Charlie Manuel acted as if he had a secret.
“You can assume whatever you want to assume,” the Phillies’ manager said when asked whether Roy Halladay would pitch Game 1 of the National League Championship Series against the San Francisco Giants. “We haven’t had any discussions yet. We have a little time and we’ll talk about what we want to do” with the rotation.
Perhaps it is unwise to assume, but if Halladay does not pitch Game 1 against the Giants, Manuel may be the first manager ever fired in the middle of a playoff run.
So, yes, we will assume that Saturday night, Halladay will face Giants ace Tim Lincecum in Game 1 at Citizens Bank Park. It is one of those dream matchups that even an offensive-minded manager like Manuel has to love.
“I can foresee a hell of a game,” the manager said. “The one that pitches the best is going to win. I’d like to see it as long as Halladay wins. He’s definitely capable of pitching good, and Lincecum is capable of pitching good, too. That’s the part of the game people want to see, and they’re excited about it.”
The hitters from each team may not be quite as excited to see Lincecum and Halladay as the national television audience will be.