Monday, August 16, 2010

What Ever Happened to Predictability?

The milkman, the paperboy, evening TV...

Yes, those are the opening lyrics to the Full House theme song. No, I'm not a creepy stay-at-home pedophile. It's common knowledge that Full House is awesome, so if you have a problem with that you can just git out. Anyway, I figured it was appropriate as the Phillies get set to face the Giants in a key three game set starting tomorrow night at CBP. I mean, it's quite obvious the only cool things that were ever associated with San Francisco are Joe Montana and Full House. And maybe Rice-A-Roni.

This series is huge, as the Phillies are in a virtual tie with the Giants for first place in the wild card (the Phils hold a .001 percentage point lead). The Giants are who we thought they were, a team that hits enough to win when you combine it with their awesome pitching. Their team ERA is 4th in MLB, and they lead the league in strikeouts as a staff. Combine that with good fielding and it's easy to see how this team is 15 games over .500 and battling the surprising Padres for the NL West title.

However, there are some chinks in their armor. Their ace, Tim Lincecum, is having a sub-par year (by his standards) as he now has a 3.62 ERA on the year after getting shelled in his last two starts. Their best hitter, Pablo Sandoval, is slugging under .400 on the year and sits with just eight HRs on the year. To score runs they are relying on Aubrey Huff, rookie Buster Posey and breakout outfielder Andres Torres.

Oh, and a certain ex-Phillie Pat Burrell.

Burrell signed with the Giants in May after being released by the Rays. In 56 games with the Giants he's hit .285 with 10 HR and 30 RBI. His outfield defense has been godawful but that's not what he's in the lineup for. The Giants needed another power bat and Pat has certainly brought that.

So, for the first time he'll return to CBP as a member of a team other than the Phillies. I fully expect him to get a standing ovation. For all his shortcomings while he was here (his "stick his butt out while taking a called third strike" strikeouts being his biggest) he always took the criticism in stride. Plus, in his last Phillies at-bat he hit a double that set up the winning run in Game 5 of the World Series. When you do something like that, you're loved forever, no matter what.

However, once you get past Burrell's homecoming this series will be about one thing...pitching. Here are the matchups:

Tuesday: Barry Zito (8-6, 3.44 ERA) v. Roy Oswalt (7-13, 3.34 ERA)
Wednesday: Matt Cain (9-9, 3.11 ERA) v. Joe Blanton (4-6, 5.69 ERA)
Thursday: Jonathan Sanchez (8-8, 3.60 ERA) v. Cole Hamels (7-9, 3.33 ERA)

The matchups are certainly in the Giants favor, as they send two good lefties to the hill (both of whom have given the Phillies problems recently) in Zito and Sanchez. Plus, we face Cain who has been the Giants best pitcher all year. It won't be easy, but with Oswalt and Cole on the mound it should help. In the end the goal is simple: keep taking two of three and the playoff are a certainty.

Go Phils.

1 comment:

  1. I however am a creepy stay at home pedophile