Two-and-a-half hours before game time here in San Francisco, where a creepy fog has everything covered in a sort of hazy mist. Beyond the outfield wall, the bay is invisible behind the white. The sun is supposed to come out this afternoon, with highs forecast to be right around 70 degrees. This is actually the nice time of year in San Francisco. When the Phillies usually visit here in the regular season, the temperature sits in the 50's and unprepared visitors from the East Coast are forced to scramble to the nearest Gap or Banana Republic in search of outerwear.
The biggest pre-game news here is an expected bit:
Torres was one of the Giants top offensive performers in the regular season, hitting .268 with an .823 OPS, 16 home runs and 26 stolen bases. Against the Phillies during the regular season, he was 6-for-23 with three doubles, a home run, two stolen bases and four RBI.
During the playoffs, though, Torres has struggled. He enters Game 2 just 3-for-25 with no extra base hits and 12 strikeouts in the postseason, including 1-for-9 with six strikeouts in the first two games of this NLCS.
Torres' benching makes way for former Phillie Aaron Rowand to make his first start of the postseason. Rowand's numbers have dropped in each of the first three years of the five-year, $60 million contract he signed with the Giants after leaving the Phillies in 2007.
Rowand hit just .230 with a .281 on base percentage and .659 OPS in 357 plate appearances this season. Rowand had a career year with the Phillies in 2007, hitting .309 with an .889 OPS and 27 home runs while manning center field. In the three seasons since his departure, the 32-year-old has hit .257 with a .723 OPS and 39 home runs for San Francisco.
The Phillies will field the same line-up they ran out in Game 2, with Chase Utley batting second and Placido Polanco batting third.
Manuel made the prove to split up Utley and Ryan Howard prior to the start of Game 2. The primary purpose is to force the Giants to either make a pitching change or use a lefty reliever against a righty hitter in the later stages of a game, rather than allowing that reliever (the Giants two primary ones are Javier Lopez and Jeremy Affeldt) to face the Phils' two lefty sluggers back-to-back.
In Howard's last 11 postseason at-bats against lefty relievers, he is 0-for-11 with nine strikeouts. His last hit against a lefty reliever came in last year's World Series when he connected on an RBI double against Phil Coke.
In Utley's last 11 postseason at-bats against lefty relievers, he is 1-for-11 with three strikeouts, two walks, a hit by pitch, and a home run.
Today's Phillies' lineup:
- Shane Victorino, CF
- Chase Utley, 2B
- Placido Polanco, 3B
- Ryan Howard, 1B
- Jayson Werth, RF
- Jimmy Rollins, SS
- Raul Ibanez, LF
- Carlos Ruiz, C
- Cole Hamels, P
Also, the Giants will start former Phillie Aaron Rowand in centerfield. Here is the Giants' lineup.
- Edgar Renteria, SS
- Freddy Sanchez, 2B
- Buster Posey, C
- Pat Burrell, LF
- Cody Ross, RF
- Aubrey Huff, 1B
- Juan Uribe, 3B
- Aaron Rowand, CF
- Matt Cain, RHP