Temple and Houston kick off the first game in American Athletic Conference history at Noon.
As you can see above, the Lincoln Financial Field end zones have been painted cherry and white for the occasion. "Temple" on the one side, and "Owls" on the other.
In jersey-related news, Temple is going to be wearing a different uniform combination each week this year. A Temple spokesperson said earlier this week the team would be donning a throwback look as they honor head coach Wayne Hardin. They've gone cherry on cherry on cherry for the home opener, with "Temple" spelled out on the helmet, rather than the "][".
Also included are shots of head coach Matt Rhule running around the field before the game. One of them is him yelling at me to take a good one.
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Howie Kendrick is back after a month and a half on the disabled list.
The Phillies reinstated Kendrick from the DL and he's in the lineup, batting second and playing left field. Meanwhile, slumping center fielder Odubel Herrera has a day off while Maikel Franco was moved down further in the lineup.
Kendrick batted a sterling .333 in his 39 at-bats in April, looking the part of a top-of-the-order hitter. The former infielder played only left field during his 10 games before going down with an oblique injury (see game notes). He gives the Phillies a chance to rest their outfielders or allow them a new look in the corner infield.
Herrera is in the midst of a 1-for-22 slide that has brought his batting average down to .217. Manager Pete Mackanin said postgame on Sunday that he would move Herrera down in the lineup and would give him a few days off at some point with Kendrick back as an extra outfielder. Mackanin hoped a day off would help lessen the pressure on the scuffling Herrera.
Mackanin also mentioned the inconsistent at-bats of Franco, who is down to seventh in the lineup. Catcher Cameron Rupp was moved ahead of him to sixth in the order with Franco batting .213 and going 2 for 18 since his eight-game hitting streak ended on Monday.
Jeremy Hellickson makes his first start since allowing a seven-run third inning to the Rockies on Wednesday. The good news for the righty is that he dominated the Marlins last season and was similiarly strong in a victory vs. the Fish in April.
Here's the full lineup that will oppose Edinson Volquez:
1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Howie Kendrick, LF
3. Aaron Altherr, CF
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Michael Saunders, RF
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Maikel Franco, 3B
8. Freddy Galvis, SS
9. Jeremy Hellickson, P
Where were you seven years ago today? I'd put my money on a number of Phillies fans spending their Saturday of Memorial Day weekend 2010 lounging out on the beach at the Jersey Shore just as I was.
But that night — just 14 miles from where the Phils will take on the now-Miami Marlins tonight — Roy Halladay tossed just the second perfect game in Phillies history, striking out 11 Marlins en route. Yes, that was the same Halladay who earned 55 wins over the course of four seasons in Philadelphia and pitched a no-hitter that same season against the Cincinnati Reds in the opening game of the NLDS.
It was a magical night at
Dolphin Land Shark Sun Life Stadium. Anyone who wasn't watching the Flyers lose Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final to the Chicago Blackhawks, 6-5, probably remembers Shane Victorino tracking down Wes Helms' deep fly to dead center as well as the incredible game called by Carlos Ruiz behind the plate. And then there's the 27th out as third baseman Juan Castro cooly collected the Ronny Paulino ground ball, spun and fired to Ryan Howard at first base.
So what's Doc doing now you ask?
Well, if his Twitter is any indication, Halladay has not stepped too far away from the game of baseball. During the weekend, he posted a series of tweets with his son Braden's high school baseball team, Cavalry Christian (Clearwater, Florida), as they completed a perfect 30-0 season and won the Florida 4A state title with Halladay as one of the team's assistant coaches.
He also tweeted to honor fellow Phillie Jim Bunning — the only other Phillies pitcher to ever throw a perfect game — after the baseball legend died Friday night at the age of 85.