Cleveland Indians (26-44) at Philadelphia Phillies (37-32)
Fausto Carmona, RHP (6-5, 3.31 ERA) vs. Joe Blanton, RHP (2-5, 6.96 ERA)
Time: 1:05, Citizens Bank Park
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 85
Welcome back Jimmy Rollins, indeed. J-Roll blasted a walk-off home run in the 9th inning last night, his first hit since coming off his second DL stint of the season, to put the Phillies within striking distance of their first sweep since mid-May. Brian Schneider got in on the fun, tying the game at 5 in the 7th with a solo shot of his own.
Not wanting to press his luck, Uncle Cholly saw fit to bench both of them for this afternoon’s game. The familiar, if irritating, face of Wilson Valdez mans shortstop, while 31-year-old career minor leaguer Dane Sardinha will make his first appearance of the season behind the plate. On a certain level, this makes sense–it’s a day game after a night game, Rollins is coming off an injury, and Schneider’s a 33-year-old catcher. You don’t want to overwork either of them. However, to say Sardinha is a bad hitter is an understatement. Sardinha has spent most of the past 7 seasons in AAA, where he’s never hit for an average of better than .262, never had an OBP higher than .294, and never slugged better than .404. Those are Bad Greg Dobbs numbers, and he’s putting them up in AAA. Of course, it stands to reason that until Ruiz comes off the DL, Brian Schneider will get the lion’s share of the playing time behind the dish, and while he’s hardly Mike Piazza, he’s at least a major-league quality hitter. Nevertheless, we wish Sardinha well.
Oh, and I almost forgot. Sardinha is a native of Honolulu, Hawaii. Between him and Shane Victorino, the Phillies are starting two Hawaiians this afternoon, making them (perhaps?) the first MLB this year to do so. So Aloha.
UPDATE, 11:22 a.m.: Nelson Figueroa will take Durbin’s spot in the bullpen.
LINEUP: Victorino CF, Polanco 3B, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Werth RF, Ibanez LF, Valdez SS, Sardinha C, Blanton P.
Your Gameday Beer– Lindemans Geuze
Baseball is my favorite sport, but I don’t really consider it a sport that warrants inebriation around noon on a weekday. That’s more soccer/college football stuff. But in case you’re out to have a few, this is an excellent choice. In searching for a pineapple-flavored beer (in honor of Vic and Sardinha) I stumbled across a phenomenal lemon-flavored beer I had tried before–Lindemans Geuze. Before you make that disgusted face, hear me out. It’s sour, but if you like fruity beers, a geuze (which is to lemons what lambics are to berries) at least deserves a shot. – By Michael