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Cliff Lee Kicks Off Big Series in San Fran

Aug 4, 2011, 7:15 PM EDT

Cliff Lee and the Fightins' kick off a big series out at AT&T Park tonight in chilly San Francisco.

Cliff Lee (10-7, 3.14) wasn’t on the Phillies last year to pitch against the Giants in the NLCS, but he did take on the eventual 2011 Champions of Baseball twice in the World Series. Unfortunately for the Texas Rangers, Lee lost both of those starts including a rough 6 ER effort in only 4.2 innings of work in game one.

But Lee hasn’t always struggled against the Giants, however, including his first ever start as a Phillie back in 2009 when he took a no-hitter into the 6th inning at AT&T Park. He went on to a complete game shutout victory on that day, pretty much making the best first impression a fanbase could ever ask for.

Clifton and the Phillies will take on left-hander Madison Bumgarner (6-10, 3.80) who was one of the guys who played a key role in helping the Giants move on to the Fall Classic last season. He started game four of the NLCS which the Giants went on to win, which gave them a 3-1 series lead. He also later pitched two scoreless innings of relief in the decisive game six.

As for the Phillies new right-handed outfielder brought in specifically to help counter team’s left-handed hurlers? Pence has yet to face Bumgarner.

While the Giants came into Philly last week and took a series from the Phils, they have not been playing great ball since then, including a season-high 5-game losing streak which they finally slapped with a win yesterday over the Diamondbacks.

That said, this four game set still features two teams many expect to be the favorites to represent the NL in the World Series come October.

Oh, and Charlie Manuel and Tim Lincecum have been talking a bit, spicing things up between two teams that have a nice little rivalry going.

Tonight’s Lineup: Jimmy Rollins, Placido Polanco, Shane Victorino, Ryan Howard, Hunter Pence, John Mayberry, Carlos Ruiz, Wilson Valdez, and Cliff Lee.

Don’t worry, Phils fans. Utley is simply getting an off day, according to Jim Salisbury. Remember when we thought Utley was going to get regular off days?

Mad Dog Missing: Ryan Madson is on paternity leave so Scott Mathieson has taken his roster spot.

A very late 10:15 EST start for those of us on the East Coast. But the views of the ballpark in San Fran are so pretty, you’ll want to tune in.