the table."
Well, Lincecum is struggling entering tonight's start against the Phillies and Roy Halladay. He has allowed 11 earned runs and 14 hits in a combined 7 2/3 innings in two starts. In Wednesday's 17-8 loss to the Rockies, he had the shortest start of his career -- 2 1/3 innings, allowing six runs.
"I know he's going to be pitching on his 'A' game," Lincecum told the San Francisco Chronicle about Halladay, "and it just makes me want to be on my 'A' game even more so. ...
"Eliminating all doubts in myself, that's the biggest thing I can do. Just go out there and have confidence in my stuff because you see guys time and time again (having conviction) in whatever pitch they're throwing that day.
"Whether it's 85 or 95 (mph), you've got to have commitment in it, and I think that's the biggest difference in having that mental edge."
Lincecum says he views the current situation as a test, one that will make him stronger.
"Maybe (it's) a magnified look at just trying to be humble," Lincecum said. "This game is very humbling. I'm not saying that's why this is going on, like I was getting too cocky. ...
"I think it's like a test, about staying even-keeled and being mentally strong, and I think this is what it is right now.
"I think it's just going to make me stronger."
Lincecum is 4-1 in his career vs. the Phillies, including going 2-0 with a 0.66 ERA in two starts last season.