Atlanta Braves (86-65) at Philadelphia Phillies (90-61)
Mike Minor (3-1, 5.84 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (19-10, 2.49 ERA)
Time: 7:05, Citizens Bank Park
Weather: Clear, 66
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Four up with 11 to play. The Phillies can take a commanding five game lead in the National League East tonight with a win behind Roy Halladay. Atlanta is going to get sick of seeing aces real quick.
Halladay wants to join some elite company in Phillies history this evening. With a victory, he’ll get his 20th, putting him in a class with Steve Carlton, Chris Short, and Robin Roberts as the only pitchers since 1917 to have 20 wins or more for the club. Quite an honor.
Atlanta, in their quest for a playoff berth, is countering with 22-year old rookie Mike Minor. You’d think they would have set up the rotation in a way that would make this a series, but the Phillies have a clear advantage right now. As Charlie Manuel likes to say, it’s all about the here and now, he won’t look ahead and neither will the lot of these guys.
In his pre-game presser, he talked highly of Wilson Valdez. The 32-year old shortstop has done an admirable job of filling in for Jimmy Rollins, no matter how depressing his 19 double-plays are. As Rollins continues to heal slowly – there is no timetable yet for his return, but Manuel did say he’s getting better – Valdez will be called upon keep the defense in order. Can’t heap enough praise onto him.
Today’s lineup: Victorino CF, Polanco 3B, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Werth RF, Ibanez LF, Ruiz C, Valdez SS, Halladay P
Your gameday beer: Wild Goose Pumpkin Patch
This Maryland-based fall brew was ranked among the 10 best pumpkin beers by beerinfo.com, and tis the season. Beer Advocate gives it a solid B rating, so this is a fine brew to pick up while you enjoy the autumn breeze flowing through the open windows. Nose and flavors consist of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, toasted grains, some sweet malt. Your usual pumpkin ale spice profile, but a tad muted. Makes it slightly easier to drink than Punkin Ale by Dogfish, in my opinion. - Pat Gallen