Phillies-Giants: What you need to know

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Phillies-Giants: What you need to know

Phillies (5-5) at San Francisco Giants (4-6)10:15 p.m. on TCN

The Phillies won the first leg of a 10-game road trip by beating the Giants, 5-2, on Monday night as Roy Halladay outdueled Tim Lincecum. Get ready for the middle game of a three-game set in San Francisco with our scouting report.

Starting Pitchers
Joe Blanton (1-1, 2.35 ERA) makes his second start of the season after previously losing an outing in relief. Blanton cruised last Thursday, allowing one run on three hits to the Marlins over seven innings. Blantons fastball was sharp against Miami, averaging 90.4 miles per hour, a full mile per hour more than his career average.

For the Giants, Madison Bumgarner makes his third start coming off of a terrific outing at Coors Field. The 25-year-old lefty, who signed a six-year extension Monday, struggled in his first start in Arizona, allowing nine baserunners, two homers and four runs over just four innings. Bumgarner bounced back to limit the Rockies to one run over 7 13 last Thursday.

Previous games
The Phillies scored four runs in the first inning Monday to defeat Lincecum and win their fourth game in the last five meetings at AT&T Park. Prior to that, the Phils had gone 3-7 in their last 10 in San Fran.

Halladay didnt have his best stuff he walked three batters for only the fifth time in 68 starts with the Phillies but still lasted eight innings to pick up his third win. Jonathan Papelbon faced four batters in the ninth to pick up his third save in as many chances.
Head-to-head
The Phillies are 11-10 in 21 regular-season meetings with the Giants since the start of 2009. Last year, the Phils won the season series for the first time since 2006.

Blanton has faced the Giants twice as a member of the Phillies, once in 2009 and once in 2010. He allowed two runs over seven innings in the first start, and two runs over 6 13 in the second. Blanton walked none and struck out 12 over those 13 13 innings.

The pitcher Giants fans refer to as MadBum has made just one regular-season start against the Phils. Bumgarner struck out nine Phillies over eight innings last August, but the two second-inning runs he allowed were the difference as the Giants ran into the Cliff Lee August buzzsaw. Lee shut San Fran out and went 5-0 with a 0.45 ERA in the month. (...And it wasn't even his best month of the season.)

Angel Pagan, who figures to lead off Tuesday night, is 6 for 12 off Blanton with two home runs.

Minus Ryan Howard, the Phillies are 7 for 24 (.292) off Bumgarner. Hunter Pence and John Mayberry hit back-to-back solo home runs off Bumgarner last season at spacious, windy AT&T Park.

Whos hot
Shane Victorino went 2 for 4 on Monday to extend his hitting streak to nine games. Victorino, one of four Phillies batting .300 or higher, has a .316 clip on the season.

Laynce Nix almost certainly wont start Tuesday, as his struggles against lefties are Greg Dobbsian, but he is 2 for his last 5 with a pair of doubles to drive in three runs.

Whos not
The answer is still Placido Polanco, who went 1 for 4 on Monday with a first-inning double that should have been a routine flyout. Polanco continues to make weak contact only five of his 30 balls put into play have been line drives.

Storylines
A win would put the Phillies above .500 for the first time since the season-opener. It would also clinch their second straight series win in San Francisco.

A righty-heavy lineup expect to see John Mayberry in left field and Ty Wigginton at first base could find success against Bumgarner. Right-handers have hit .271 with a .716 OPS off Bumgarner in his career. Lefties are at .236 with a .614 OPS.

Pay close attention to Blantons fastball. It was by far his best pitch against the Marlins, saving 1.7 runs in the game according to Fangraphs. A key in that start was not overusing the fastball early in the count. Blanton threw it on the first pitch of an at-bat just 52 percent of the time.

Sound off
Which Phillie would you most like to see have a productive game at the plate Tuesday night?

E-mail Corey Seidman at cseidman@comcastsportsnet.com

Phillies-Mets 5 things: Is Phil Klein ready to stop 5-game skid?

Phillies-Mets 5 things: Is Phil Klein ready to stop 5-game skid?

