Can the Giants come from behind for a .500 road trip once more?
The San Francisco Giants started the 2021 season by dropping a series against the not very good Seattle Mariners on the road. They salvaged it by taking two of three from an excellent San Diego Padres crew, finding the .500 mark on the road by taking a very circuitous path.
Now they’ll try and do the same thing again. After dropping two of three against the Miami Marlins, the Giants need a series win against the Philadelphia Phillies to stay at that impressive .500 road mark.
Mind you, the Marlins are a bit better than the Mariners, and the Phillies are not nearly as good as the Padres, so the comparison isn’t perfect, but the point remains: if the Giants want to once again head home sporting an even mark on the road, they’ll need an impressive series victory against a talented team.
Maybe they should do exactly that.
Who: San Francisco Giants vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Where: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
When: Monday (4:05 p.m.), Tuesday (4:05 p.m.), and Wednesday (10:05 a.m.)
National broadcasts: Monday and Wednesday (MLB Network, out of market only)
Where they stand
San Francisco Giants
Record: 9-6, 2nd in the NL West
Run differential: +3, T-5th in the NL
Postseason standing: First wild card
Record: 8-7, 2nd in the NL East
Run differential: -2, T-8th in the NL
Postseason standing: 1 game out of the second wild card, and 1 game out of the NL East
Three Giants to watch
Kevin Gausman: Gausman was nothing short of brilliant in his first two starts of the season, but his third was one of his rougher outings as a member of the Giants, as he allowed 5 earned runs — all in the first and second innings. He recovered well though, and he’ll try and keep that going against a potent Phillies offense.
Camilo Doval: Doval looks like he’s here to stay after a spectacular MLB debut on Sunday, when the Giants trusted him in the seventh inning of a 1-0 game, and he responded by setting down the side in order with a pair of strikeouts. If Doval can prove to be an upper echelon reliever at the MLB level, the Giants bullpen will instantly get much more dangerous.
Brandon Belt: Belt is starting to find his form. In the Marlins series he had a trio of hits, with all three going for extra bases (two doubles and a home run). He also drew two walks, and didn’t strike out. Philly is scheduled to use only right-handed starters this series, so Belt should be manning first every day, with ample opportunities to keep pushing the OPS up.
Three Phillies to watch
Andrew McCutchen: McCutchen did not spend a lot of time wearing a Giants jersey, but I think most San Francisco fans have nothing but fond memories of him. He’s not the MVP candidate he once was, but he’s still a good player who is a joy to watch.
Bryce Harper: It is really, really, really hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that this is already Harper’s 10th MLB season. He’s having his best offensive season since 2017, and while that may not be good for the Giants this series, it is good for baseball fans.
The Giants are throwing a lot of righties at Harper, so it’s probably a safe bet that he’ll find a way to put a ball over the fence.
Phillies fans: This will be Gabe Kapler’s first game in Philadelphia since getting fired by the Phillies. He was not the most popular man in the city during his time there, and even with a small number of fans at the park, it wouldn’t be surprising to hear plenty of vitriol get sent in his general direction.