So now that we’ve regained our voices, nursed our bruises, and convinced our girlfriends that they’re more important to us than a Giants World Series, it’s time to look ahead to the next challenge. Beating the Philadelphia Phillies isn’t an easy task, especially when the national media has already started talking about a Philadelphia - New York World Series rematch.
They can’t comprehend how the Giants scrappy hitters can keep up with the Phillies offense. They might have conveniently overlooked the fact that the Phillies batted .212 in their division series against the Reds. Hardly the work of an offensive juggernaut.
But that doesn’t matter to these folks. They keep telling us over and over again that the Giants can’t hit H2o.
But as we take a close look at how these two teams match up overall, things don’t quite add up.
Oh and by the way, water sucks.
Andres Torres vs. Shane Victorino
These two guys have a lot in common. They both have speed and power, can hit from either side of the plate, and risk their lives everyday chasing balls into the centerfield wall. They also come from sunny states, though I prefer to live in Hawaii instead of Florida. The water there is cleaner, and the girls wear skimpier…wait, what were we talking about again?
Victorino hit two more homers and stole eight more bases, but Andres has a higher OPS and OBP, which are huge in determining the overall effectiveness of a leadoff hitter. Shane strikes out less but Andres is a better contact hitter and has a trimmer go-tee.
Placido Polanco vs. Freddy Sanchez
Freddy finished strong in the second half of the season, and although he batted awful in the division series against the Braves (.125) he came up with some big at-bats that factored into the Giants’ sweep in Atlanta. I have a feeling he’s due for a lot of hits in a seven game series, though most of them probably won’t leave the infield.
Polanco’s been an upgrade over the strikeout happy Pedro Feliz at third base, but that’s not saying much. The Philllies would have been a better team if they replaced Pedro with a cardboard cutout since it could actually work out a walk.
Like Sanchez, Polanco had a forgetful series division series against Cincinnati. Add that to his back, shoulder, and elbow troubles and the Phillies might want to think about bringing Mike Schmidt out of retirement.
Aubrey Huff vs. Chase Utley
Don’t be fooled by Huff’s slow start against the Braves. He chose the best time to drive in his only run of and was involved in almost every big inning the Giants put together. He’s enjoying every at bat in his first postseason, and appears to love hitting in front of obnoxious rowdy fans. With that in mind, he’ll probably bat .500 and smack six home-runs in the first two games of this series.
Chase Utley’s a good second basemen but he’s had an underachieving year. Maybe it’s because he hasn’t fully recovered from spending a day with Jack Bauer.
Buster posey vs. Ryan Howard
Last year Howard batted .207 against lefties. This year he’s batting .264. So...that’s a good thing right? Well, no not really. Howard’s overall .BA is still three points less than it was in 2009, he’s hit 15 fewer home runs, and he struck out 157 times while only drawing 59 walks. And the Phillies think that’s worth one hundred million?
Buster has a better .OPS, .BA, .OBP, strikeout to walk ratio, and can hit the ball to either side of the field. Ryan’s a better athlete though. We all saw how fast he got out of the way of Butch's car in Pulp Fiction.
I still like Buster in this one.
Pat Burrell vs. Jayson Werth
This is a match-up between a former Philly and a guy who spells his first name“Jay-son.” Seriously what’s with the “Jay?” I’m guessing the Werth family sucked at scrabble.
Anyway, back to thoughtful,mathematical analysis. Werth hit 27 homers during the regular season, Burrell hit 20. Jay-son batted .296, Pat batted .252. Jay-son stole 13 bases this year, Pat stole two in 2009. Jay-son loves to fish, Pat loves to golf.
I guess Burrell had to be better at something.
Juan Uribe vs. Raul Ibanez
We’ll be hearing a lot “uuuuu” chants for these two over the next week and a half. But more of it will be coming from the orange and black crew. Juan’s been a streaky hitter all year, so given his performance against the Braves, he’ll homer three times in an inning in two separate games. One of them will come in game six when the Giants wrap up the series.
Ibanez’s numbers have been down from last season when he hit 34 home runs. He’s still productive at the plate hitting .302 with runners in scoring position, but he only batted .200 against the Giants lights out starting rotation.
Cody Ross vs. Jimmy Rollins
I love everything Ross has to offer. Affordable clothes, cheap silverware, and awesome hitting in the clutch.
Brian Sabean purchased Cody at a Florida yard sale and his value has skyrocketed in the playoffs. Since joining the Giants, he’s batted .288 with a .354 OBP and a .819 OPS. He had two game-deciding hits in the LDS, and plays solid defense in right field.
Jimmy Rollins won an MVP in 2007, and his numbers have been in a steady decline ever since. He’s still a versatile shortstop that can steal bases and hit home-runs, but he’s been MIA for most of the year with a strained calf.
