Johan Santana (3-1, 2.08 ERA) vs. Jamie Moyer (2-2, 5.25 ERA)
Time: 8:05 p.m at Citizens Bank Park
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 82
I love winning! It’s like, you know, better than losing!
That seemed to be the collective reaction of the Philadelphia consciousness when, after being dealt a terrible Phillies loss and a heartbreaking Flyers playoff loss in the previous 18 hours, couldn’t stand to lose again. Then that Halladay fellow showed up and tossed a three-hit shutout as the Phillies’ offense, stifled by Jonathon Niese on Friday night, woke up to the smell of Mike Pelfrey on Saturday afternoon. In all, the Phils punished Pelfrey and two other pitchers for 13 hits and 10 runs. Every Phillie except for Placido Polanco got a hit and either scored or drove in a run. Charlie Manuel wrote out his lineup card and might as well have gone home, as Halladay went the distance, chucking 88 of his 118 pitches over the plate for his third complete game and second shutout of the season. All told, a pretty easy day at the office.
On aggregate score, the Phillies lead 11-9 over two legs, but unfortunately, this isn’t UEFA Champions’ League soccer, and we’ll get a chance to settle the Jersey Turnpike Derby this evening on national television. In their quest for revenge, the Mets toss out their designated ass-kicker, Johan Santana, against, by my count, the second-oldest major-league athlete in the Western world, Jamie Moyer. If anyone knows of anyone playing a professional team sport who’s older than Moyer and/or Chris Chelios, feel free to comment–I’d love to know.
At any rate, this is a matchup of lefties who love their off-speed stuff, albeit a somewhat-lopsided one. Moyer has gone exactly six innings in each of his four starts, but has tended to get roughed up somewhat. It seems like a pretty good bet that he’ll go six innings and give up four or five runs tonight, so the key question is: which lineup will show up tonight? In nine career starts against the Phillies, Santana is 4-1 with a 2.90 ERA and a WHIP under 1, and in 5 starts so far this year, only once has he allowed more than one run. The good news is that he hasn’t gone more than 7 innings in any of his starts, so a patient Phillies lineup would have a chance to crack open a bullpen that’s been the Mets’ Achilles heel since 2007. That might not be a recipe for victory, but when you’re facing arguably the best lefty in the game, it’s good to keep up a little optimism.
Lineup: Victorino (CF), Polanco (3B), Utley (2B), Howard (1B), Werth (RF), Ibanez (LF), Castro (SS), Ruiz (C), Moyer (P)
Your Gameday Beer: Holy Moses White Ale by Great Lakes Brewing Company
Tonight, I turned for advice to Kate, my Long-Suffering Girlfriend. She’s a real beer snob, which is a drag when you’re buying her drinks at a bar and drinking PBR yourself, but it comes in handy when you’re writing a gameday post and can’t think of a decent beer. Tonight’s beer comes from Cleveland. “It’s a Belgian-style witbier,” quoth Kate, the Long-Suffering Girlfriend, “spiced with orange peel and coriander. It’s unfiltered, so there’s yeast at the bottom, which some people might not like, but it’s got a great aftertaste.” There you have it. So buy your squeeze a bottle of Holy Moses tonight and get ready to watch the Phils battle for first place. -By Michael