Pittsburgh Pirates (38-35) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (36-40)
All over the Delaware Valley today, female Phillies fans find themselves feeling more randy than usual. No, Ryan Gosling isn’t in town filming the movie adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey. The reason for the uptick in amorous vibes from the female fan base is a different kind of aphrodisiac: Chase Utley in a Phillies uniform.
It’s been 279 dark and dreary days since Utley last played meaningful baseball. Tonight, like a knight in shining armor ready to pull the Phillies organization and its fans from the depths of despair to the tune of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” he makes his return. While the mere presence of Utley won’t do much in terms of helping the team turn its season around, he certainly provides hope–something this team has desperately been in search of for quite some time now. He provides a patient hitter who can work a count and hit the ball out of the ballpark.
At his best, he’s a game changer. At his worst, he’s better than any other option the Phils have at second base. It’ll be fascinating to see the reception he receives tonight and the start he gets off to.
On the defensive side of things, the Phillies are without a traditional starting pitcher. That means one thing: Bullpen game. Is there any phrase more frightening to Phillies fans after watching this ‘pen over the last three months? Probably not. Raul Valdes will be the first man out of the bullpen door, and is expected to go three or four innings. From there, it will be a mix and match job by Charlie Manuel and Rich Dubee. With the bats likely needing to mash their way to a victory, Utley couldn’t have picked a better time to make his triumphant return.
Lineup: Rollins SS, Pierre LF, Utley 2B, Ruiz C, Pence RF, Victorino CF, Wigginton 1B, Fontenot 2B, Valdes P
Your Gameday Beer– Shiner Ruby Redbird
Summer is in full-swing, and I’m going to keep the summer seasonal recommendations coming. I’ve recently discovered the Shiner Ruby Redbird, and found it quite tasty. The dominant flavors in this brew are ginger and citrus, which comes from the fact that it’s brewed with Ruby Red grapefruit juice (though it combines with the ginger for more of an orange citrus taste). Like most summer seasonals, it’s remarkably light. I’m not sure what type of beer Chase Utley drinks, but I think he’d approve of this one. – By RD