Cincinnati Reds at Philadelphia Phillies
Time: 5:07 p.m., Citizens Bank Park
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 60
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Some huge breaking news at about 1 p.m. was that Placido Polanco is NOT in today’s Game 1 lineup. He’s been scratched with back spasms, Wilson Valdez will take his place. This is a pretty significant blow heading into what everyone believed was a very winnable series. The question now becomes, how much harder will this be for the Phillies without arguably their best contact hitter in Polly.
Polanco hasn’t seen Reds starter Edinson Volquez all that much (1-for-2 lifetime), but he is truly an important component of a lineup that has struggled with consistency all season. Let’s hope with the off day tomorrow that Polly can make a return for Game 2.
Let’s also try to get past the bad news and focus on the good: Roy Halladay pitches today. He lost his last start against the Reds on June 30. He was touched up for 13 hits over eight innings. This was also during June when Halladay struggle with a couple of rough outings. He met with the Reds again in July and shut them down over nine innings by allowing no runs. However, he left with a no-decision because Travis Wood was in the midst of a perfect game. The Phillies came away with a 1-0 win in 10 innings, and Doc narrowly missed another complete game shutout.
Which Halladay will the Reds see today? If the end of the regular season is a precursor to today, they’ll get a charged-up ace looking to make a name for himself on the biggest stage in baseball.
Edinson Volquez has two career starts against the Phillies, both coming in 2008. He allowed only seven hits and one earned run over 12 1/3 innings, going 2-0. The 27 year-old is coming in having had three good outings to finish September. However, late in July, he struggled so much that he was sent down to Triple-A to figure some things out. He’s done that, and then some.
Against lefties, Volquez is having his way. Left-handers are batting just .229 against him, 44 points lower than righties. That obviously hinders Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Raul Ibanez a bit. But still, this is Volquez’s first taste of postseason baseball, can he rise to the challenge of the two-time NL champs?
On the flip side, Roy Halladay is also making his first career playoff appearance, but the feeling is that he’s more than ready.
It’s the start of another round of October baseball for the Phillies. Can they make it three striaght trips to the World Series? Tonight, the first chapter of the story will be written.
Today’s Lineup: Rollins SS, Victorino CF, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Werth RF, Ibanez LF, Ruiz C, Valdez 3B, Halladay P
Your gameday beer: Sam Adams Octoberfest
Here’s to a lengthy Octoberfest for the Phillies.