The Phillies will host the San Francisco Giants for a four-game series. Despite the team giving me very little reason to hope lately, that isn’t going to stop this freight train of optimism. I’m still working on the theory that a turnaround is imminent, and this series against the Giants will mark a turning point in the season.
What’s the deal with the Giants
At 54-44, the Giants are in first place in the National League West. Their success is mostly due to their pitching staff, because their offense – despite the presence of some big names – hasn’t been all that impressive.
The last time they met
This is the first series between the teams this season. Their most recent encounter was a three-game set in Philadelphia in August 2013 in which the Giants won two games.
The last game featured a particularly bad blown save by Jonathan Papelbon, but hopefully that hasn’t soured the Giants’ opinion of him (more on this later).
Giants player who isn’t entirely horrible
Former Phillie (and the bane of Ruben Amaro’s existence) Hunter Pence is having another quality season for the Giants. He’s sporting a solid .357 on-base percentage and 12 home runs.
While the Phillies definitely gave up too much to get Pence in 2011, it’s clear that they received a quality player in the trade, and it was foolish to part ways with him a year later.
Giants player who is horrible
Last month, the Giants were forced to remove struggling closer Sergio Romo from his ninth inning duties. Now in a setup role, Romo isn’t doing much better.
Thus far, Santiago Casilla has been faring well in the closer position, but you wonder if the team wouldn’t prefer a more experienced option there. The good news is, the Phillies have a closer with tons of experience available on the trade market!
Reason why the Phillies will win
1. Cliff Lee is back. Be afraid, Giants hitters. Be very afraid.
2. Matt Cain was supposed to start Tuesday’s game, but instead, the team placed him on the disabled list. Sounds to me like he’s just scared to go against the Phillies. Instead, the Giants will use several relief pitchers, and those games rarely go well.
3. Kyle Kendrick won’t pitch in this series. I’ve been somewhat of a KK defender this season, but after Sunday’s performance, even I’m sick of the guy now.
Reasons why the Giants might win
I suppose it’s possible that the Giants might luck their way into a win. Here are a couple of reasons they might come away with a victory:
1. In Ryan Vogelsong, Madison Bumgarner, and Tim Hudson, the Phillies have to face some tough starters. Sure, it’s proven to be tough to shut down the Phillies’ hitters this season, but those guys might find a way.
2. If Chase Utley plays too well, he might convince the Giants to make the Phillies an overwhelming trade offer. Since he says he wants to stay in Philadelphia, he might try to avoid looking TOO good. I’m sure he’ll still be awesome, but maybe only 90% awesome.
Out of respect for the Giants’ pitching staff, I won’t go as far as to say this series will be a series sweep. But will the Phillies take three out of the four games? It seems very likely.
Tags: Philadelphia Phillies