Sunday, August 2, 2009

Potent Preview: Philadelphia Phillies (59-43) at San Francisco Giants (57-47)

Probable starters:
PHI: Cole Hamels (7-5) 4.42 ERA. SFO: Barry Zito (6-10) 4.54 ERA.

If you want to ask the sensible side of me, the Giants already did enough this series. They at the very least, split the series with the defending World Series champions and first place team in the NL East. They have showed in three games of this three four set that they are a team capable of not only making the playoffs, but also competing in October as well. The pitching (sans one inning from the bullpen in game 2 of this series) has been phenomenal. The hitting, while not great, has been timely. And lastly, the Giants are gaining some momentum which could be added upon when new acquisition Freddy Sanchez is fully healthy and joins the lineup (which probably won't be until tomorrow).

That being said, I'm not always sensible and thus, I desperately want this win. Let's face it. The Phillies are certainly hate-worthy for Giants fans. They stole four All-Star spots when in reality they should have only had two. They play in a division that is extremely weak in comparison to year's past (but because of East Coast biases, it often goes unrecognized). And they play in a ballpark that inflates hitters' stats like crazy. Seriously, in this age of post-steroid era ball, Citizens Bank Ballpark has become the new Coors Field. Raul Ibanez and Jayson Werth are prime examples of being beneficiaries of this small ballpark. They are having career years because they have played in big ballparks for most of their careers (Seattle and Los Angeles respectively) and when they finally play in a hitter's ballpark for the first time, everyone thinks that they are All-Stars. Now, I'm not downplaying Werth or Ibanez. They're good player. Yet All-Stars? I don't know about that. If we can downplay Matt Holliday's accomplishments because he plays in Coors Field, I think we should do the same for guys like Ibanez, Werth and even Howard for playing in Citizens Bank Ballpark.

Today's game will be determined how Zito pitches. I have that bad feeling that Zito is due for a shelling, as pessimistic as this sounds. However, I think this lineup is susceptible against left-handed pitchers and I'll at least take that into consideration. Nonetheless, the realist inside of me is taking this game with a grain of salt. Chances are, the Phillies are going to leave San Francisco evening up this series today.

Yet the fan of me believes we can win, and hopefully that side proves to be right. A 6-1 home stand after coming off a 3-7 road trip sounds really nice now, doesn't it?

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.

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