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Phillies get early breaks against Giants: A fan’s reaction
The Philadelphia Phillies needed a good start to their big series with the San Francisco Giants. Although this NLCS rematch doesn't stand to alter the playoff races, the Phillies are in need of a few statement performances. Sending a message to San Francisco and shaking off some shaky games in the last week will go a long way towards keeping us Philadelphia fans happy.
But a bit of luck helps, too, as was evident in the opening 7-2 victory.
The Phillies have had their share of luck this year, by facing an easy schedule and having four aces to bail us out most of the time. But another gift came about Tuesday night, as the Giants most feared ace, Tim Lincecum(notes), had to be kept out due to the flu. As such, the injured Barry Zito(notes) came back a night early, and Vance Worley(notes) didn't have to out-duel Lincecum.
Of course, even if Lincecum pitched on schedule, he might not have had enough to out-duel Worley and his first complete game. However, the difference between Lincecum and Zito was made clear in the first inning, as the Giants' big freak likely wouldn't have given up four first inning runs with two outs. Although Zito largely settled down after that, he still gave up two homers to John Mayberry(notes) Jr. and Chase Utley(notes)—and Utley's never left the park.
On the opposite side, Worley settled down after giving up an opening double and run, and never let the Giants out of their early hole. In fact, he was almost Lincecum-esq, if not Roy Halladay(notes) and Cliff Lee(notes)-esq. For that matter, Worley has been even more dominant than Halladay, Lee and Cole Hamels(notes) since the All-Star break, and proved it again at the best time.
This is a series in which Halladay and Lee won't be able to pitch, thanks to the new post All-Star game pitching order—which Giants and NL All-Star manager Bruce Bochy is getting the blame for. As such, with Worley originally scheduled to face Lincecum, and Kyle Kendrick(notes) slated to take on Matt Cain(notes) on Thursday, the Phillies needed to jump out quick. Even now, a big duel has been set up for Wednesday night, should Lincecum be well enough to face Hamels, so the Phillies still can't rest easy.
This battle means more to revenge-minded Philadelphia fans than it might for the Phillies themselves, although it is a major measuring stick for the team. Fortunately, the Phils continued to get most every break, as they have for much of this season as a whole. But although that luck helped us avoid Lincecum for a night, and kept Worley on his massive roll, it will mean a little less without a split of the next two games.
As everyone in Philadelphia knows, Game 1 of the last Phillies-Giants series set the tone against us. Hopefully, the opposite will prove true in this abbreviated showdown, although four-run innings, inside-the-park home runs, and a scratched Lincecum probably won't be gift wrapped for us on Wednesday and Thursday.
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