When you’re a team sitting 12 games out of a playoff spot and have officially declared your season over by trading away two main cogs in your lineup, you’re looking for any kind of motivation to get up for a game. Sweeping a first place team that has made it a point to declare you a rival this season is one of those rare instances where motivation won’t be hard to come by. That’s right, tonight the Phillies have a chance to earn a small victory and deliver a little payback by sweeping the Washington Nationals, who have owned them of late.
If you believe this game doesn’t mean anything to the Phils because, for all intents and purposes, their season is over, I’d suggest otherwise. I think getting a sweep here is important to the Phillies, especially since the Nats have bullied them this season. Because of that, expect them to come out playing hard and performing like the game means something. The Phils will be looking to prove they can compete with the Nats over the rest of the season–they have three series left with them after tonight–and a sweep tonight would help set the tone.
Speaking of people with something to prove, Cole Hamels will be the man on the mound tonight. Now, Hamels has done just about everything he can to prove to people that he’s a bona fide ace. However, in his first start after signing his new mega deal, Hamels delivered one of the worst performances of his career–walking a career-high six guys and allowing three earned runs in just five innings. That effort should give Hamels some motivation to pitch particularly well tonight, as he looks to continue proving he’s worth the dough the Phils ponied up. He’s found the right team to do it against. In two starts against the Nats this season, Hamels is 2-0 with an 0.56 ERA. He’s allowed one run in 16 innings.
The Nats counter with Ross Detwiler. Detwiler has been pretty steady this season. Incidentally, he has yet to face the Phillies in 2012. For his career, he’s 1-3 with a 4.45 ERA. Those numbers, of course, were compiled against a vastly different Phillies lineup than the one he’ll face tonight.
Lineup: Rollins SS, Frandsen 3B, Utley 2B, Ruiz C, Wigginton 1B, Mayberry CF, Brown LF, Martinez RF, Hamels P.
Gameday Beer: Kona Brewing Co., Koko Brown
Now that Shane Victorino is in L.A., I figured this would be a good time to dedicate a beer selection to all he did for this team over the last five years. What better beer to do that than Koko Brewing’s Hawaiian signature, the Koko Brown? This brown ale sports a complex taste, but is quite drinkable (If you’re looking to pound them down, this beer is a candidate). What makes it special though is the hint of coconut, which comes from the brewing process. It is truly a summertime beer. If you can procure some pulled pork, shish kabob and some pineapple salsa, make a luau out of it. Mahalo! - By RD