Philadelphia Phillies (3-1) at Houston Astros (0-4)
Jamie Moyer, LHP vs. Felipe Paulino, RHPTime: 7:05, Minute Maid Park
Weather: Sunny, 73
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Twitter: Phillies Nation
You ever had one of those days where everything’s just going right? Maybe you’re on a road trip and making great time. Maybe you’re playing a pickup game of basketball and every crazy shot you throw up is going in. Maybe you’re talking to a cute girl (or guy) at a party and you’ve really hit it off. Well, about 2/3 of the Phillies’ offense is having a week like that. Every single starter except Shane Victorino has an OBP of .400 or better. The entire infield is OPS-ing at least 1.259 through four games. Jimmy Rollins, who struggled to get on base last year, has already walked more in the first series of the season than he did in the entire month of April 2009.
What does this mean long-term? Not a whole lot, because, after all, it’s only four games. In the short term, however, it means that there are seven Phillies swinging relatively hot bats.
On the heels of last night’s 8-0 seal-clubbing, there’s no reason to believe that will change. The Astros are trotting out Felipe Paulino as their latest sacrificial lamb. Houston actually has a decent top-three of Roy Oswalt, Wandy Rodriguez, and Brett Myers. None of them are scary ace types, but all three at least tend to give you a chance to win. Beyond that, there’s a steep drop-off. Paulino, in his first full major league season, posted an impressive 8.57 K/9 ratio. He throws a very nice hard slider and a fastball that averages in the mid-90s. However, that’s about all the good news, as that fastball tended to be easy to hit last year, and Paulino posted a 6.27 ERA and a 1.67 WHIP in 97 2/3 innings last year. While he misses some bats, he also misses the strike zone a lot, and those pitches that don’t miss bats tend to produce a lot of hits and runs.
For the Phillies, Jamie Moyer makes his triumphant return to face a team …. of no particular importance to him, but it’ll be interesting to see how the 47-year-old lefty does in his first outing. He pitched well this spring, but much was made of how he didn’t pitch as well as Kyle Kendrick, his competitor for the fifth starter’s spot. Then Kendrick got roughed up in his start Thursday afternoon, leaving the door open for Moyer to retain his rotation spot when Joe Blanton comes back. At any rate, Moyer will try to sneak his off-speed sampler platter past a team that was named after a gun when he was born.
Speaking of history, those of you who tend to be fashion-conscious might want to check this game out. In honor of the 45th anniversary of Soviet Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov becoming the first man to walk in space…wait, no, that’s not right. Oh, 45 years ago this week, the Phillies and Astros opened the Astrodome, so the two teams are busting out 1965-vintage throwbacks, both of which look pretty sharp, in my opinion. You can find more details, including photos of both jerseys, here.
Todays Lineup: Rollins (SS), Polanco (3B), Utley (2B), Howard (1B), Werth (RF), Ibanez (LF), Victorino (CF), Schneider (C), Moyer (P).
Your Gameday Beer Colt 45 Malt Liquor
I once knew a girl from Houston. When I found out where she was from, I asked her to tell me everything she knew about Purple Drank. She knew more than I expected. However, I think it would be bad policy to encourage our readers to robo-trip for this game. So, in honor of the Houston Astros’ original name, I give you Colt 45 Malt Liquor. When I was in college, I was buying a couple bottles of these when a police officer, standing next to the gas station counter, stopped me as I was paying and said, “Son, that’s what homeless people drink.”
Malt liquor is cheap, gives you a lot of bang for your buck, and if you keep it cold, it doesn’t taste so much like vomit that you notice a whole lot. Cheers. – By Michael