After winning a big series against the Brewers, the Giants must now hit the road for their toughest road trip of the season. With the trade deadline less than a week away, this road trip will have major implications on who the Giants trade for.
First up on the road trip is the Philadelphia Phillies who boast the best record in baseball. The Phillies are 7-2 since the All-Star break, and are arguably the hottest team in baseball.
San Diego gets to take on Cliff Lee on Monday, all while the Giants will be visiting the president of the United States. The Phillies are looking for the four game sweep of the Padres.
The NL Championship rematch between the Giants and Phillies will be a solid measuring stick for both teams. The Phillies are a team that has been brought up a lot when it comes to trade talks, and we all know the Giants are in the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes.
Philadelphia will not be sending out their optimal starting pitchers to the mound for the series though. Vance Worley takes the mound in the first game, followed by Cole Hamels in the second and Kyle Kendrick goes in the final game of the series.
The Giants have two of the three pitchers they would want against the Phillies. Tim Lincecum starts in the first game, followed by Barry Zito (who got roughed up in his last start) and Matt Cain finishes off the series for the Giants.
Going by the starters of the three game series, the Giants could be able to pull two out of three in Philadelphia. Cole Hamels is an extremely tough pitcher, and he is going up against Barry Zito. Don't write off Vance Worley as he boasts a 6-1 record with a 2.02 ERA.
Philadelphia not only boasts the best record in the MLB, but the best home record as well. The Giants have a solid road record at 27-25, but Philadelphia is not an easy place to win.
If the Giants struggle in Philadelphia, then they will be more enticed to trade for Carlos Beltran. The Giants get the Cincinnati Reds next on this road trip.
Cincinnati is currently three games behind the NL Central leaders (three way tie). They are one game under .500, but Cincinnati plays pretty well at home with a home record of 27-23. Not only that, but their ball park is a hitters ball park.
Cincinnati will likely send Dontrelle Willis to the mound for the first game, Mike Leake to the hill for the second game and Johnny Cueto for the series finale.
The Giants will have Vogelsong go in the opener, followed by Madison Bumgarner and the series will end with Tim Lincecum.
Any time you have your ace start a road trip and end a road trip, it is a very good thing.
The Giants have now been linked to talks involving Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton, although his price tag is more than Carlos Beltrans.
Brian Sabean will use this road trip to determine whether or not the Giants will go out and get a much needed cleanup hitter.
The Philadelphia series will likely hold more value because the Phillies are the best team in baseball. If the Giants take the series against the Phillies, expect the Giants to stand pat at the deadline or make a signature Sabean trade. If the Phillies take the series in convincing fashion, it may force Sabean to go out and get some pop for the Giants.
It would be nice to see the Giants put a Carlos Beltran or a B.J. Upton in the middle of the lineup, regardless of price. When you are the defending World Series champions, you should do everything in your power to help your team repeat.