Barry Zito takes the mound looking to lead the Giants to their first road series sweep of the season, and he is coming off seven shutout innings against the Braves in his last start. The Phillies are hoping Joe Blanton will show the same form he had when he held the Dodgers to two earned runs in eight innings last Monday.
The two pitched alongside one another with the A's from 2004-06, and both are coming off first halves that had their share of erratic struggles before their solid second-half debuts, and keeping their momentum going for both of these back-end starters would go a long way in solidifying their respective rotations.
"I don't think there's any doubt in any of our pitchers' minds that we can go seven, eight [innings] consistently," Blanton said after his last start. "Hopefully we can kind of feed off each other. Not really compete with one another, like some people say, but just feed off each other's energy and have good outings, just rack up one good one after another."
In his last start, Blanton fought through a seventh inning in which he allowed back-to-back singles to start the inning before getting out of the jam, and he departed after a perfect eighth inning.
"I still felt like I was throwing the ball really well," Blanton said. "I got a couple pitches up to start the seventh and gave up hits on them, but I felt like I finished the inning strong."
Zito's last outing marked the fourth time this year he has thrown at least seven shutout innings, doubling the total number of such starts he had in the last two seasons combined.
"He's tough. I mean mentally tough," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said after his last start. "He's done a great job for us."
Phillies: Struggles mounting at home
The two losses to the Giants so far this series drop the Phillies to 17-29 at Citizens Bank Park, the worst home record in the National League.
The Phillies are in a seven-game slump at home, and they haven't had a home record below .500 since 2000.
Shane Victorino notched his 1,000th career hit in Saturday's game when he singled to right field in the sixth inning.
Giants: Huff dealing with tendinitis
The Giants announced Saturday that an MRI revealed that Aubrey Huff has patella tendinitis in his right knee.
Huff's latest setback comes while he was with Triple-A Fresno rehabbing his sprained right knee, which he sustained following Matt Cain's perfect game on June 13. The Giants had considered activating Huff on Monday before his latest injury, and there is no timetable yet for his return.
Buster Posey is 16-for-30 (.533) since the All-Star break, and his 13 second-half RBIs are the most in the Majors. He was 4-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs in Saturday's game.
After Saturday's 10-inning affair, the Giants improved to 7-1 in extra-inning games while the Phillies fell to 2-9.
A win Sunday would give the Giants their fourth sweep of the season, and it would be the Phillies' sixth time they have been swept.