The defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants made a splash Wednesday when they added OF Carlos Beltran in a trade with the Mets. And there's a good chance he'll be in the lineup when San Fran finishes up a National League Championship rematch series with the Philadelphia Phillies Thursday night at Citizens Bank Park (7:05 pm Eastern).
Philly took the opener of this series Tuesday night 7-2, hitting four home runs. The Giants then evened the series with a 2-1 victory Wednesday night behind seven strong innings from starter Matt Cain.
So the Phillies lead the NL East by five games over second-place Atlanta, while San Fran's lead in the NL West is three games over second-place Arizona. Philly also leads the Giants by 5.5 games in the race for the best record in the National League.
Kyle Kendrick (5-4, 3.45) hits the hill for Philly Thursday, while Ryan Vogelsong (8-1, 2.10) is expected to start for the Giants.
As of early Thursday morning most online sportsbooks were holding off on lining this game because there was still some uncertainty as to who would start for San Francisco. Tim Lincecum has had his turn in the rotation pushed back twice during this series due to illness, but some sources still listed him as Thursday's starter.
Kendrick is four-for-nine in quality starts this season. Over his last two starts he's given up four earned runs on 12 hits in 12 1/3 innings pitched, with five walks and just one strikeout. On the season the Phillies are 5-4 in Kendrick's starts, with the over/unders going 5-2.
Kendrick last started against San Francisco three years ago.
Vogelsong, who was out of the Majors from 2007 until this year, is an impressive 13-for-16 in quality starts this season, and has strung together four in a row, allowing just six ER on 25 hits in his last 25 1/3 IP. The Giants are 11-5 in Vogelsong's starts this year, with the O/Us going 4-12.
Vogelsong has no recent history against Philadelphia.
Beltran is hitting .289 this year with 15 homers and 66 RBI. The Giants as a team have hit just 66 homers this year, and have scored a total of 12 runs over their last six games. So they could really use Beltran's bat.
The Phillies are 38-17 at home this season, which is tied with Milwaukee for the best home record in the Majors. The Giants, meanwhile, are 28-26 on the road.
The over/unders are 41-57 in Giants games this season, 47-48 in Phillies games, and 23-26 in games played at the Bank.
As for Thursday's game we've been on Vogelsong for a while now, and he's treated us right. So as long as he's pitching we'll take the Giants.