Giants hoping for another strong effort from Blach vs. Phillies

Ty Blach is coming off his best start of the season. The San Francisco Giants could use another strong outing from the left-hander as they try to avoid a sweep against the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday afternoon.

The Phillies have won the first three games of the series at Citizens Bank Park. They’ll try to make it four in a row in an afternoon matinee.

Philadelphia outscored the Giants 26-5 in the three games and has hit eight home runs against the San Francisco pitching staff. The Phillies were 11-3 winners on Wednesday night as Carlos Santana drove in five runs and Odubel Herrera extended his on-base streak to 38 games.

“It’s great. The team is playing good, especially at home. We feel more comfortable,” Santana, who is 5-for-14 in the series, told NBC Sports Philadelphia. “We have to keep it up and stay focused. We’ll take it day-to-day and see what happens.”

Blach (3-3, 3.60 ERA) gave up only one earned run in 7 2/3 innings against the Atlanta Braves in his latest outing last Saturday. He worked around seven hits and did not walk any batters in his longest start of the season.

“I knew if I just made some quality pitches early in the count, I could try to get some really good contact and try to get the guys back in the dugout and keep the momentum on our side,” Blach told mlb.com after the start.

Blach, 27, has a 2.89 ERA in his last three starts — all of which have been Giants’ wins.

He’s 1-1 with a 3.77 ERA and 1.186 WHIP lifetime in two starts against the Phillies. Both of those appearances came in 2017, and one went much better than the other. Blach threw a complete-game shutout with four strikeouts on June 2, 2017, in Philadelphia.

Right-hander Vince Velasquez will be on the mound Thursday for the Phillies.

Velasquez (2-4, 5.14) allowed just one run on one hit in five innings against the Washington Nationals during his last start. Velasquez, who had a 7.98 ERA in his previous three starts before last Saturday, walked four and struck out four against the Nationals.

“Right from the get-go I felt like I was in control all the way,” Velasquez told mlb.com. “I keep mentioning slowing the game down and right off the bat it’s how I felt. Those walks happen, I should do a better job of putting them away, the fastball was pretty alive today, it was working. Sometimes you’ve got to just throw it over the middle and see what happens.”

The Phillies are looking for their fourth sweep of the season. Two of their first three sweeps have come at Citizens Bank Park, where they are 14-5.

The Giants will fall back to .500 if the Phillies complete the sweep, and a four-game losing streak would match the team’s longest of the season.