Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves
After what must be the longest off day of the season–the day off immediately following Opening Day–the Phillies return to action tonight, seeking to even their series with the Braves.
Tonight’s game is the most highly-anticipated Roy Halladay start in quite some time. In year’s past, the feeling going into a Halladay start was confidence bordering on arrogance. Those days seem a distant memory, as Halladay is the biggest question mark the Phillies have right now. How will he fair in regular season action? Can he bounce back from the lethargy/stomach bug/wet mound/poorly rubbed baseballs? We’ll soon find out. There are no more excuses hanging out there for Doc. It’s time to put up or shut up.
Truth be told, he could’ve drawn a better opponent than Atlanta to make his 2013 debut. Over four starts last season, Doc posted an 11.21 ERA against the Braves (including infamously blowing a six-run lead). That was the highest ERA Halladay had against any opponent in 2013.
Countering Halladay will be Paul Maholm. At 30 years old, Maholm, a veteran, has spent his entire career in the NL. So the Phils have seen a lot of him and have had success. Maholm has a 5.16 ERA in nine career starts against Philly. Michael Young, John Mayberry Jr., and Erik Kratz have great numbers against him in limited ABs.
LINEUP: Revere CF, Rollins SS, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Young 3B, Brown LF, Mayberry RF, Kratz C, Halladay P
QUESTIONS: How will Halladay look after struggling in his last handful of Spring starts? Can the Phillies offense continue to make starting pitchers work like they did on Monday?
GAMEDAY BEER – Abita Purple Haze
Brewed in Braves country, Abita’s Purple Haze is a perfect accompaniment to watching the Phillies play in the heart of Dixie. A fruity beer with a hint of wheat in the aftertaste, it’ll pair well with some Memphis-style barbecue and a side of coleslaw. -RD