BY JEFF FALK Don’t like reading too much into regular-season series in July, but San Francisco’s recent three-game set in Philadelphia was meaningful on a couple of levels.
The Giants made a statement and in the same breath sent the Phillies a message. The message? San Francisco is Major League Baseball’s reigning champion and if the Phillies want what the Giants got, they’re going to have to come through them to get it.
From July 27-29, San Francisco took two wins out of a three-game series at Citizen’s Bank Park, where Philadelphia had owned the best home-record in the majors. In the Giants’ two victories, Philadelphia managed a total of two runs and ten hits.
So it would appear that the Giants still have the Phillies’ number, especially SF’s pitching against Philadelphia’s hitter. Just like it did during a 4-2 victory over Philadelphia in last year’s National League Championship Series, the Giants’ less-ballyhooed hurlers out-pitched Philadelphia’s vaunted staff.
Before the recent series in Philadelphia, the Phillies were soaring along with the best record in the bigs and appeared to have the rest of the National League by the tail. And at 65-39, it would take a complete collapse for Philadelphia to not make its annual trip to the playoffs.
If for no other reason than the Giants’ pitching, it would seem that the Phillies would be well-served to add another bat to their lineup before the trade deadline. While young players like John Mayberry, Dominic Brown and Ben Francisco have taken significant strides this season, it is unclear how they will hold up under the pressures of the postseason.
But before this year’s playoffs kick off, we’ll get a better feel for the Phillies-Giants match-up on August 5-7, when Philadelphia invades the city by the bay. Meanwhile, the Giants are silently plugging along, 61-44 with a four-game lead in the National League’s West Division.
Is a Philadelphia-San Francisco playoff rematch imminent? If so, the Phillies will be looking for a different result.