Series Preview: Giants at Phillies

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After picking up a series win against the Reds with two comeback walkoffs, the Phillies (21-34) now gear up for a 3-game weekend series with the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants (30-25), who were just feted at the White House on Thursday in honor of last year’s title.

More from That Balls Outta Here

The Giants are currently mired in a 5-game losing streak after an incredible hot stretch during which they went 13-2, pushing them back into the race. They now sit in 2nd place in the NL West, just 1.5 games behind the Dodgers. The Phils are in last, and trailing the NL East-leading Mets by 9 games.

San Francisco brings with them a very talented core of hitters which includes the likes of speedy outfielder Nori Aoki (.314/.385/.401, 2 HR, 15 RBI, 12 SB), 2nd baseman Joe Panik (.307/.378/.448, 4 HR, 22 RBI, 2 SB), and 1st baseman Brandon Belt (.306/.379/.535, 7 HR, 24 RBI).

With such a deep lineup, shortstop Brandon Crawford (.293/.366/.505, 8 HR, 37 RBI, 3 SB) and catcher Buster Posey (.285/.365/.446, 8 HR, 29 RBI) are also worth mentioning among that list. Posey, the former NL Rookie of the Year and MVP, is generally considered one of the best players in baseball.

Not a single one of the Phillies really stacks up against any of the top Giants batsmen. Their top hitters on the year to this point are a rising Ben Revere (.269/.309/.356, 16 RBI, 11 SB), a horribly struggling Freddy Galvis (.269/.320/.312, 1 HR, 12 RBI, 5 SB), and an inconsistent Odubel Herrera (.245/.280/.348, 1 HR, 15 RBI, 6 SB).

However, Chase Utley has been quite the force over his last fifteen games (.353/.407/.510, 1 HR, 7 RBI) and rookie promotee 3rd baseman Maikel Franco is coming off a huge series (5 for 14, 2 game-tying HR, 6 RBI) against the Reds.

PITCHING MATCHUPS:

Jerome Williams (3-5, 5.49 ERA) v. Tim Lincecum (5-3, 3.00 ERA) – a former Giant, Williams takes the mound following what was once again a very mediocre start (5 IP, 4 ER, 8 H, 0 BB, 4 SO). He’ll be looking for some improvement tonight, but it seems pretty unlikely considering he hasn’t turned in a very good start since April. His opponent, the veteran Lincecum, is coming off two of his own weaker starts. The most recent of which was against the Braves (4.1 IP, 4 ER, 8 H, 2 BB, 5 SO). After the game, Lincecum commented, “Those guys put some good swings on some good pitches. At that point you’ve got to kind of tip your cap… It’s tough, especially when they do it on consecutive innings and that happened four innings in a row. I’m constantly being put in the pressure cooker.” He’ll come into Philly with something to prove after that outing.

Severino Gonzalez (2-1, 6.88 ERA) v. Madison Bumgarner (6-2, 3.12 ERA) – the rookie Gonzalez returns to the bump after having his last start skipped. He was coming off another middling performance (4.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 8 SO). While the strikeout total was nice, he continued his streak of lasting only 5 innings or less and will try to break that on Saturday afternoon. He’ll go up against Bumgarner, who is the owner of a pretty solid season thus far. MadBum turned in another quality start (6.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 6 SO) a few days ago in a game the Giants would blow to the Braves in the top of the 9th. Bumgarner will be looking to be even better when he toes the rubber on Saturday.

Sean O’Sullivan (1-4, 5.03 ERA) v. Ryan Vogelsong (4-3, 4.26 ERA) – Like Williams and Gonzalez, O’Sullivan is not coming off a mediocre start (5.2 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 1 SO).  He’ll look to limit the damage in what appears to be the most winnable pitching matchup this series. Aside from his first few games in April, Vogelsong has produced good starts in all of May/June. Despite taking the loss, Vogelsong put together a nice game (6 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 5 SO) last Monday. He’ll try to continue his nice season in the series finale on Sunday afternoon.

SERIES KEYS:

Galvis to shed the slump – Galvis pretty much carried the Phillies on his back for the first month and a half, but has really been stuck in a struggle over his last fifteen games (.108/.134/.123, 1 RBI).  His recent performance has resulted in a drop to 7th in the batting order. As the slump continues, Galvis is likely pressing which is not going to prove helpful. He needs to relax and start over this weekend, because the Phils’ terrible lineup is in desperate need of a big boost from somewhere.

Bullpen needs to step up – While the Phils’ bullpen ranks right around the middle of the pack, they will need to be a force this weekend for the team to win the series. All of the Phillies’ starting pitchers in this series tend to come out right around the middle of the game with lots of innings left to pitch.  Perhaps with this information in mind, Jake Diekman (6.75 ERA, 2.02 WHIP) was sent to AAA yesterday with his replacement set to come later today. The pen will need to be ready for lots of action and dig deep into the reserves for the Phillies to have any shot at taking at least 2 games.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Game 1: Friday, 7:05 PM, TV: NBC10, Radio: 1210FM, 94AM, 1680AM

Game 2: Saturday, 3:05 PM, TV: CSN, Radio: 1210FM, 94AM, 1680AM

Game 3: Sunday, 1:35 PM, TV: CSN, Radio: 1210FM, 94AM, 1680AM


NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE weekend forecast for Citizens Bank Park in South Philly

Saturday

Scattered showers before noon, then scattered showers and thunderstorms between noon and 1pm, then isolated showers after 1pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 80. Northeast wind 7 to 14 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Saturday Night

Mostly clear, with a low around 58. East wind 5 to 8 mph becoming calm after midnight.

Sunday

Sunny, with a high near 79. Northeast wind around 7 mph becoming southeast in the afternoon.

Sunday Night

Increasing clouds, with a low around 61. South wind 5 to 8 mph.


GIANTSDateStatusDue BackInjuryNotes
Aoki, Nori (LF)06/05Any dayTBDFluNot in starting lineup, available to pinch-hit June 5.
Cain, Matt (P)06/0515-day DLPossibly mid-JuneRight flexor tendon strainThrew 40 pitches in extended Spring Training game June 3.
Machi, Jean (P)06/0515-day DLTBDLeft groin strainPlaced on 15-day DL on June 5 retroactive to June 2.
Peavy, Jake (P)06/0315-day DLPossibly mid-JuneBack strainFelt back tightness during Triple-A rehab start May 27; threw 40-pitch bullpen session June 3.
Pence, Hunter (RF)06/05Any dayDay-to-dayLeft wrist tendinitisNot in starting lineup June 3-5.

PHILLIESDateStatusDue BackInjuryNotes
Billingsley, Chad (P)06/0315-day DLPossibly JulyGrade 2 right lat strainPlaced on the 15-day DL retroactive to May 16; threw from 75 feet June 2.
Hollands, Mario (P)04/20Out for Season2016Recovering from April 2015 Tommy John surgeryUnderwent Tommy John surgery April 8.
Lee, Cliff (P)04/0560-day DLPossibly 2015Left common flexor tendon tearShut down from throwing, placed on 60-day DL on March 16.
Pettibone, Jonathan (P)05/0960-day DLTBDRecovering from June 2014 right elbow surgeryTransferred to 60-day DL on April 28.
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