On Monday, the Giants visited the White House and met President Obama. That happens when you’re the defending world champions.
The Giants ousted the Phillies in a six-game NLCS last year and then steamrolled the Rangers in five games to capture the World Series.
There’s no guarantee the Phillies will make the trip to Washington next year to celebrate a second world championship in four years. The path to a title is likely to go through the Giants at some point in the postseason.
The Phillies opened a crucial three-game series last night with a 7-2 victory over the Giants. Four different Phillies homered – Raul Ibanez, John Mayberry Jr., Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, who smacked a rare inside-the-park shot to lead off the sixth inning.
Rookie Vance Worley improved to 7-1 with another stellar effort on the mound. Worley tossed his first career complete game and allowed only three hits. Impressive.
“He did a good job, went right at them and was aggressive,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of Worley.
Worley has won his last five starts and became the first Phillies rookie in nearly two years to throw a complete game. J.A. Happ accomplished the feat on Aug. 27, 2009 at Pittsburgh.
“I’m not out there thinking too much,” Worley said. “I’m just going out there pitching.”
Even with all their injuries this season, the Phillies are 65-37 after 102 games, the best record in the major leagues. Will they upgrade their roster before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline? No one knows.
This much is certain: the Phillies are a solid team.
This much is also certain: They have to feel good about themselves following last night’s win over the Giants despite the fact that ace Tim Lincecum was scratched just before the game because of the flu in favor of Barry Zito.
“Getting wins is what it’s all about,” said center fielder Shane Victorino. “To come here and win the first game of this series is very nice. It’s baseball. We’re trying to win every night. You want to go out there and win. It happened to be the Giants. We’ll try to get ‘em again (Wednesday).”