Philadelphia Phillies (57-48) at Florida Marlins (53-52)
Roy Halladay (12-8, 2.21 ERA) vs. Sean West (0-o, 0.00 ERA)
Time: 7:10, Sun Life Stadium
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 89
Day One of Life Without Ryan Howard takes place for the Phillies tonight, as they take their talents to South Beach for the first of three games against the Florida Marlins. Howard, as you know, is hardly the first Phillie to suffer the indignity of injury this season. Let’s put it this way: the Phillies broke camp with 13 position players, of whom 6 have spent time on the DL, plus Howard, who may be heading there soon. Until then, Howard is one of only eight players to spend the first 105 games of the season on the Phillies’ 25-man active roster. That’s right: Howard, Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez, Cole Hamels, Danys Baez, David Herndon, Jose Contreras, and tonight’s starter, Roy Halladay.
Halladay, of course, is making his first visit to the city where the heat is on all night on the beach ’til the break of dawn since he retired 27 consecutive Marlins on May 29. Sean West, making his first start of the season, will oppose the cutter-happy Coloradan. I’ll admit that when I saw “S. West” scheduled to start for Florida, I thought that Shane West had finally found work after leaving the cast of ER. Sean West is a 6-foot-8 lefty (seriously, with him, Andrew Miller, Chris Volstad and Josh Johnson, you’d think the Marlins were planning to leave for the NBA or something) with a fastball and slider that aren’t as hard as his size would suggest, plus a changeup. In 20 starts last year, he posted a 4.79 ERA and a 4.93 xFIP.
On the other side of the proverbial ball, the Marlins are enjoying some success, despite the trade of corner man Jorge Cantu, injuries to John Baker and Chris Coghlan, and the relatively poor showing this season from Hanley Ramirez. Dan Uggla has 23 home runs and isn’t nearly as bad defensively as he used to be, and 20-year-old rookie right fielder Mike Stanton is starting to break out of the slump he was mired in when he was first promoted. The difference between West and Halladay is vast, but these Phillies have shown a remarkable degree of ingenuity in finding ways to lose, particularly when the Doc is on call.
Phillies Lineup: Rollins SS, Ibanez LF, Polanco 3B, Werth CF, Francisco RF, Ruiz C, Ransom 1B, Valdez 2B, Halladay P
Your gameday beer: Stone Brewing Co. Arrogant Bastard Ale
Today, August 3, is Tom Brady’s 33rd birthday, and in his honor, we have a beer that’s right up his alley–Arrogant Bastard Ale by Stone Brewing Co. This beer is like Santa Claus–big, red, tons of fun, and sort of hard to get down the chimney. Stone Brewing’s website questions the drinker’s ability to handle a libation such as this. At 7.2% ABV, this is a beer for those who aren’t screwing around, and might be a little too heavy (both in taste and alcohol content) to drink all night long. But if you want a tasty start to your evening, you could do worse.– By Michael