The Phillies take on the division-rival Braves tonight in Atlanta, the first of three they will play at Turner Field this weekend. The Braves are 9.5 games ahead of the Phillies in the standings, and 5 games back of the division-leading Nationals. At this point, the Phillies–who have less than a 1% chance to make the playoffs according to ESPN–could really only hope to play spoilers for the Braves, barring something drastic.
Cole Hamels, who just signed an extension with the Phillies, will take the mound tonight for the first time with his new contract. So far this year, he’s posted an 11-4 record to go along with a 3.23 ERA. He isn’t having his best year, but for the most part, he is getting the job done.
Opposing him will be Ben Sheets, a guy that the Braves signed with minimal expectations, but who has also been quite good for them so far. In his two starts, he has pitched a total of 12 innings, given up just seven hits–and no runs. However, the deciding factor in the game may lie in the hands of Brian McCann, who is hitting .364 against the Phillies this year, to go along with five home runs and 13 runs batted in. If Hamels can shut him down–and that is likely considering that McCann has just three hits in his last 21 at-bats against him–along with the other big lefties in the Braves lineup, the Phils may be able to scratch off a few runs and win the game.
Lineup: Rollins SS, Victorino CF, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Ruiz C, Pence RF, Pierre LF, Fontenot 3B, Hamels P.
Your gameday beer: Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer in a Can
Hell or High Watermelon Wheat is a summer seasonal beer available from April through September by 21st Amendment, and can be yours in six pack cans and on draft. It’s an American wheat beer, which undergoes a traditional secondary fermentation using fresh watermelon, ending in a straw-colored, refreshing beer with a kiss of watermelon aroma and flavor. Haven’t had it yet, but I’ve heard different reviews. If you’re feeling frisky, try it out on another hot, hot day. -Pat Gallen