Philadelphia Phillies (21-13) at Milwaukee Brewers (15-20)
Joe Blanton, RHP (0-2, 4.97 ERA) vs. Chris Narveson, LHP (3-0, 5.06 ERA)
Time: 4:10 p.m at Miller Park
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 58
In the grand scheme of things, I think we all needed a Phils game like last night’s 9-5 win. The outcome was never really in doubt, and while it lacked the drama of certain other Philadelphia-related sporting events from yesterday, it was a pleasant way to spend an evening. Jamie Moyer, looking waaay too comfortable in the 1980s-era road blues, prevented the Brewers from hitting like Harvey’s Wallbangers even though they were dressed like Harvey’s Wallbangers.
Today, Joe Blanton makes his third start of the year, relieving a previous paucity of portly pitchers in Philadelphia. Blanton has so far not pitched badly, keeping the ball down and not walking very many, but his strikeout rate, even in this small sample size, has dropped far below his rate from last year, which contributed to 2009 being a career year for the righty.
In other news, for all the hand-wringing about the performance of Exxon Wilson Valdez and Paul Hoover, the two managed to drop a combined 3-for-8 with four runs scored last night. With Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Ruiz perhaps only a few days from returning, we’ll see how these two career minor leagues hold up.
The Phils will face 28-year-old lefty Chris Narveson today. A former St. Louis Cardinals prospect, Narveson has bounced between the rotation and the bullpen in parts of three major league seasons. His fastball, which tops out around 90, forces him to rely on three other pitches, a slider, a curve, and a changeup, to get batters out. Narveson, while appearing to be almost unbelievably average on paper, does sport a 3-0 record in three starts and nine relief appearances. We’ll see how that goes.
Tonight’s Lineup: Victorino (CF), Polanco (3B), Utley (2B), Howard (1B), Werth (RF), Ibanez (LF), Valdez (SS), Hoover (C), Blanton (P)
Your Gameday Beer – BrewDog Sink the Bismarck
This one goes out to Paul Hoover, who before resurfacing with the Phillies, served as president of Delta Tau Chi fraternity at Faber College. BrewDog is most famous for its Tactical Nuclear Penguin, a double-cask imperial stout from Scotland, which was, at 32% ABV, reputed to be the strongest beer on Earth. After a German brewery responded with an even stronger beer, those plucky Brits put out Sink the Bismarck, a 41% ABV offering. That’s about the strength of your garden variety vodka. I’ve never had it myself, but to quote Animal House, I anticipate a deeply religious experience. – By Michael