It's been pretty safe to assume the Phillies were going to make the postseason for a couple of weeks now, but a win tonight (or a loss by St. Louis) will make it official.
Cole Hamels (14-7, 2.60) takes the hill for the Phillies and hopes to earn his 15th win of the season which would match a career high. He was 15-5 in 2007.
The Astros will counter with former Phillie and massively struggling left-hander J.A. Happ (5-15, 5.77). The Phils have an NL-best 30-9 (.769) record in games against left-handed starters. Charlie Manuel will try to increase those numbers tonight by starting John Mayberry Jr. in center while giving Shane Victorino a blow.
If Roy Oswalt and the Phils couldn't stop Brett Myers and the Astros, Cole Hamels vs. J.A. Happ has to be the right recipe for a Phillies victory, doesn't it?
Happ is having one awful year, but says he's not trying to dwell on it, and hopes to get back to pitching the way he knows how. After all, Happ looked a lot like Vance Worley does now back when he was a rookie for the Phillies.
Hunter Pence has an awkward hack of a swing and he chokes up on the bat. But where did he get that choking-up style? Jim Salisbury asked him the other day.
11 Jimmy Rollins, ss
27 Placido Polanco, 3b
3 Hunter Pence,rf
6 Ryan Howard, 1b
15 John Mayberry, cf
10 Ben Francisco, lf
51 Carlos Ruiz, c
5 Pete Orr, 2b
35 Cole Hamels, p
First pitch scheduled for 8:05
photo by Colleen0313