Philadelphia Phillies (4-5) vs. San Francisco Giants (4-5)
Joe Blanton (1-1, 2.35) vs. Madison Bumgarner (1-1, 3.97)
It has been great to see Joe Blanton get off to such a strong start after a rough 2011 season that was derailed due to elbow injuries. He got himself in tip-top shape this offseason and it has paid dividends early on in 2012. His first start of the season was perhaps the best I’ve ever seen Blanton pitch. Over seven innings, he allowed only three hits last week against the Marlins. It was his only start thus far – his other appearance came in relief – so it hardly tells us anything. But what’s telling is that his fastball hit 92 several times. I can’t remember a time when Blanton was hitting 90-92 with ease before his first start.
It all comes down to how he will follow up. If Blanton can stay on this upward trend and keep that new found velocity, he could be in for a stellar season.
We’re all familiar with Madison Bumgarner. Although he’s only faced the Phillies twice in his career as a starter (once in the regular season, once in the postseason) I feel like we know him so well. Fact is, there is no way to tell how this Phillies team will react to the lefty. The Phils lineup is righty-heavy, so they’ll try to combat that tonight with Wigginton and Mayberry in for Nix and Pierre.
Lineup: Victorino CF, Polanco 3B, Rollins SS, Pence RF, Wigginton 1B, Mayberry LF, Ruiz C, Galvis 2B, Blanton P
Your Gameday Beer: Anchor Steam
Anchor Steam is based in the Bay Area, the site of tonight’s game with the Giants. This is a bold, hoppy ale, which Anchor Steam created to celebrate the anniversary of their first brew at 1705 Mariposa Street in San Fran. It’s a two-row barley beer that is a potent 6% ABV. Pretty much every Anchor Steam beer I’ve ever tried has been tasty and well worth it. This one is one of the best AS brews. -By Pat