|July 14: Giants 5, Phillies 3 W: Morris (8-7) L: Lieber (3-7) S: Benitez (11)|
|July 15: Phillies 14, Giants 6 W: Lidle (6-7) L: Lowry (4-6)|
|July 16: Phillies 6, Giants 2 W: Myers (6-3) L: Kline (2-2)|
For more on the Giants, please visit our SBN sister site at McCovey Chronicles
When the present sucks, it's human nature to mentally dwell on the past or future. In the case of the Philadelphia Phillies, however, nearly 10,000 lost ballgames reside in the past, so that's kind of out too. That leaves the future, in the form of more trade rumors swirling around the team than I can remember in 27 years of phandom. When the smoke clears at midnight on August 1, the team might look very different.
In the meantime, there are games to be played, and the unofficial second half of the season begins tonight in San Francisco at Your-Bank-or-Tech-Company's-Name-Here Park where the Phils lock up with the Giants. Felipe Alou's team is surrounded by drama as well, with the ongoing legal troubles of a certain seven-time MVP and alleged steroid user, but they're also in a pennant race: the G-Men begin play tonight 3.5 games out of first place in the NL West and just a game off the wild-card pace. They're also presumably looking for payback after getting swept in Philadelphia back in May. (Remember that?)
But with Bonds's contract up after this year and a very, very old roster--four Giants regulars are 39 or older, with Ray Durham and currently injured Mike Matheny not far behind--a bad couple weeks could impel GM Brian Sabean to sell off parts as well. In that sense, San Fran has more at stake this weekend than the Dead Team Walking. And both clubs could be auditioning talent for the scouts in the stands.
For the Phils, that process starts tonight when erstwhile "ace" Jon Lieber makes his second start since returning from injury. The Yankees and Mets might be suitors for Lieber, who thrived in the Bronx two seasons ago and, of course, was superb down the stretch for the Phillies last season. Despite getting knocked around by guys barely half his age in a series of rehab starts, the veteran righty pitched well last Friday night against Pittsburgh: seven innings, five hits, three runs, two earned. Another possible trade target, Cory Lidle, pitches Saturday; with his contract set to expire after the season and just about $1.5 million left owed to him, Lidle and his consistent mediocrity--5-6 innings, 3-5 runs--could be an appealing target for a contender looking to solidify its rotation.
Then Sunday, Big Man Brett Myers returns. A month ago, the prospect of a Myers-Jason Schmidt matchup would have been pretty exciting; Schmidt, a hard-throwing strikeout machine who keeps the ball in the park, is a pretty good approximation of what Phils phans might have hoped Myers could become. Now, of course, with the wife-beating allegations and, worse, his evident cluelessness about why people were so upset in the first place, I kind of just hope Myers becomes another team's problem. So all three of this weekend's Phils starters might be eye candy for the scouts.
There's always the future. Heard any good trade rumors lately?