New York Mets (28-41) at Philadelphia Phillies (35-38)
It’s been a month since Chase Utley has played meaningful baseball after straining his oblique on May 21.
That changes tonight. At long last, the Phillies second baseman is back, and it couldn’t come at a better time. Inconsistency has plagued the Phillies offense and second base has been a problem area. While Utley has been out, Phillies second sackers have hit a putrid .179 with a .250 OBP and just one extra base hit (stats courtesy of Corey Seidman). Perhaps Utley can provide some stability at the position. He was hitting .272/.339/.475 before landing on the DL.
Speaking of inconsistency, Cole Hamels is on the mound for tonight. While many of Hamels’s issues this season can be traced back to bad run support (he’s currently tied for sixth worse in baseball in run support), he hasn’t been his usual dominant self either. If you’re a fan of advanced stats, his xFIP currently sits at 3.60. So progression can be expected. Here’s the bad news: The Mets seem to have Hamels’s number. His 4.20 ERA against them is the second worst for any NL opponent, behind only the Astros (who now reside in the AL, but were an NL team for all of Hamels’s starts against them).
On the other hand, the Phils have owned the Mets so far this year, so maybe things will balance out. For only the sixth time this year, the Phillies have their projected everyday lineup playing.
Lineup: Rollins SS, Utley 2B, Young 3B, Howard 1B, Brown LF, Young RF, Revere CF, Ruiz C, Hamels P.
Gameday Beer: Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy
So it’s the first day of summer, and this selection from Leinenkugel is my absolute favorite summertime beer. If there’s a better summer shandy out there, I haven’t found it yet. Like a refreshing glass of lemonade, this craft brew, infused with lemons, will cool you off on even the hottest of days. It’s sort of like a Mike’s Hard Lemonade, except way less sugary, and still with a prominent beer taste. In other words, it’s like a Mike’s Hard Lemonade, except it doesn’t suck. Give it go. -RD