Arizona Diamondbacks (68-53) at Philadelphia Phillies (78-41)
Josh Collmenter, RHP (7-7, 3.51 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay, RHP (15-4, 2.51 ERA)
Time: 7:05, Citizens Bank Park
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 74
Media: Twitter and Facebook
After a two-day hiatus due to schedule and rain, the Phillies resume action this evening against the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks, which, even considering that the D-backs have won four division titles and a World Series in their 13-plus seasons of existence, seems a little funny. The Diamondbacks are looking to capitalize on a run of bad luck by the favored San Francisco Giants, who lost Sergio Romo, arguably the best relief pitcher in the National League this season, to the DL, where he could be joined by would-be offensive savior Carlos Beltran. The surviving Giants, meanwhile, face a tough road trip themselves, which they inaugurated by having Brian Wilson blow a 9th-inning lead last night to the Braves.
The D-backs are one of the league’s few remaining feel-good stories, now that the Indians have faltered and Pirates have swooned. Arizona was 6 1/2 games out of first at the end of April, but crawled back to spend all of August either in a virtual dead head for first with San Francisco or a couple games ahead, as they are now. The Diamondbacks are led by one of the best outfields in baseball: MVP candidate Justin Upton, power-speed-strikeout maven Chris Young and defensive whiz Gerardo Parra. All three are solid two-way players under the age of 27, and combined with big years for third baseman Ryan Roberts and catcher Miguel Montero, along with a little duct tape and just enough starting pitching to get by, Arizona has proved itself to be a true playoff contender.
Of course, that upstart contender now has to deal with Roy Halladay, now two days behind schedule to start. In other injury news, the statuses of Cole Hamels and Placido Polanco remain unclear. Hamels’ precautionary MRI showed inflammation behind the shoulder, which, considering the Phillies’ situation in the standings, most likely means he’ll be skipped at least once in the rotation at some point, but whether he’ll miss more time than that is unknown.
Polanco took infield practice today under the watchful eye of the Phillies training staff, but is not in the lineup this evening. Michael Martinez will take his spot, but otherwise, the lineup is as normally constituted.
For those of you planning on attending the game in person, the Harry Kalas statue is to be dedicated this evening before the first pitch. Furthermore, our own Pat Gallen will be participating in a celebrity softball game for Philly sports media personalities pregame. I’ve never seen him play softball before, but if the whiffle ball exhibition he put on at the Fightins Tailgate is any indication, it’ll be something to see.
Lineup: Rollins SS, Victorino CF, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Pence RF, Ibanez LF, Ruiz C, Martinez 3B, Halladay P
Your Gameday Beer-Brooklyn Pennant Ale ’55
My biggest issue with this beer is that it’s obviously a homage to the world champion Dodgers of 1955, considering the name, the labeling (blue and white with red trim), and the baseball-themed variant of the Brooklyn Brewery logo. With that said, why is there a pinstriped motif on the label? The Dodgers, to my knowledge, have never worn pinstriped uniforms, least of all in their championship year of 1955. Anyway, this is an easy-drinking, baseball-themed beer, in honor of our beloved easy-drinking Harry Kalas.-By Michael