– The Phillies had the best record in baseball last season, but the Giants beat them in six games in the NLCS. Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and the rest of the Giants pitchers held the Phillies to a .216 average and 20 runs.
– The Phillies have the best record in baseball this season and have won 11 of their last 12 series. The only series they lost since losing two of three to Seattle in mid-June? The Giants last week at Citizens Bank Park.
That makes this four-game series at AT&T Park especially intriguing.
“They’re not in our heads,” Charlie Manuel said last week. “I don’t think so. Really, I don’t think so at all.”
I can’t get inside the Phillies’ heads, but I’ve got to think losing to San Francisco this week would put the Giants in their heads before a potential October showdown. That’s why I think Manuel tried to downplay the greatness of Lincecum and Cain last week.
You remember those comments, right?
“You say they’re great pitchers,” Manuel said. “To me, I don’t know how great they are. I think as they move on into their careers, there’s the longevity part and things like that. I think that’s when the greatness might come by. This is a consistent game. When you say somebody is great … tonight I saw 90 fastball, 92 at the best. I saw a good changeup. I saw a breaking ball. I saw a cutter. Good pitching, but at the same time we can beat that. I’ve seen us do that.”
I think Manuel was trying to pump up his players more than say Lincecum and Cain aren’t good. What’s he supposed to say?
Boy, those two are unhittable. Hope we don’t face them in the postseason because we’ve got no shot.
“I think we can get ‘em, if you want to know the truth,” Manuel said. “I know we can get ‘em. It’s just a matter of us putting it together and for us to play the right way.”
They have a chance to do that tonight.