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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Giants in Drivers Seat For Game 4

The Giants are now up 2-1 vs. the Phillies, and now have perhaps their most favorable pitching match-up of all set up for Wednesday night in San Francisco. The Giants will send out rookie Madison Bumgarner against the Phills' Joe Blanton.

Bumgarner has been awesome down the stretch, and pitched very well in his start vs. Atlanta in the DS, and once again, like with the rest of the starting pitchers in this playoff rotation, I have complete confidence in the kid. The Phillies sport that left-handed heavy lineup, so the fact that Bumgarner throws left-handed is just icing on the cake. Now, the Giants can't take Blanton lightly, and they should know that by now. He's made the Giants look foolish on more than 1 occasion, and has turned in some gritty performances during the postseason in the past. Still though, it's the first pitcher the Giants will be facing that isn't some sort of all-star (Hamels, Oswalt, Hudson, Hanson) Cy Young winner (Halladay), or some legendary postseason performer (Derek Lowe), and they should have they're shot to really get that offense going.

That lineup will have another new look in it Wednesday as well, as Pablo Sandoval get's his first NLCS start. Sandoval has had plenty of time to work things out, so I'm really hoping and expecting big things out of him. As I said very early in this series, he could really be an offensive catalyst, in the same mold as Cody Ross, Pat Burrell and Buster Posey have all been, if he can just get going. People seem to forget 2008 and 2009 so easily. I'm pretty convinced 2010 was just and "off year" for the Panda, and this is his new shot. Either way, I think Mike Fontenot was starting to lose some confidence (not only offensively, but defensively too), and with Uribe hurting, the Giants really didn't have another option anyway... Outside of Sandoval, Rowand will be in their for his 2nd consecutive start in center, and again, Renteria will be at short and leading off once again. The Giants' finally got a little something going with the top of their lineup on Tuesday, and although Renteria isn't necessarily your prototypical leadoff guy, he has the postseason experience over Torres and maybe better suited for the top of the lineup in this atmosphere anyway. Still found it surprising that Boch didn't just move Torres down in the lineup though. I know Rowand played a nice game yesterday and came up with a big double, but he did k twice after that, and I really liked this match-up for Torres (1-3 with 1 hr career vs. Blanton).
The Giants Baseball Blog


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