Even though I love Duane Kuiper’s “torture,” label to describe Giants baseball, the “dress for less” catch phrase isn’t sounding too bad.
Pablo Sandoval vs. Carlos Ruiz
Bruce has to play Sandoval in this series. Sure he hits into a lot of double plays (26, guh ) but replacing him with Mike Fontenot doesn’t make the Giants any better offensively. It’s like substituting Mark Grace for Ken Rosenthal.
Carlos Ruiz batted a career high .302 this season, pretty impressive for a catcher. But he has no speed, no power, and has a highly inappropriate nickname.
Tim Lincecum vs. Roy Halladay
Tim finally returned to form in the month of September, and he remained dominant with a complete game 14 strikeout performance against the Braves. Halladay was even better, pitching a no hitter against the best offense in the national league. Both will take the mound in game one with nearly ten days of rest.
Between the two of them, we could be witnessing a 40 strikeout game on Saturday. The Giants beat the Braves in Game 4 with six hits. Can they beat the Phillies with three?
Jonathan Sanchez vs. Roy Oswalt
During the last two months of the regular season, Jonathan Sanchez was the second best pitcher in the majors after Carlos Zambrano. But where Carlos had a lot of help from his anger management counselor, Jonathan relied on nothing but his mechanics. His slider was an unhittable nightmare for the Braves in the LDS, which is why he’s pitching in game two instead of Cain. I really don’t mind as long as both pitchers get two starts.
Oswalt struggled against the Reds in the division series, lasting only five innings as the Phillies offense (or more accurately, the Cincinnati defense) would eventually bail him out. He’s a good pitcher with nasty stuff, but the Giants hit him well during the regular season.
Looks like we got a stalemate with Oswalt winning Game 1 and Sanchez pitching a no-hitter in Game 6.
Cole Hamels vs. Matt Cain
Both of these guys were unhittable in their last starts, with Cain going 6 2/3 innings allowing no earned runs and Hamels pitching a complete game shutout.
The last time the Giants saw Hamels he didn’t last five innings. This time I’m guessing he goes seven, same for Cain.
It looks like this one’s going to be decided by the bullpens, which is a very good thing for the Giants.
Madison Bumgarner vs. Joe Blanton
What’s not to like about Bumgarner? He can throw fastballs up to 96 mph, has a six-syllable name, and he was born around the time I was watching my first World Series.
Normally rookies don’t fare well pitching in the playoffs for the first time, but Madison closed out the Braves to become the youngest Giants pitcher ever to record a postseason win.
Brad Lidge vs Brian Wilson
Lidge blew five saves in 32 opportunities, Wilson blew five saves in 53 opportunities.
One tortures you and one kills you.
Javier Lopez, Sergio Romo, Santiago Castilla, Jeremy Affeldt, Dan Runzler, Ramon Ramirez vs. Antonio Bastardo, vs. Chad Durbin, Jose Contreras, Ryan Madson, J.C. Romero
If the Giants can get past the starters with the lead or an even score, the Phillies are doomed. Wilson is a master of the five out save, and Giants bullpen has frequently demonstrated an ability (most recently in the season clincher against the Padres) to preserve leads for as long as five innings.
The Phillies might as well scratch the bullpen off their roster and go with three pitchers for the entire series.
Travis Ishikawa, Nate Schieholtz, Eli Whiteside, Edgar Renteria, Mike Fontenot vs Mike Sweeney, Ross Gload, Ben Francisco, Greg Dobbs, Wilson Valdez, Domonic Brown, Brian Schneider
I don’t mean to be rude or condescending (so prepare for a lot of both) but let’s look at the facts. Sitting on the Giants bench is a former member of the 2008 Olympic team, a shortstop who makes more money than all the starters combined (ugh), a guy named Eli, and the first little leaguer to ever play professional sports.
On the Phillies side, you have a former cable news anchor who fears his Latino teammates, a comedian who’s secretly a Giants fan, and another guy named Ross who came from the Marlins.
Our Ross is cheaper and better.
Bruce Bochy vs. Charlie Manuel
Two guys as tough as nails. Manuel led his team to impressive postseason runs over the last two years, winning a World Series in 2008. Bochy inherited a mess when he took over for Felipe Alou in 2006, and has managed the Giants back to success without the benefit of having a steroid driven superstar in his prime.
Both managers have done a great job steering their team to the top of their division after trailing throughout most of the season. Here’s the major difference. Manuel was given the two best pitchers on the market, while Bochy was given a bunch of players purchased from the eighty nine cent store.
And that’s the breakdown. So for all of you who keep saying the Phillies are a better team on paper, I'm sure you feel pretty stupid right about now.
That's how I always feel.
But I trust my heart more than my brain. That's why I flunked Calculus, and that's why the Giants are going to the World Series.
Giants in six.