The good news is, rain shouldn’t be much of a factor tonight as the Phillies look for a sweep. Even better news; the Phillies are looking for a sweep of the Atlanta Braves, something that hasn’t happened all season.The Braves and Phillies are the only two teams who have not been swept in a series of three games or more this year.
Roy Oswalt takes the ball and people aren’t so much worried about the stats as they are the velocity and location of his pitches. He has been somewhat shaky since returning from the DL, but signs are point toward a full recovery, always a good sign. Charlie Manuel said earlier today he wants to see seven innings from Oswalt, over 100 pitches, and crispness of his pitches. I would love to see him hit 94 on that fastball a few times, to show he is indeed 100 percent.
Brandon Beachy will look to stop the sweep and presents a challenge. Not only is he fast becoming a top-of-the-rotation hurler for Atlanta – more out of necessity due to the absence of their top two pitchers, Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson – but he’s also a guy who has been so consistent as of late. Beachy as thrown at least five innings and surrendered at most four earned runs in each of his last eight starts. Not bad for a kid.
But the Phillies have had plenty of success against him. Beachy is 0-3 with a 4.50 ERA against them in his short career.
Beyond the pitching matchup, the Phils can put a stake in the hearts of the Braves for good with a demoralizing sweep. The magic number can go from 14 to 12 tonight with a win. With a win, it would be a 10 1/2 game advantage in the division. Wow.I keep thinking of the video game Mortal Kombat and famous line “Finish Him!” It applies here because the Phils can do just that.
And, finally, the Phillies were denied their protest by MLB stemming from the game against the Marlins on Sunday. You know the play.
Lineup: Victorino CF, Polanco 3B, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Pence RF, Ibanez LF, Ruiz C, Martinez SS, Oswalt SP
Your gameday beer: Sierra Nevada Torpedo
A bold, bountiful American IPA with a citrus, pine, and herbal character to it. With all IPA’s comes some strength, and Torpedo follows that trend. Its Bitterness Unit is 65, rather high (to compare, the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a 37) a pungent. With that said, it’s a strong, tasty beer that will make your hair stand up as the Phillies do much the same tonight. In the kitchen, pair this bold beer with the bold flavors of Jambalaya. – By Pat