It is officially gut-check time for this Phillies team. Roy Halladay is on the disabled list. They got demolished 14-2 by the lowly Marlins yesterday. At 14-18, they’re probably not where they wanted to be headed into a seven-game west coast swing. And for their troubles, tonight they get Madison Bumgarner and the world champion San Francisco Giants. If the Phillies don’t pull it together this week against two good NL West teams, this road trip has the potential to be crippling.
Bumgarner has been next to unhittable in 2013. He hasn’t let up more than two runs in a game yet and has averaged just under seven innings through his first six starts. As always, the Phillies have struggled mightily against lefties this season, to the tune of a .207 batting average and .608 OPS. But, all due respect to the talent of Jose Fernandez, they haven’t seen a lefty as good as Bumgarner yet. The Giants haven’t scored a ton for him this year – he’s notched only three wins in six starts despite a sparking ERA – but they may not need many tonight. Bumgarner is 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA in two career starts against the Phillies.
The Phillies counter with Cliff Lee, who has come back to Earth after a stellar start to the season. This will be the fourth time that the Phillies ask Lee to control the bleeding after an ugly Halladay start. He is two for three so far in those scenarios, with his only loss coming last week in Cleveland. In his last three starts, Lee has allowed 12 earned runs in 18 innings. It goes without saying that the Phils desperately need him to regain the dominant form he showed in early April if they want to contend.
The offense has been consistently inconsistent and it won’t get any easier against Bumgarner. As Ryan Howard and Domonic Brown have warmed up in May, Chase Utley has cooled down. Delmon Young hasn’t shown much since the home run he hit in his first at-bat as a Phillie. Against the tough lefty, tonight would be a good night for him to make an impact. If nothing else, Young and former Phillie Hunter Pence playing one of the trickier right fields in all of baseball makes tonight’s late nighter a must-watch.
Lineup: Rollins SS, Utley 2B, M. Young 3B, Howard 1B, D. Young RF, Brown LF, Mayberry CF, Kratz C, Lee P
GAMEDAY BEER: Anchor Steam Beer
Around since 1896, this classic from Anchor Brewing Company is the unofficial official beer of San Francisco. With it’s deep amber color and distinctive taste, Anchor Steam’s name originated in the 19th century when, sans ice, the crisp night air would cause steam to rise off of beer fermenting on rooftops across San Fran.