Phillies (70-90) vs. Mets (86-74)
1:05 p.m. on FOX

The Phillies continue to stumble towards the finish line with their fifth straight loss and seventh in eight games. Phil Klein makes a spot start out of the bullpen for the Phils while the Mets turn to Bartolo Colon in a nationally televised game.

Here are five things to watch on Saturday afternoon.

1. Mets playoff update
With Friday's win, the Mets cannot be eliminated this weekend. Their magic number for a playoff spot is just one.

That means that if they win one more game or the St. Louis Cardinals lose a game to the Pirates in the next two days, the Mets clinch a spot in the NL wild card game. If the Phillies are able to beat the Mets back-to-back, the Cardinals win both games and the San Fransico Giants win at least one game, the Mets will be forced to play in a tiebreaker on Monday.

Got all that?

Because the Mets won four of seven against the Giants this year, they only need one more win to clinch homefield advantage in the NL wild card game. That means that if they win on Saturday, they'll have the ability to skip Noah Syndergaard, the scheduled starter for Sunday, and have him pitch in the wild card game. 

Therefore, a win by the Phillies on Saturday that isn't accompanied by both a Cardinals and Giants loss would likely force the Mets to pitch Syndergaard before 
the wild card game.

2. Life after Howard
Ryan Howard's option for 2017 will undoubtably be declined by the Phillies after the season, meaning of course that Howard is in his final two games in a Phillies uniform.

But what exactly comes next?

It's easy enough to say Tommy Joseph. Joseph has been extremely impressive in his first season in the majors. The now-25 year old broke into the majors in a big way and carries a .257/.308/.505 line into Saturday over his first 347 big league plate appearances. He has 21 home runs and 47 RBI. 

But there are reasons to be concerned. The big one is his injury history. Joseph dealt with concussion issues that moved him to first from behind the plate. While it seems to be behind him, it does raise a question with his durability. He also struck out in over 20 percent of his plate appearances this year and will need to be better in that regard.

Furthermore, it will be interesting to see how he handles making the team out of spring training next year and manning first base every day. The term 'sophomore slump' exists for a reason because plenty of players take a step back in Year 2.

It doesn't mean Joseph can't be relied on as the future at first base. Far from it. But how the Phillies provide support for him during the inevitable peaks and valleys will be key to his long-term takeover of the first base job.

3. Klein makes spot start 
The Phillies chose not to give Jake Thompson one more start and instead will hand Klein the penultimate start of the season. 

Klein made a spot start for the Phils on Aug. 3 vs. the Giants after Aaron Nola was shut down for the season. The 27-year-old righty held his own for five innings, allowing four runs in a 5-4 Phillies win, although he didn't factor in the decision.

Things haven't gone so well for Klein since he was recalled earlier in September. Klein dominated Triple A with a 1.51 ERA in 14 appearances (10 starts), but he's appeared out of the bullpen twice for the Phils in the last week. He gave up three runs and five baserunners while getting one out in the 17-0 loss on Sunday.

He followed that up with a four-out, two-run outing. He's thrown just 52 pitches and 24 strikes in those games, meaning he's lacking control and isn't fully stretched out. It's hard to blame Klein for his rust: He hadn't pitched in 16 days before Sunday.

Expect Klein's outing to be somewhat shortlived and this game to be a bullpen affair.

4. Big Bart in a big game
Believe it or not, but the oldest member of the Mets' rotation this year has been the healthiest.

Colon, who turned 43 in May, has made 32 starts, his most in a season since he won the American League Cy Young in 2005. He has started every fifth day for the Mets this year and even made one start on short rest. Meanwhile, Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz, all under 30, were lost to arm injuries for the season.

The righty known as Big Bart had a streak of five straight quality starts until his last start on Sept. 26. It was the Marlins' first game after Jose Fernandez's tragic death and the Fish knocked Colon around for seven runs while he recorded just seven outs.

Colon only threw 47 pitches in that game, so he should be completely fresh today. The big man carries an impressive 3.42 ERA and 14-8 record into Saturday, made even more remarkable considering he began in baseball in 1997.

5. This and that
• Howard has just six hits off Colon in 35 plate appearances, but he has made them count. He has three home runs and eight RBI. One of the home runs came earlier this season while the other two came in 2008.

