May 15, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies first baseman John Mayberry (15) is tagged out at home plate by Houston Astros catcher Jason Castro (15) during the fourth inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Phillies vs. Astros: Fighting through the smog

Cole Hamels (14-6, 3.02 ERA)

Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Cole is suffering from a little Cliff-Lee-Syndrome of late. He brings to Houston three straight no decisions , and could make it four if the bullpen has a repeat of last night. Hamels has still been solid despite the lack of wins, turning quality starts in each of the ND’s. He may not be the Cy Young favorite in the NL, but Hamels has been money in the bank since getting paid. Isn’t it great to see an athlete still give max effort even after he becomes a gagillionaire?

Edgar Gonzalez (2-0, 1.74 ERA)

Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Here’s what we know about Edgar Gonzalez. He is a journeyman who has pitched for a different club each of the past four years. He’s pitched all of two games for the Astros in 2012 winning both games, but hasn’t made it past the 6th inning. Despite his lack of pedigree the lingering memories of Houston’s sweep of the Phillies late in 2006 are a lesson to never underestimate your opponent. Anyone can crush playoff hopes, no matter how lame they seem.

Total Breakdown

The Phillies don’t have a lot of at-bats against Gonzalez given his brief tenure in the big leagues. One player who’s had success facing him is Juane Pierre. He’s hitting .500 (5-10), and is coming off a solid night in the opener. Expect to find the speedy left fielder in the lineup again tonight.

While Cole has faced the Astros numerous times, the current roster has gone through such an overhaul since his last meeting most of the roster has never faced him. Backup catcher Chris Snyder is the only player in the lineup to homer off Hamels, with Justin Maxwell the only player with multiple hits. The Astros are rebuilding with a capital R, so most of their lineup will be seeing Cole’s diving change up for the first time.

It will be a game of firsts for both sides, but the clear advantage goes to the Phils. As long as the bullpen can get back to its recent scoreless stint the Phightins should have no trouble getting back in the win column.

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