San Francisco Giants
On Tuesday afternoon, the San Francisco Giants picked up their biggest win of the season, a 3-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. They are just two steps away from capturing the pennant in the NL, and will be looking to get halfway there on Wednesday night in Game 4 of the NLCS.
RHP Matt Cain was an absolute dynamo on the mound on Thursday, as he threw seven scoreless innings and only allowed two hits and three walks. The game was relatively harmlessly busted open in the fourth inning last night, as both OF Cody Ross and OF Aubrey Huff hit RBI singles. Those were two of the three runs allowed by LHP Cole Hamels on the day. Hamels pitched well, allowing just three runs in six frames with eight Ks. LHP Javier Lopez and RHP Brian Wilson closed out the game with two spotless frames to give San Fran the 2-1 series lead.
RHP Joe Blanton is going to be called upon to start for the first time since September 29th. He only went 9-6 on the season in 28 starts, and his core numbers were iffy at best. Blanton did post 134 strikeouts against just 43 walks, but he allowed 27 homers and allowed opposing batters to hit .291 against him this year. Blanton has gone 25-14 since coming over the Phils in the World Series run of 2008, but with the acquisition of two of the best pitchers in baseball over the last year, he has been reduced to the fourth starting spot in this rotation. This will likely be his only start of the postseason if he is defeated.
LHP Madison Bumgarner might just be a rookie this year, but he pitched well in the close out game against the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS last week. He struck out five and allowed just six hits and a walk in six frames, conceding two runs. Bumgarner hasn't allowed more than two runs in a start since August 25th, but he has only gotten more than four runs of support once since the start of September. Bumgarner had a respectable first season in the majors, as he went 7-6 with a 3.00 ERA in 18 starts. This will be the first outing of his career against the Phillies.
This pitching matchup is a heck of a lot closer than it probably looks. Blanton might be the best No. 4 starter in the postseason, but with this game being played in San Fran, he might be at a severe disadvantage. This is a must win game for a Philadelphia team that really knows what it means to be in this type of a situation, but the G-Men just look like an unstoppable train right now, and if Bumgarner can get this game into the seventh inning with a lead, it could be au revior to the two time defending NL champs.
MLB Free Picks: San Francisco Giants -115