Memorial Day, the Phillies and a shot at first place

(Staff writer Carroll Rogers is filling in for David O’Brien this series.)

Well it’s Memorial Day, it’s the Phillies, and we’ve got a lot going on today at the ol’ ballyard. So we’ll start with the Phillies, hanging onto the NL East by a half-game and a least a couple more hours. Wait, did I get ahead of myself?

Well, Tommy Hanson is on the mound against Joe Blanton, whose 5.63 ERA is highest among Phillies starters and who has made only five starts this season while battling oblique problems.

Hanson is due for a clean outing after his eight-run nightmare here to end the Braves’ last home stand and his uphill outing in Florida, when he matched a career-high with five walks and hit a batter but still held on to beat the Marlins, allowing them two runs in six innings.

The Phillies’ recent struggles have been pretty well documented, but I’ll go ahead and break them down here for you:

Since they opened the month of May by going 12-3, they have lost eight of their last 12 games. In that time they’ve been outscored 43-19, while averaging only 1.6 runs per game. They were held to one or no runs eight times and shut out five times. They hit .195 (74-for-379) in that span, including .163 (13-for-80) with runners in scoring position.

As for the five shutouts in their last eight games, the last team to do that was the 1992 Cubs.

Their pitching has still been good – um, there was a certain perfect game by Roy Halladay on Saturday mixed in there. The Phillies ERA over those 12 games is 3.29. And with that good pitching, the Phillies managed to take two out of three from the Marlins over the weekend, even though they scored only four runs in three games including one in Halladay’s perfect game.

Nice that the Braves will be missing him again for the second straight series. They lost to him 2-0 on April 21, while dropping two of three to the Phillies at Turner Field. They didn’t see him in Philly May 7-9 but dropped two of three in that series anyway.

This is a different team facing the Phillies this time, one with a lot of confidence and the momentum of five wins in a row. One more win and the Braves will have a season-best winning streak and be sitting in first place for the first time since the first week of the season.

By the way, the Braves are 7-0 in day games at Turner Field, coming into today’s game. Wow.

News items

Brian McCann is back in the lineup for the first time since Wednesday, having taken four days for that sore quadriceps to rest.

Jair Jurrjens threw his second bullpen today, mixing in all his pitches among his 45 and looked good by all accounts. He will continue to throw bullpens onto the upcoming road trip and if all goes well he’ll head out on a minor league assignment from Arizona early next week.

Even if the hamstring holds up fine, he’ll need at least two minor league starts, which would mean it’s still a late-June proposition for his return. But as Bobby Cox said this morning, “It’ll be like making a major trade, won’t it?”

One other interesting tidbit from this morning, Cox made a point to watch Nate McLouth’s round of bp and talk to him afterward. He can be a hands’ on manager when times call for it, and McLouth seemed eager for his feedback.

The day’s events

The Braves are 16-6 at Turner Field this season and today, weather permitting, will have a pretty special pre-game ceremony honoring veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korean and World War II. There will be 250 veterans participating in all, five singled out for special recognition.

There will be parachuting from the Silver Wings of Fort Benning, a moment of silence and a 21-gun salute. And oh yeah, the Beach Boys are playing after the game. I’m told they will play in light rain. If it gets bad, they’ll re-schedule.

So far the weather has held up fine this morning, and I’m not sure what the afternoon will bring. Scattered showers are what weather.com is predicting and just trying to ask about it in the dugout got me blank stares. I think it’s been a long weekend of waiting around these parts, while I was off resting and relaxing and enjoying a crawfish boil with friends, among other things. And I actually ate a couple bites of crawfish. See how adventurous I am?

