The Phillies never do much offensively in San Francisco and they aren't hitting to begin with. The Giants' three best offensive players are all hot. It all adds up to this being a pretty bad time to head to AT&T Park.
San Fran has won six straight. Over their last eight games, Pablo Sandoval is 18-for-34; Buster Posey is hitting .333 with three doubles, two homers, eight RBI and 10 walks; and Hunter Pence has six extra-base hits.
The Giants' bullpen is terrific, as always. Sergio Romo has a 1.72 ERA and 12 saves in 13 opportunities, Santiago Casilla and Jean Machi are racking up the strikeouts, and although Javier Lopez isn't off to a great start, current Phillies are 1-for-26 off him.
Even if San Francisco wasn't playing well this would be a tough series. The Phillies just never hit at AT&T, which is one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in the league. They've scored 2 runs or less in 10 of their last 16 games there, and have won just four of 14 series since the place opened in 2000.
Madison Bumgarner (3-0, 1.55) is on the hill tonight against Cliff Lee (2-2, 3.46). Bumgarner and Lee are the only two starting pitchers in the majors with at least 8.3 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 or less since 2011.
Opponents are hitting .181 off Bumgarner this season, and he's yet to allow more than two runs in a game. He's the ace of the staff, no matter how much money Matt Cain makes or how many Cy Youngs Tim Lincecum won before the Giants made him stop smoking weed.
To win tonight, Lee will need to be razor sharp. He's walked multiple batters in 2 of 3 starts after not doing it 20 times in a row. The Giants are loaded with free-swingers, so quality strikes early are a must. If Lee gets two strikes on Sandoval he might as well attack because Sandoval hits opposite-field doubles off the ground like it's his job. (I guess it is his job.)
Let's hope the day off recharged Jimmy Rollins' battery. He's down to .244 on the season with a .302 OBP. Sadly, two Phillies regulars have OBPs even lower than that.