Series Preview: Matchup of Two Maybe Sellers Between #Phillies (49-56) and #SFGiants (46-58)
As I write this up, there are rumors circulating around Philadelphia ace Cliff Lee, star pitcher that the Giants and their fanbase are quite familiar with. Luckily, the Giants won’t have the problem of facing off against him this series, nor will the Phillies have to worry about going after the Giants ace in fellow southpaw Madison Bumgarner. The Phillies are five games above .500 at home, but are 10-12 in the month of July, scoring 78 runs, third fewest in the majors. The Giants are twelve games below .500, scoring 66 runs in the month of July where they’ve gone 7-16. Those 66 runs for the month are the fewest in the majors. The Phillies have lost eight games since the All Star Break, while the Giants have lost seven. Both teams are trailing their division leader by double digit games, and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to start planning for 2014, while still holding on to key, affordable players that regularly play with years of team control left. Nevertheless, there are still baseball games to play, and the Giants will hopefully start getting some breaks, some hits, and some wins. All games played are scheduled for 4:05PM PST.
Tuesday: LHP Barry Zito (4.35 FIP, 4.92 ERA) vs. LHP John Lannan (3.41 FIP, 4.13 ERA)
In 38.1 IP, Barry Zito has a 9.39 ERA on the road, and a .461 wOBA against. Perhaps Zito’s most acceptable road start came earlier this month in Cincinnati (not the double header with the “road start”) where he went four innings and only had one earned run hit his record when he saw seven hits go by him. Zito has not pitched past the sixth inning in a road start this year. Lannan also has a pretty big home-away ERA split (2.73-6.08), so the Philly world must be happy Lannan is starting at CBP tonight. Before getting beat up by St. Louis in his last start (on the road), he had two eight inning, four hit performances against the Chi Sox and Nationals at home.
Wednesday: RHP Chad Gaudin (3.19 FIP, 2.77 ERA) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (3.87 FIP, 3.96 ERA)
Gaudin has allowed all four home runs on his record in 2013 on the road, and has a 3.55 ERA in 38.0 IP away from the friendly confines. Normally one of the consistent arms in the rotation in 2013, Gaudin had a slip up in his last outing against the Reds, but then again, I think every Giant had that this year. His starts before that in the month of July were much more helpful to the team. Kendrick has had his worst month happen this month, with a wOBA against of .365 and a 54.2 LOB%, both welcome numbers to any opposing team. Despite that, in high leverage situations, he has a .081/.154/.176 against in 40 batters faced.
Thursday: RHP Matt Cain (3.99 FIP, 4.79 ERA) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (3.57 FIP, 4.09 ERA)
Finally, a pitcher with a lower road ERA than at home, and Matt Cain of all people fits the bill (5.26-4.27). Cain has been a mystery this year, with reports of floating bone chips in his right elbow, speculated tired body parts, and surrenderer of dingers at a higher rate than what we’re accustomed to. Cain’s worst month has easily been July, where his first two starts saw him unable to get out of the third and first inning, respectively. Like the other starters, he was solid in his dealing with the Chicago Cubs. Hamels, he of a very meaningful 4-13 record to the fantasy baseball player, has not seen a dramatic change in his numbers, and still is a pitcher to very much take seriously. His high leverage numbers of .283/.353/.391 with a .330 wOBA against versus 34 batters may be a contributor to his inflated numbers and poor W-L record, but please don’t be under the impression he is a totally different/inferior pitcher from before. He has gone at least seven innings in four of his last five starts.
Jul 14, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies left fielderDomonic Brown
(9) hits a two RBI double during the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Player not in the basement anymore to watch: The Giants have their player that fans were frustrated in his treatment of in Brandon Belt, and the Phillies have theirs in Domonic Brown, and the latter has been producing at a higher rate, much to the happiness of baseball bloggers around the world. 24 HR, 8 SB, a .358 wOBA, 128 wRC+, and 128 OPS+, all but the SB are numbers that have him at, or tied with the top for the organization in their offensive categories. Update: Brown was placed on the 7-day concussion DL on July 24th, so maybe the Giants won’t see him much this series.
Series Prediction: I predicted a series sweep of the Cubs last time, and we all know how that worked out. I am so low on the Giants, I’ll say they take Saturday’s game, and frustrate us the rest of the time. I also predict Javier Lopez gets traded, but Hunter Pence and Tim Lincecum stay through the rest of the season and will reason qualifying offers from the club.