Philadelphia Phillies (1-2) at San Francisco Giants (2-1)
Joe Blanton (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Madison Bumgarner (1-0, 3.00)
Time: 7:57, AT&T Park
Weather: Sunny, 62
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As demoralizing as yesterday afternoon’s loss was, a 2-1 deficit is hardly the end of the world. After all, this was exactly the position in which the Phillies found themselves through three games in the 1993 NLCS, against a far superior Braves team–and we all know how that ended. Tonight, the Phils take another crack at San Francisco, and the national audience gets its first chance to see Joe Blanton.
Blanton, for his part, recovered in a big way after a rocky start to the season. In the Big Easy’s last 20 starts, he’s 8-1 with a 3.81 ERA. For his postseason career, Blanton’s 2-0 with a 3.89 ERA in eight appearances. What’s more, he’s been a Cody Ross killer (who’d'a thought that would become important?). According to ESPN’s Stats & Info blog, Ross is 3-for-11 in his career against the former Kentucky Wildcat, but has struck out in each of his last four plate appearances.
Opposing Blanton will be Madison Bumgarner, a 21-year-old lefty out of Hickory, N.C. Bumgarner, a former top-10 pick, had the dubious distinction of being about the fifth-most-hyped rookie to make his debut in the NL at age 20 this season. If you’ve got a name like Madison Bumgarner, you either get stuffed in a locker every day of your life or you grow up to be a total badass. That Bumgarner started and won a postseason clincher on the road against Derek Lowe, 10 weeks after turning 21, suggests the latter. Still, he’s only pitched 121 major league innings, so he’s far from a known quantity.
In other interesting news, Raul Ibanez has been relieved of his place in the starting lineup. After leading the Phillies in most offensive categories in the NLDS, Ibanez has gone 0-for-11 against San Francisco. With Madison Bumgarner, a lefty who relies on power breaking stuff, on the hill, Uncle Cholly has seen fit to remove his aging left fielder and replace him with righthanded-hitting Ben Francisco. The former Cleveland Indian had a .284/.344/.557 slash line against lefties this season and was hit in the head in his only plate appearance thus far this postseason.
Game 2 Lineup: Victorino CF, Utley 2B, Polanco 3B, Howard 1B, Werth RF, Rollins SS, Francisco LF, Ruiz C, Blanton P
Your gameday beer: Left Hand Sawtooth Ale
Seems to me like this postseason’s narrative has been the performance of various lefthanded pitchers. All due respect to Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum, we’ve been hearing a lot about the continued domiance of Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, and the emergence of Jonathan Sanchez, C.J. Wilson (today’s shellacking notwithstanding), and Bumgarner (God willing, ditto). With that in mind, today’s offering comes form Left Hand Brewing Company in Longmont, Colorado. This is a solid, medium-bodied American ale that took home bronze in its category at the 2008 Great American Beer Festival. You won’t stop going to bars that won’t stock it, but if you try it, I dare you not to like it.