Philadelphia Phillies (41-37) at Pittsburgh Pirates (29-51)
Kyle Kendrick, RHP (4-3, 4.88 ERA) vs. Paul Maholm, LHP (5-6, 3.98 ERA)
Time: 7:05, PNC Park
Weather: Mostly Sunny, 84
Twitter: Phillies Nation
These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.
–Thomas Paine, The American Crisis
147 years ago today, Robert E. Lee sent 12,500 men on a mile-long march to assault directly the center of the Union lines at Cemetery Ridge in Gettysburg, Pa. The attack failed spectacularly and famously, and more than half of Lee’s men were either killed, wounded, or captured in a matter of minutes. I imagine that Charline Manuel knows exactly how General Lee feels.
Despite three straight solid pitching performances from Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Jamie Moyer, nothing the Phillies have done offensively has seemed to matter much. Of course, it doesn’t help when three of the team’s eight starting position players are injured, and injuries to reserve catchers Brian Schneider and Paul Hoover have forced Uncle Cholly to turn to a career minor league backup to handle his pitchers.
Because injuries do not obviate the need to rest one’s starters periodically, Ben Francisco gets the call once again and will bat fifth, this time replacing Raul Ibanez in left. Cody Ransom, a former Iron Pig for whom the fans have been clamoring after this recent string of infield injuries, makes his season debut in the No. 7 spot in the order. Ransom, 34, has been up and down with San Francisco, Houston, and the Yankees before, and hits for a fair bit of power (32 XBH in 334 AB at Lehigh Valley this season), but with only a .309 batting average.
There are, however, two bits of good news. The first is that while Ross Ohlendorf and Daniel McCutchen each won their first games since 2009 against the Phillies the past two nights, that streak will end this evening–Paul Maholm’s already won five times for Pittsburgh this season. The second bit of good news is that Wilson Valdez has actually been pretty hot recently. In the past 10 games he’s hit three of his eight career home runs and raised his batting average to an actually respectable .270, all while continuing to field his position with alacrity. He’s been rewarded with a bump to sixth in the order tonight.
Phillies Lineup: Rollins (SS), Victorino (CF), Werth (RF), Howard (1B), Francisco (LF), Valdez (2B), Ransom (3B), Sardinha (C), Kendrick (P)
Your Gameday Beer– Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma Brewery Dos Equis Special Lager
I don’t always drink beer…. – By Michael