Philadelphia Phillies (2-1) at Houston Astros (0-3)
J.A. Happ, LHP vs. Bud Norris, RHP
Time: 8:05, Minute Maid Park
Weather: Cloudy, 66
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Twitter: Phillies Nation
It wasn’t a sweep like everyone had hoped, but it was a stellar opening series for the Phils nonetheless in Washington. They played sloppy baseball en route to a 6-5 loss yesterday, but hey, anything beats an 0-3 start. That’s where the Astros are right now.
J.A. Happ gets the ball for the first time this season and will look to build off his remarkable rookie campaign in which he went 12-4. Most pundits believe he’s due for a letdown season, but everyone is excited to see if the lefty can bring that sort of consistency to the #4 spot in the rotation for a full year. He gets to kick things off against an anemic Astros offense that managed only six runs in their opening series against the Giants.
For Houston, it’s young righty Bud Norris. He split time last year between Triple-A Round Rock and the majors and did pretty well for himself. The 25-year old can throw some heat, as he sometimes touches 98 on the gun. However, his command is and issue, as noted by his 54 strikeouts and 25 walks in 56 innings a year ago. The Astros are looking for the kid to become a force at the top of the rotation as there isn’t much else pitching wise in Houston.
The Phillies have lit up the scoreboard, as many teams will do this year in Washington. They crossed home 24 times in three games, already the most in baseball to this point. Houston’s pitching staff would seem to offer little resistance to a lineup that is hot from top to bottom. We’ll exclude Raul Ibanez from the hot talk, as he’s got just one hit through his first 11 AB’s. Shane Victorino is starting slow as well; he had just two hits in the series. Luckily for those two, everyone else in the lineup is hitting over .300 to begin. Sweeeet.
Today’s Lineup: Rollins (SS), Polanco (3B), Utley (2B), Howard (1B), Werth (RF), Ibanez (LF), Victorino (CF), Ruiz (C), Happ (P).
Your Gameday Beer – Sam Adams Cherry Wheat and Guinness
Yes, you read that correctly. Both Sam Adams Cherry Wheat and Guinness get the call today. Sources tell me that by mixing the two (although the consistencies are not yet known) the taste is otherworldly. I’ve never actually tried the combo, but it sounds like it has potential. While it may be a bit expensive to run off two cases of each, grab a six pack and try it yourself. I’m hoping I don’t let you down here. If it sucks, at least you have two very good six packs to drink by themselves- By Pat