Jonathon Niese, LHP (7-5, 3.78 ERA) vs. Joe Blanton (4-6, 5.86 ERA)
Time: 7:05 p.m at Citizens Bank Park
Weather: Cloudy, 86
Today we’ve got a matchup of Joe Blanton, a mediocre righty bouncing back from a rough start to the season and Jon Niese, a mediocre lefty not really bouncing back from much of anything. But that’s not what we’re here for. For those of you worrying about the Phillies not doing much around the deadline (apart from picking up that guy Oswalt), fear not. Mike Sweeney, slayer of dragons, tamer of horses, and chemist of clubhouses, and late of the Seattle Mariners, makes his first appearance for La Furia Roja this evening, batting cleanup and playing first base. Sweeney, 37, hit .263 with six home runs in 110 plate appearances for Seattle.
This evening, watch out for Jeff Francoeur, Ryan Howard’s main competition for the 2005 NL Rookie of the Year. Francoeur, simply put, will swing at just about anything. He’s swung at a greater percentage of pitches this season than any other player in baseball, nearly twice the rate of the most reticent swinger, New York’s Brett Gardner. He’s swung at a greater percentage of pitches outside the zone than any other hitter except for Pablo Sandoval or Vladimir Guerrero. In short, if Joe Blanton throws him a strike, he’s nuts.
One final note. Tonight, Chris Jones of The Fightins makes good on his absurd Twitter bet. Look out for him in section 301, row 1–that’s the third deck in right center, closest to the bullpens. He’ll be the guy wearing the Danys Baez t-shirt. Feel free to buy him a beer and express your condolences.
Lineup: Rollins SS, Ibanez LF, Polanco 3B, Sweeney 1B, Werth CF, Francisco RF, Ruiz C, Valdez 2B, Blanton P
Your Gameday Beer: Brewery Ommegang Three Philosophers
What better place to brew a beer for a ballgame than Cooperstown, N.Y.? This dark, malty, quadrupel is based on the heavy ales of the Trappist monks of Belgium. Hints of cherry and chocolate accompany a beer that not only tastes good, but will make you feel sophisticated drinking it.. -By Michael