Philadelphia Phillies (10-5) at Arizona Diamondbacks (6-9)
Cole Hamels (2-1, 3.86) vs. Kris Benson (0-1, 3.00)
Time: 9:40, Chase Field
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 53 (Retractable Roof Stadium)
TV: Comcast SportsNet
From one young phenom to another, the Phillies travel west to take on the Diamondbacks in the second leg of their current road trip. After defeating Jason Heyward and the Braves in Atlanta, the Phils must now set their sights on Justin Upton’s D-Backs, who will send former Lehigh Valley IronPig Kris Benson to the hill to face Cole Hamels.
After placing J.A. Happ on the disabled list Thursday, the burden on Hamels to provide a solid secondary option to Roy Halladay in the rotation seems increased. Hamels was very effective in his last outing, allowing two runs on seven hits while striking out eight in a hard luck loss to the Marlins. Plenty of people are hoping he can build on that start to hold the rotation together as Happ and Joe Blanton recover from their nicks and scrapes.
Arizona, meanwhile, enter on a cold 1-6 skid in their last seven games, weighted down by a pitching staff that sports a 5.31 ERA, twelfth in the National League. Offense certainly hasn’t been the problem, despite the young Upton’s early struggles – .186/.284/.356 for the 22-year-old through 15 games – the Diamondbacks have averaged better than five runs per game to start the year. Led by their potent infield bats, SS Stephen Drew, 2B Kelly Johnson and 3B Mark Reynolds have combined to hit 10 homers and create a noteworthy top of the Arizona lineup, though much of that goes for naught if pitching can’t seal the deal.
Current Phillies, Juan Castro and Brian Schneider included, have a combined .370/.452/.532 line against Benson, with Polanco being Benson’s standout nemesis; the old/new third baseman has tattooed Benson (albeit over just 12 PA) to the tune of .545/.583/.727 with two doubles. This will be the first time he has faced the Phillies since 2006, noting that he missed the entire 2007 season and was part of the Philly system in 2008.
LINEUP: Victorino (CF), Polanco (3B), Utley (2B), Howard (1B), Werth (RF), Francisco (LF), Castro (SS), Schneider (C), Hamels (P)
Your gameday beer: Rising Moon
A seasonal from the Blue Moon branch of Coors, Rising Moon has a hint of citrus undertone with lime taking the lead; a nice choice for the improving spring weather. It is the offshoot of a bigger, corporate brewer, so you will get some of the flavorings and finishes that are typical of such an establishment. But couple it with some meat or fish after grilling and you’ve got a solid pairing. Besides, you’re all closet Miller Lite drinkers in the end.