2011 Gameday

Gameday: Phillies (24-12) at Braves (21-18)

Philadelphia Phillies (24-12) at Atlanta Braves (21-18)

Cole Hamels, LHP (4-2, 2.83 ERA) vs. Brandon Beachy, RHP (1-1, 2.98 ERA)

Time: 7:35, Turner Field
Weather: Chance of thunderstorms, 85
TV: WPHL
Twitter: Phillies Nation

The Phillies renew their rivalry with Atlanta this evening at Turner Field with what promises to be a real doozy of a pitching matchup. Cole Hamels will start his second straight game against the Braves (after a 5-2 loss to Jair Jurrjens on Sunday), and, for the first time in two weeks, Carlos Ruiz will be in the lineup, fresh off his rehab appearance in Clearwater.

Every series is important against Atlanta–even though they are currently third in the division and fourth in the Wild Card race, Coolstandings.com gives the Braves a higher probability of making the playoffs than any NL team other than the Phillies and Reds, who, at 68.7 percent and 66.1 percent respectively, are 1-2 in the major leagues.

On the hill for the Braves is rookie righthander Brandon Beachy. Beachy is one of the oddest of creations in professional sports: an undrafted player who turns into a top prospect. Because the Rule IV draft (the June amateur draft where the overwhelming majority of top American college and high school players are selected) goes 50 rounds, it is extremely rare to see a player with Beachy’s ability slip through every team’s fingers. But Beachy, who went to an NAIA school and did not play in any of the major summer leagues, did so. Since then, it took him only two years to reach the major leagues and in that time, Beachy has become one of the top young arms in an organization that has more good young starters than it can possibly use. Despite being a relative newcomer to the big leagues, Beachy is not unfamiliar to the Phillies. Three of Beachy’s ten career appearances have come against the Phillies, and he’s lost every single one, with a combined ERA of 3.94.

Since his disastrous first start against the Mets, Hamels has been, perhaps, the Phillies’ top starter, and among the best in baseball. In his last six starts, Hamels has gone at least seven innings every time out, with a 4-1 record, a 1.80 ERA, and K/BB ratio north of 5:1. If that form continues, it could be a long night for an Atlanta lineup that not only touched Hamels up for two homers his last time out, but includes some tough left-handed bats.

Phillies Lineup: Rollins SS, Victorino CF, Polanco 3B, Howard 1B, Francisco RF, Ibanez LF, Orr 2B, Ruiz C, Hamels P

Your Gameday Beer– Pabst Blue Ribbon

In today’s Inquirer, film critic Steven Rea launched into a critique of Hesher that was not so much a movie review as a polemic about PBR. Rea apparently doesn’t understand the beer’s hipster-cool quotient, which makes it the class of bad beers. My question is, if PBR is so bad, and the likes of Rea see fit to criticize those who drink it, what of the millions of Americans who consume Bud Light and Miller by habit? Those are just as bad, if not worse, than PBR, and largely more expensive to boot. So take tonight’s beer recommendation as a middle finger to the Inquirer‘s stodgy, out-of-touch film critic.– By Michael

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