National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, July 22nd
(All times eastern)
San Francisco Giants (53-41) at Philadelphia Phillies (41-54), 1:35 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: San Francisco - Barry Zito (8-6, 3.75)
Philadelphia - Joe Blanton (8-8, 4.79)
(Sports Network) - Joe Blanton has only lost one start this season when not
allowing a home run. That outing happened to come against the San Francisco
The Philadelphia Phillies' right-hander hopes that isn't the case again today
as his club tries to avoid getting swept in a three-game series by the Giants
for the first time in eight years.
Blanton has yielded 20 homers over his 19 outings this season, including 18
starts. He avoided a third straight setback on Monday at the Los Angeles
Dodgers, hurling eight innings while allowing two runs on six hits without a
walk. Blanton also struck out seven and did not give up a homer for the first
time since May 8 -- a span of 12 starts.
"When I kept the ball down I had good results. I thought I threw the ball
really well. I tried to throw as many strikes as I could," noted Blanton, who
threw 80 of his 110 pitches for strikes.
Blanton is 4-1 in six outings this season when not allowing a homer, with that
loss coming on April 17 at San Francisco. He yielded four runs on 11 hits over
five innings of a 4-2 setback, with the 31-year-old dipping to 2-4 with a 5.00
ERA in eight career meetings.
Barry Zito will face the Phillies for the first time in 2012 having won two
straight and three of his last four starts. The 34-year-old lefty threw seven
scoreless innings of three-hit ball for the second time in that span, doing so
on Tuesday in Atlanta. He walked one and fanned four in a 9-0 win.
Zito improved to 8-6 with a 3.75 ERA in 18 starts this season and is 3-3
lifetime versus Philadelphia with a 4.75 ERA in six encounters.
Zito will look to pitch the Giants to their first sweep of the Phillies since
Aug. 13-15, 2004 in Philadelphia. San Francisco needed extra innings to claim
yesterday's win, getting a perfectly placed safety squeeze from Gregor Blanco
that plated Melky Cabrera.
Buster Posey had four hits for the Giants, who have won seven of their last
Despite the two teams trotting out pitchers Matt Cain and Cole Hamels, the
game unexpectedly turned into a home run derby. The Giants and Phillies
combined to hit six home runs and each starter contributed a long ball.
It was the first time a pair of starters homered off each other in the same
inning since Fernando Valenzuela and Kevin Gross did it on May 14, 1990.
"It certainly wasn't the type of game we thought it would be," Giants manager
Bruce Bochy said. "It's not too often you see both pitchers go deep. Both
teams threw out some good at-bats, both pitchers made some mistakes and paid
Posey, Cabrera and Cain homered for the Giants, while Hamels, Ryan Howard and
Chase Utley hit round-trippers for the Phils, who have dropped three straight.
The Giants took two of three versus the Phillies at home from April 16-18.
07/22 10:37:37 ET