PHI: Joe Blanton (7-4) 4.11 ERA. SFO: Tim Lincecum (11-3) 2.30 ERA.
Excited for this one mainly because I'm heading to the game tonight. Furthermore, I'm also excited because I am going to see a Tim Lincecum start live. There's not a lot of things in the world that can beat that. AT&T Park for a night game. The reigning NL Cy Young on the hill. It should be a good night in San Francisco.
Speaking of the game, this one will be interesting. Joe Blanton is good pitcher, but by no means is he Cliff Lee-caliber. He relies a lot on his hard stuff, but overall, his stuff is not really all that great. Blanton can have outings where he does look like an ace-in-the-making. I saw it a lot during his days in Oakland. However, he can have a lot of outings where he just gets lit up. With Lincecum on the hill, and the Giants thoroughly embarrassed after last night's outing against Lee, I think there is a strong possibility for the latter on Blanton. While last night I penciled that as the Phillies' sure win, this game I believe is the Giants' sure win. Even if you look at ESPN.com's Accuscore's projections, the Giants have a 66 percent chance of winning this game.
The Giants however can't waste Lincecum's performance like they did on Wednesday's with Matt Cain. The Giants bats need to come out early and loud for this game to be a sure-fire win. If Lincecum can pitch with a three or four run lead, I'll be happy because I think that will be enough, even against this potent Phillies offense. That being said, the Phillies definitely aren't as potent as their numbers or the experts make them out to be. They aren't a four All-Star hitter team (they should have in reality only had two: Chase Utley and Shane Victorino. Howard has been overrated this year, and Werth is having an uncharacteristically good year, mostly because his stats are inflated by playing at Citizens Bank Ballpark). If the Phillies offense has showed me anything this year, they have showed me that they are more of a product of their ballpark (Coors Field 2.0) than anything else. This series at a pitcher's park in AT&T is no exception. I haven't been too impressed with any of the Phillies' hitters, except maybe Utley (Jayson Werth's homer was a fluke).
For game updates check out the SJ Mercury's Andrew Baggarly's Giants blog at Extra Baggs. For live game thread and chat, check out the McCovey Chronicles.