Lost in all the hoopla surrounding the trade deadline is the fact that the Phillies will still be playing out the remainder of the 2013 season!
Tonight, the Phillies begin a series against another team that is suffering through a disappointing 2013 campaign: The San Francisco Giants.
What’s New With the Giants
The defending champions got off to a strong start this season. That success was not sustained, and the team now finds themselves in last place in the National League West. The Giants are not known as an offensive powerhouse, so it shouldn’t be surprising that they only rank 24th in the majors in runs scored.
The Giants have been known for their strong pitching, so it is surprising that the Giants are a sub par 21st in team ERA. That decline in pitching explains how the Giants have gone from World Series champions to a last place team.
Giants Player Who Isn’t Completely Horrible
Buster Posey won the MVP award in 2012, and when the Giants were playing winning baseball, it appeared possible that he could win it again this season. While the Giants’ plummet down the standings likely hurts his case, he is still having an outstanding year.
Giants Player Who is Horrible
The Giants signed Matt Cain to a long-term contract in 2012, thinking he would be able to anchor their pitching rotation for the next eight years. He has indeed carried the pitching staff…all the way to fifth place. His ERA is up two runs from last year, and some of his recent performances have led to speculation that he is concealing an injury.
Last year, Thursday night’s pitching matchup of Cain vs. Cole Hamels would have been an intriguing showdown between two of the league’s top pitchers. This year, it’s a battle between highly paid pitchers suffering through disappointing seasons.
Reason for Optimism
It used to be that facing the Giants meant tough pitching matchups. Considering that Chad Gaudin may be the most intimidating starter the Phillies will face, they might have some success with the bats.
Reason for Optimism – Part Two
I’m sure the Giants are distraught about their former closer and franchise icon Brian Wilson signing with the Dodgers. The emotional distress might negatively affect their play.
Reason for Pessimism
In case you’ve forgotten, the Phillies are on an eight game losing streak. Are there any sadder words for a Phillies fan than “The Phillies will try to end the losing streak tonight behind John Lannan?”
Thanks to the trade deadline, the Phillies have been one of the league’s most newsworthy teams in recent days. For those of us who still enjoy watching the games, it would be nice if they could rack up some wins on the field. These games against the unimposing Giants would be a good time to start.