For just the 16th time since opening day of the 2010 season, the Phillies will have their full projected starting lineup healthy and together. In some ways that's a huge bummer, but considering the amount of success they've had over that time, it's also pretty amazing. This will be the first time all season that the battle station will be fully operational and yet they still have the best record in baseball.
The Phillies are in Pittsburgh for a three game set at PNC Park, which I have to admit is my favorite ballpark in the majors. A few years back, some friends and I went on an epic baseball vacation where we visited Citizens' Bank, Fenway, Old Yankee Stadium, RFK, Camden Yards, PNC Park and Shea in about a week and a half. We were able to catch the Phils at both PNC and Shea. Of those stadiums, I had the best experience at PNC Park. It's a very small stadium, which makes for a really intimate atmosphere. There's a great view of the city skyline, good food and it's super cheap to get it. If I remember right, we sat in the outfield bleachers for less than $10. We ended up watching the last two innings from a booth in the giant Outback Steakhouse that overlooks the field.
Next time the Phils play a weekend series in Pittsburgh, I'd strongly recommend taking a weekend getaway out there to catch the series.
As for tonight, Cole Hamels looks for his eight win as he faces off against Jeff Karstens, who is a 3-4 with a 3.58 ERA over 12 starts this season. He only has one career start against the Phils and did not earn a decision.
The Pirates are an odd team in that they're much better on the road then at home. At PNC Park, they're five games under .500, but on the road they've gone 17-15. They're coming off arguably their worst loss of the season in which they they blew a 7-0 lead to the Mets.