I’m not worried about many teams in the National League, but the Giants are one to be concerned about. With one of the best starting rotations in the National League, and a lineup with some pop, they are not the team you would want to face in a first round playoff series. Last year, the Phillies the lost the season series 3-4; with one win on the road and two at home.
GAME ONE: Roy Halladay (4-0, .82) v. Jonathan Sanchez (1-1, 1.86)
The majority of the SF lineup has yet to face Halladay; and those who have are batting .226 against him, with just 26 hits in 115 plate appearances. However, the Phillies haven’t seen much of Sanchez, facing him just once last year. While most of the lineup has faced Sanchez before, our guys have batted just .193 against him. Sanchez is definitely an underrated guy in a rotation that boasts two aces. His last outing found him striking out ten and giving up just one hit while earning the loss. He also tossed a no-no last season. Look for a much needed night of rest for the bullpen with the Doctor taking the hill.
GAME TWO: Jamie Moyer (2-1, 5.00) v. Todd Wellemeyer (0-3, 8.16)
Talk about a marquee pitching match-up. I’ll be completely honest, I had completely forgotten about Todd Wellemeyer until I saw the probables for the series. The key to Wellemeyer: make him pitch. This guys has pitched just 14.1 innings in three starts, giving up 13 runs, five home runs, and eleven walks. More good news? He struggles against lefties, who are batting .385 against him. The real question is how Jamie Moyer will fare. He had a strong outing in Atlanta last week, and he kept himself away from a big inning like in his previous two starts. The key is score early to ensure Moyer a lead he can work with. (And hopefully the umps will be generous with the corners.)
GAME THREE: Cole Hamels (2-2, 5.11) v. Tim Lincecum (4-0, 1.00)
This is going to be a very exciting match-up. After Hamels seemed to get it together against Florida, he struggled against Arizona; giving up six runs on eight hits. Hamels continues to lose focus after allowing a hit or base runner. Hopefully, Hamels can find the composure he had during his start against Florida with our offense facing the best pitcher in the NL. San Francisco is batting .179 against Hamels; with just 20 hits in 112 at bats, with a 3.71 ERA. Lincecum starting the season right where he left off in his previous two Cy Young winning seasons. Our lineup is batting just .207 with 24 hits, five home runs, and 30 strike outs in 126 plate appearances. This game should be low scoring; and the key to winning this game is dominant outing from Hamels to counter Lincecum.
On a final note, look out for Chase Utley’s 1,000th career hit. 998 down, two to go.