As Rev mentioned earlier this morning, these are historic times for your Philadelphia Phillies. Part of the joy in savoring these bountiful days comes from the starting pitcher, night after night, being of the highest caliber in the game today. There are no Chad Ogeas. There are no Adam Eatons these days.
It's Cole Hamels turn tonight in Florida.
Hamels (13-7, 2.58), who bounced back in a big way after his DL stint, will take on familiar right-hander Ricky Nolasco (9-10, 4.34). Cole has been fantastic against the Fish as of late, going 4-0 with a 1.51 ERA over his last 5 starts against them. That after putting up an awful 0-6, 4.62 ERA in his previous 10 starts against them. Positive turnaround there.
Did you know Cole also has the lowest WHIP at 0.966 of any starter in the NL this season? What's up, Doc and Cliff?
Nolasco recently became the Marlins career leader in strikeouts surpassing a guy we recently saw on the Reds, Dontrelle Willis. Nolasco hasn't beaten the Phillies this season, 0-1, but has put up solid numbers (2 ER in 13.1 IP).
Tonight's lineup: Vic, Polly, Utz, Howard, Pence, Raul, Ruiz, Valdez, and Hamels.
7:05 start from South Florida. Let's put Sun Life Stadium out of its misery with a sweep, what'dya say?
After being hit on the wrist by a pitch in Friday's win (see story), Maikel Franco will not play today. Instead, Andres Blanco will take his place, hitting third in the lineup. Blanco was 2 for 2 replacing Franco in the third inning on Friday, with an RBI and a run scored.
Blanco has been reliable when called upon this season, hitting .264 with a .317 OBP in mostly a utility role.
Other than that, the lineup remains the same as Friday.
Peter Bourjos will leadoff after going 0 for 5 last night, followed by Odubel Herrara. After an All-Star first half, Herrara has hit .211 in July, but seemed to get back on track with three hits on Friday, while scoring two runs.
After a brutal stretch of games and an extended All-Star break, Aaron Nola returned to form vs. the Marlins last week, tossing six shutout innings. Nola again looks to prove the doubters wrong again today vs. the Pirates, who he has never faced in his brief career.
Here is tonight's lineup:
1. Peter Bourjos RF
2. Odubel Herrera CF
3. Andres Blanco 3B
4. Tommy Joseph 1B
5. Cameron Rupp C
6. Cody Asche LF
7. Freddy Galvis SS
8. Cesar Hernandez 2B
9. Aaron Nola P
Have any doubts about Joel Embiid's health?
Well take a look at this.
How about now?
Of course, this isn't live NBA action, and it is against 5-11 Drew Hanlen, a skills coach and consultant, but it's impressive nonetheless.
Charles Barkley is jumping on the Sixers bandwagon.
"I think the Sixers gonna get really good, really quickly, but it all depends on (Joel) Embiid," Barkley said. "They're not gonna win a championship the next couple years, but I think they can really become a perrenial playoff team in the next three years."
Sounds good, right? Not so fast. There are a lot of "ifs" according to Barkley.
Most of those "ifs" ride on the health of center Joel Embiid. If the big man gets healthy, and the Sixers can resolve the "glutton of big guys," Barkley likes the Sixers chances.
"I think the most important thing they need to figure out is if Joel Embiid is going to be healthy. ... I like (Jahlil) Okafor and I like (Nerlens) Noel, but they gotta figure out if Joel Embiid is going to be healthy.
"I like Ben Simmons, but that team's got a long way to go," Barkley said.
To hear more of Barkley's thoughts on the Sixers' future, watch the full video above.