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Tim Lincecum puts Clayton Kershaw into playful headlock on ESPN Magazine cover

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(ESPN Magazine)

The headline on ESPN the Magazine's upcoming baseball preview reads "Cy vs. Cy" and that's pretty darned clever, given the Spy vs. Spy play on words. I also like the old-school Sports Illustrated-esque nature of the pose, with Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants getting Kershaw in noogie position. One quibble: Presumably, somewhere off camera, Roy Halladay of the Phillies is standing by ready to suck the snake venom out of either pitcher from the NL West.

It's really Kersh who has Timmy in a headlock, you know, at least since 2011. Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat Lincecum and the Giants 2-1 on opening day, they beat them with 12 strikeouts 1-0 on July 20 and they beat them 2-1 on Sept. 20. (The Arizona Diamondbacks really remember that last one fondly.)

Further: Did you know that Kershaw is 6-1 with a 1.25 ERA in 11 career starts against the Giants? If San Francisco wants back in the playoffs all it has to do is even that out a little.

Reporter Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle blogged about the cover, and Lincecum's feelings about going to a photo shoot with a rival:

Given that Lincecum lost to Kershaw three times last year, this noogie must have felt good.

I asked Timmy if it was weird to meet Kershaw to take a photo together. He said no and pointed out that he's seen many historical baseball photos of opponents posing together (presumably none with hair like his).

Schulman also could have been referring to Kershaw's beard, which will come in anytime now.

Big BLS h/t: @Teapotsonfire

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