• The Mets have turned up their offense in September, averaging 5.22 runs per game and going 17-10. The Phillies have been just about the opposite, going 10-17 and scored just 4.07 runs per game. 

• The Phillies are in the midst of their fourth losing streak of at least five games this year. They won't have a chance to eclipse their nine-game losing streak from Jun. 14-22.

• At 70-90, the Phillies are 20 games under .500 for the first time all season. They currently have the eighth worst record in baseball. The worst draft pick they can finish with is No. 9 overall. 

Best of MLB: Darvish stars as Rangers beat Rays 3-1 and clinch home field

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Best of MLB: Darvish stars as Rangers beat Rays 3-1 and clinch home field

ARLINGLTON, Texas -- Yu Darvish looked playoff-ready with a season-high 12 strikeouts in six innings as the Texas Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 on Friday night and clinched home-field advantage throughout the postseason.

The Rangers can be tied by only the Cleveland Indians and they own the tie-breaker by winning the teams' season series. The AL owns home-field advantage in the World Series thanks to its win in the All-Star Game.

Darvish (7-5) allowed one run, three hits and one walk. His 28th career game of double-digit strikeouts is the second-most in a pitcher's first 100 major league starts, topped only by Dwight Gooden (31). Darvish will likely start Game 2 of the Division Series following Cole Hamels.

Shin-Soo Choo returned to Texas' lineup after missing 39 games with a fractured left forearm. Choo pulled a single to right in his first plate appearance since Aug. 15 and went 1 for 4.

Matt Andriese (8-8) gave up three runs and seven hits, including solo home runs to Carlos Beltran and Rougned Odor (see full story). 

Cabrera hits 2 HRs, Tigers move up in playoff race, beat Braves
ATLANTA -- Miguel Cabrera hit two home runs, Ian Kinsler and Justin Upton also connected and the Detroit Tigers moved up in the playoff race, beating the Atlanta Braves 6-2 Friday night.

The Tigers won their third straight and pulled within a half-game of Toronto for the second AL wild-card spot. The Blue Jays lost at Boston 5-3.

The regular season is scheduled to end Sunday, but the Tigers might need to play beyond that. They were rained out against Cleveland this week and would have to make up that game if it impacts their playoff chances.

Daniel Norris (4-2) gave up one run, five hits, two walks and struck out eight in 6 2/3 innings.

The Braves, playing their final series at Turner Field before moving north to the suburbs next year, had won 10 of 11. Matt Wisler (7-13) was chased in the fifth when James McCann's RBI single made it 5-0 (see full story).

Trumbo hits 47th, Schoop 5 RBIs as Orioles top Yankees 8-1
NEW YORK -- Mark Trumbo hit his major league-leading 47th home run, Jonathan Schoop and Adam Jones also went deep in a six-run fifth inning and the Baltimore Orioles beat the New York Yankees 8-1 in steady rain Friday night to maintain their AL wild-card lead.

Baltimore began the night tied with Toronto for the AL's two wild cards at 87-72, with Detroit 1 1/2 games back and Seattle trailing the Tigers by a half-game.

Trumbo and Jones homered off Michael Pineda (6-12), who started with 3 2/3 hitless innings and suddenly became ineffective.

Schoop tied his career high with five RBIs, hitting a go-ahead, two-run double in the fourth and adding a three-run homer in the fifth against James Pazos -- Baltimore's big league-high 250th home run this season.

Yovani Gallardo (6-8) won for just the second time in nine starts since Aug. 5, allowing two hits, three walks and Mark Teixeira's sacrifice fly in six innings (see full story). 

Ortiz delivers another HR, Red Sox beat Blue Jays 5-3
BOSTON -- Opening his final weekend with yet another game-winning homer, David Ortiz lined a two-run shot into the right-field stands to break a seventh-inning tie and help the Boston Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3 on Friday night.

The AL East champion Red Sox snapped a three-game losing streak and stayed one game ahead of Cleveland in the race for home-field advantage for the playoffs.

The Blue Jays fell one game behind Baltimore in the wild-card race and are now within range of Detroit and Seattle in the fight for the AL's final postseason berth (see full story).