Just before every time one of our local teams has a string of games out west, I feel like we hear it referred to as a test for them. With the Phillies' recent 'test' including a four-game set in San Francisco, home of the current World vomit Series Champions, as well as coming just after the big trade deadline swap meat went down in Major League Baseball, we were interested to see how the Phillies would fare in their 10-game road trip.
A 9-1 away swing later, including two sweeps and three of four against the Giants, our Fightins are back home, returning to the packed stands of Citizens Bank Park. It's a gorgeous summer night in Philly, a perfect evening for some divisional baseball.
The Phils have lost all of once in their past 13 games, sweeping the Pirates right before they hit the road. They're 77-40 with 45 games remaining—37 games over .500. Tonight they'll face one of the three teams they've effectively left behind in the division (I'm not gonna Kevin Kernan the Braves back into this thing).
The Nationals are a game ahead of the Marlins to stay out of the cellar, but we'll see where they stand after this here series. Just five games under .500, the Nats are 21 games back of first in the East.
Cole Hamels faces Livan Hernandez
Rollins SS, Victorino CF, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Pence RF, Ibanez LF, Ruiz C, Valdez 3B, Hamels P
While the fans in right field welcome back Hunter Pence from his road trip and Jayson Werth from his self-imposed exile in DC, the whole place will honor former Phillie John Kruk, who will be added to the team's Wall of Fame. The ceremony will air on CSN for those not going down to the park.
Any favorite Kruk memories, either of the player overall, or specific things that happened in games or off the field? He's an interesting figure in that I think he was much more liked as a player than a media figure, although many do appreciate him as both. Earlier today, when thinking of Werth, Pence, and Kruk, I was imagining what the fans' relationship with Kruk would be like in today's media and social media landscape. I think he'd be even more popular than he was back then, and that's pretty popular.