04/25/10 8:34 PM ET
Tough pitching on tap for Giants-Phillies
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
In between, expect three games with strong pitching, timely hitting and an old-fashioned game of "our pitcher is better than your pitcher" among fans as the Giants play host to the Phillies starting Monday at AT&T Park.
Halladay will start Monday against San Francisco's Jonathan Sanchez. Lincecum will take the mound Wednesday in the finale.
So far, Halladay's trek into the National League has been a success. In four NL starts, he already has thrown one shutout and one complete game. He has walked just three batters, struck out 28 and has already made history.
He is one of just three pitchers to start 4-0 with an ERA under 1.00 ERA in his first four starts with a team. Fernando Valenzuela (Dodgers in 1981) and Cliff Lee (Phillies in 2009) are the others.
Want more? He is 6-0 with a 0.53 ERA in his past six starts, dating to last season with Toronto, and that stretch includes four complete games and three shutouts. He is 8-2 with a 1.21 ERA in his past 10 starts, including six complete games and shutouts against the Yankees, Red Sox, Mariners and Braves.
In his last start, nobody ever warmed up in the bullpen.
"They were all down there eating peanuts with the fans," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
Halladay's next task won't be an easy one. The Giants beat the Cardinals twice in three games during the last three days to hand St. Louis its first series loss of the season. Including Sunday's 2-0 win by the Cardinals, the Giants still outscored the Cardinals, 6-3.
"If I remember correctly when we went in there last year they didn't have any trouble scoring runs [they scored 17 in a four-game series July 30-Aug. 2]," Manuel said. "I think we won one out of four. Lee pitched a big game for us. At home we got them two out of three. But they scored runs on us."
Sanchez also has momentum on his side. He tossed a one-hitter in a 1-0 loss to San Diego in his last start, marking the Giants' first loss in 24 one-hit efforts since the franchise moved to San Francisco in 1958. The Puerto Rican pitcher struck out 10 against the Padres, his second consecutive double-digit total.
He's also showed poise on the mound. In the second inning against San Diego, Sanchez walked the bases loaded, but struck out the side.
"I'm throwing any pitch on any count," Sanchez said, explaining his success. "Before, I'd throw fastballs 90 percent of the time."
Phillies pitchers on the mend
Brad Lidge (knee and elbow surgery) and Joe Blanton (strained oblique) are both slated to make their next rehab assignments at Double-A Reading. Lidge will pitch an inning Monday and Blanton will get the start Wednesday.
Giants injury watch
Second baseman Freddy Sanchez could be ready to rejoin the Giants in two weeks. ... Juan Uribe, who was out of Sunday's lineup because of tightness in his right elbow, said he needs "a couple of more days" before returning to the lineup. An MRI taken Sunday morning showed no significant problems, but he's bothered by throwing.
Who likes facing the Phillies? Maybe Sanchez does. Ryan Howard is 3-for-12 with six strikeouts against the left-handed pitcher. Chase Utley is 1-for-8 with a home run, Shane Victorino is 2-for-9 and Jayson Werth is 0-for-7.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.