The good news is that the Phillies don’t have to play the Angels any more this season. For whatever reason, they don’t seem to be able to beat the Angels.
The bad news is that they’ll have to play the San Francisco Giants, and they’re a pretty good team in their own right.
The last time they met
The Giants visited Citizens Bank Park for a four-game series last month and won the first three games. The Phillies were able to salvage a game thanks to Cole Hamels outdueling Tim Hudson in the finale.
What’s new with the Giants?
The Giants have struggled since that series, going just 6-12 since their trip to Philadelphia. Wednesday’s win against the White Sox snapped a five-game losing streak.
It’s tempting to say that the Phillies are catching the Giants at the right time. But keep in mind that Giants fans are probably saying that a series against the Phillies is the perfect way to snap out of a funk.
Giants player who isn’t entirely horrible
Buster Posey continues to be one of the best catchers in baseball. His numbers may not be where they were in his MVP season of 2012, but just about every team would gladly take a .345 OBP and 13 home runs from their catcher.
It is worth noting that Posey’s numbers will likely decline for the second straight year. I wonder how long it will be before the team seriously considers moving him from behind the plate.
Giants player who is horrible
That talk has cooled lately. Since being forced into an emergency relief appearance – and earning a save – against the Phillies, Lincecum has been awful. Over his last four starts, he’s allowed 20 runs over 17 innings.
Starting Pitching Preview
Here’s a look at the starting pitchers the Phillies will be facing this weekend:
Bumgarner has had another strong season at the top of the Giants rotation. Although his ERA is up a bit from 2013, he earned another All-Star bid last month.
Friday’s game should be a low scoring affair as Bumgarner will be opposed by Cole Hamels, who is pitching as well as anybody right now.
It looks like the Giants made a shrewd move in signing Hudson this past offseason. The veteran looked like he was nearing the end of his career in 2013, but he’s bounced back nicely to provide the Giants with another solid mid-rotation starter.
As mentioned above, Lincecum has been lousy lately. This might be the Phillies’ best chance for an offensive explosion this series.
Reasons why the Phillies could win
I used to be really optimistic in my series previews and explain why a Phillies victory was inevitable, but this season has killed that sense of optimism. Nonetheless, I’ll list some reasons why the Phillies could emerge victorious:
1. Cole Hamels is pitching on Friday. Sure, the Giants have a pretty good pitcher going as well, but Hamels has been on fire lately.
2. Chase Utley has been hot lately. A hot Utley is usually good for a win or two.
3. It feels like the bullpen is due to have a good series after a few hiccups lately.
Reasons why the Giants could win
1. Kyle Kendrick is scheduled to start one of the games.
2. Hunter Pence seems to save his best games for the Phillies. As if he hasn’t caused Phillies fans enough headaches.
3. The Giants seem like a team that could be interested in one of the Phillies trade-eligible pitchers. But for some reason, Phillies pitchers have seemingly gone out of their way to hurt their trade value this season. So at least one of their pitchers will likely implode.
Hamels will fall victim to poor run support yet again and the Phillies will lose on Friday. However, they will rebound on Saturday when Kyle Kendrick somehow turns in a decent start.
With a chance to win the series on Sunday, despite facing the struggling Lincecum, the Phillies will falter.
Tags: Philadelphia Phillies