The Phillies were "Chuck James-ed" last night. That’s the new verb for confusing the Phillies lineup with a cunning left-hander.
Tonight’s series has a "Chuck Jamesy" feel to it, a new adjective to describe the sinking sensation of pending futility and frustration, popularized by Atlanta left-hander Chuck James.
One look at Houston’s star, pictured next to the upcoming schedule on Yahoo's Phillies page, foretells a weekend of heartache and pain. On Sept. 4, the Phillies managed their first win against Houston in over two years, a span that saw crushing defeat after crushing defeat.
To summarize what Jon said in the previous thread, if the Phillies are to take this series and keep their October hopes alive, they need a break. Brett Myers challenges Roger Clemens tonight in his home park. The odds favor Houston, but Myers is certainly capable of matching him against a weak Astros offense. Philadelphia should have the edge tomorrow, with Cole Hamels facing Jason Hirsh in a showcase of top pitching prospects. However, Hirsh has been quite solid in his last three games, allowing only four earned runs in his last 19 innings.
The break Jon was referring to could come in Sunday’s matchup against Andy Pettitte. From Yahoo: Pettitte had a cortisone injection in his elbow on Wednesday, a day after leaving his start against St. Louis in the third inning with a strained muscle in his left elbow. The Houston left-hander also underwent an MRI exam, which revealed tendinitis in the elbow. Pettitte is scheduled to pitch Sunday against the Phillies. "We're hopeful that he'll make his next start this weekend," Astros general manager Tim Purpura said. "But we're going to take it day by day."
Meanwhile, the Dodgers and Padres will begin the biggest NL series of the season tonight in Los Angeles, and it’s a classic matchup of veterans: David Wells and Greg Maddux. The Dodgers are clinging to a slim half-game lead in the NL West, while the Padres are holding onto the top spot in the Wild Card by 2.5 games over the Phillies and Giants. The Dodgers have lost six in a row to the Padres at home, but have won 16 of their last 19 games at Chavez Ravine. Both teams have favorable upcoming home series against the Pirates and Arizona. The Dodgers will finish the season with six road games, three at Colorado and three potentially big games at San Francisco. The Padres also finish on the road, with three games against the Cardinals, who may have nothing to play for at that point, and four against the sub-.500 Diamondbacks.