Phillies/Giants series preview

I JUST MET A GIRL NAMED MARIIIIA AND SUDDENLY THAT NAME ... WILL NEVER BE THE SAME ... TO MEEEEEEEE - Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

If you want cute, check out this Giants/Phillies series preview from 2011. In no particular order:

  • An amusing idea that Carlos Beltran was going to save the offense singlehandedly
  • Early entomology-related Hunter Pence jokes
  • Cheap shots at Aaron Rowand
  • The idea that the Phillies and Giants were blood rivals

I've used that "blood rivals" term a lot over the past couple years -- occasionally to describe what the A's most certainly are not, and more recently to talk about the Cardinals. But it was also a thing with the Phillies as recently as two years ago. After they signed Cliff Lee, there was a tendency among insecure Phillies and Giants fans to whip out their respective rotations and measure them right in front of everyone. The Giants partisans used to mention Jonathan Sanchez in the same breath as the rest of the other pitchers! It was a different time, man, a different time.

But it wasn't that long ago. And that's why the Phillies bum me out. There are franchises that are almost always good. The Cardinals lost the best hitter in baseball before last season, and they didn't give a damn. The Braves had a couple of down years out of the last 20, but they're back to being perennial contenders. The Yankees are starting Chris Stewart, Chris Speier, and Chris Gwynn right now, and they're still contending. That's how it works for them.

The Phillies were good, then they were good and old, then they were middling, old, and broken. Now Roy Halladay is likely out for a long time with shoulder problems. There was at least a scintilla of hope that the Phillies would recover from last year's injury-riddled mess, and that Halladay would bounce back and Ryan Howard and Chase Utley would return to past glories. Instead … nope. They aren't the Astros or Cubs. It's not a bad team. But with Halladay out (and awful before that) it seems like the Phillies are well past the time when you would just expect them to contend before you even took a look at their roster. It's been that way for a year, but it's really obvious now.

They're baseball's Ghost of Christmas Future, rattling chains and moaning totally unsexy moans. They're a reminder that what the Cardinals, Yankees, and Braves have is the exception. Almost everyone else has to deal with lean years and fat years, and the change can happen at any moment.

This isn't a note to say, "Gee, maybe someday the Giants will be as bad as the Phillies!", but rather a note to say that the storm can come at any time for any team. The Phillies were going to win 115 games in 2011 before a late-season dip. And in 2012, they were going to be just as good. It took about two months to get used to the idea that they weren't. So the worry isn't about "someday," it's about the next two months. Always and forever, every dynasty is about two months, three injuries, and four disappointments away from imploding.

And here come the Phillies, total jerks, who relish in reminding us of this.

It would be one thing if they were totally awful, and us Giants fans could count on a few easy wins. But they're not that bad! They have Cliff Lee, at least. He's probably going to make the Giants look like fools. So the Phillies aren't just making the Giants think bad thoughts; they can also do bad things to the Giants. They're like a college buddy moving from weed to bath salts after graduation, and they somehow got your spare key when you were on vacation a couple years after that. They can still mess you up.

They aren't rivals anymore, though. They're just another team, now. That escalated quickly.

Hitter to watch
Experiment time! After Yuniesky Betancourt was the Hitter to Watch in the Brewers series, he went bananas and won a bunch of games against the Giants. Because some men just want to watch the world burn, I'm curious to see if this will happen again.

Delmon Young is the worst. Can't hit, can't field. Can't run. Nasty disposition. He is a 51-year-old Andres Galarraga with a personality disorder. He should not be starting, yet somehow he is.

Do your worst, baseball gods.

/rips open shirt, buttons flying everywhere

/thumps chest with manic bravado

COME ON, RIGHT HERE. GIVE IT TO ME RIGHT HERE, BASEBALL GODS

Pitcher to watch
Jonathan Pettibone has a good Giants-killer name. Just seems like one of those dinks who uses plus command to harass the Giants for 76 pitches through seven innings. His name also sounds like Jonathan Papelbon if you're drunk.

He also uses Twitter as if it were a newfangled search engine.

That's okay. I use Google as a place where I type in random ideas while I'm pooping, so it works the other way, too.

Prediction
Someone will link to this hilarious video of the Phillie Phanatic spraying someone with silly string, and we'll all share a good laugh.

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