There are a few interesting elements to this weekend’s series against the Devil Rays at the Bank. For starters, there are the starters. Cole Hamels pitches on Friday night in his first ever game in Philadelphia. That’s somewhat significant. Then, on Saturday, Scott Mathieson — the so-called closer of the future — makes his Major League debut.
Mathieson’s start could be a one-and-done thing, but crazier things have happened. Who knows, maybe the kid comes up, pitches well and makes it so thy can’t take him out of the rotation? You never know.
On the flip side, the Devil Rays send a pair of their up-and-comers out to the mound against the Phillies. James Shields, a 24-year-old righthander, goes up against Hamels on Friday night, while the Scott Kazmir pitches on Saturday night.
Anyone who read Moneyball knows all about Kazmir. Of course, anyone who follows baseball closely knows about Kazmir, too. When the schedule first came out and I saw that Tampa Bay was coming to Philadelphia, I thought to my self, “Well, self, perhaps you’ll get a chance to see Kazmir pitch. After all, you had a chance to see Clemens pitch in ’86 at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore and you missed that by a day (although you caught him doing a bullpen session at Fenway in ’96 from inches away… how cool was that?) and it wasn’t for nearly 20 years later when you got to see him pitch in person.”
So, as fate would have it, I’ll get to see Kazmir as a 21-year-old in person. We’ll see if he turns out to be half as good as Clemens. Nevertheless, it would have been neat to see him matched up against Hamels — the pair of 21-year-olds drafted the same year a few slots away from each other — but I’m sure the lefties will have plenty of chances to go at each other.
Either way, it seems as if there will be plenty of good seats available for this weekend’s series.
Then the Yankees come to town. I think we’ve seen their third-base coach around these parts before.
On another note, Randy Wolf showed up at the ballpark on Friday. The lefty is finished with his rehab work in Clearwater and should be pitching in Reading or Scranton for his next four outings before rejoining the Phillies for good.