Lineups:

Phillies

1. Ross Gload RF

2. Greg Dobbs 3B

3. Chase Utley 2B

4. Ryan Howard 1B

5. Shane Victorino CF

6. Raul Ibanez LF

7. Carlos Ruiz C

8. Wilson Valdez SS

9. Joe Blanton P

Braves

1. Martin Prado 2B

2. Jason Heyward RF

3. Chipper Jones 3B

4. Brian McCann C

5. Troy Glaus 1B

6. Eric Hinske LF

7. Yunel Escobar SS

8. Nate McLouth CF

9. Tommy Hanson P

1,823 comments Add your comment

calibre lake dawg

May 31st, 2010
12:29 pm

am i really first!!!! oh who give a rat’s ass

Eli "da truth'

May 31st, 2010
12:30 pm

i should’ve been first but can’t read yet.

dylan

May 31st, 2010
12:31 pm

Change Turner Field to Aaron Stadium

May 31st, 2010
12:32 pm

Let’s take 1st place today!!

Mixxo

May 31st, 2010
12:35 pm

Us vs. the NL East. Ugh!

Time to turn it around.

Carroll Rogers

May 31st, 2010
12:36 pm

Longevity will be a big goal for Hanson today who has gone only two innings (rain delay), five innings and 4 2/3 innings in his three career starts vs. the Phils

Mekons

May 31st, 2010
12:41 pm

How’s the weather look?

Trey

May 31st, 2010
12:43 pm

Time for the Braves to take over first.

Trey

May 31st, 2010
12:43 pm

Mixxo, get your tomahawk ready!

Carroll Rogers

May 31st, 2010
12:45 pm

the chill bumps are starting already, soldiers are walking out onto the field….flag is being unfurled in center field

Trey

May 31st, 2010
12:46 pm

I wish I could be there for the Memorial Day game, but I am stuck in VA :( It’s alright, at least I can see the game on game day, even though it is not the same.

mountain_jim

May 31st, 2010
12:47 pm

I’ll be watching from rainy wnc mountains. Go Braves!

Carroll Rogers

May 31st, 2010
12:48 pm

P.S. Braves are wearing special white caps today for the occasion. Not a huge fan of the look

Kentavo

May 31st, 2010
12:48 pm

Hmmm; Booby actually started the A-team; Only questionable one is Yunel; but at least he plays spectacular defense.

McFann :Ô: :Ô:

May 31st, 2010
12:48 pm

Thanks for the new Blog, Ms. Rogers!

Wow…that Opening Ceremony must be something else! I love stuff like that.

Kentavo

May 31st, 2010
12:49 pm

I thought they were going to wear red hats with stars-and-stripes on the A?

BUBBA

May 31st, 2010
12:49 pm

Mekons

May 31st, 2010
12:41 pm
How’s the weather look?
Here itr is beautiful, cool breeze comming off of the Pacific, cool puffs of clouds floating byu..
Mauna kea and Mauna Loa are beautiful…oh the water is warm with nice breakers,,,

Surf’s UP.

McFann :Ô: :Ô:

May 31st, 2010
12:49 pm

White hats? Ih…interesting…

ChrisfromSacramento.CA

May 31st, 2010
12:50 pm

Lets go Big Red! Shut them down Tommy!

GTSteve

May 31st, 2010
12:50 pm

Trey

May 31st, 2010
12:51 pm

I wish the Braves would be on ESPN.

Dee

May 31st, 2010
12:52 pm

Huh, anyone else notice that Werth is NOT in the Phils lineup today? Sweet!

Mixxo

May 31st, 2010
12:52 pm

Trey – Got it ready man, gameface is on big-time too! :mrgreen:

All jacked up on Colombian (coffee) and ready to go!

mountain_jim – Love the rain in the WNC mountains!

Trey

May 31st, 2010
12:53 pm

All the Braves need now is that ol’ screaming indian on their sleeve!

Trey

May 31st, 2010
12:54 pm

They need a White jersey, blue cap and the red indian.

Clint

May 31st, 2010
12:54 pm

Trey – The game is on ESPN tomorrow night… At least that’s something!

VaBravesFan

May 31st, 2010
12:55 pm

Ok Folks this is a must win game!!

They Have Werth, Polanco, Rollins out of lineup, Ibanez is struggling as well. The Phillies as we know have been horrible the past week and are slumping big time. Blanton there worse starting pitcher is on the mound vs Hanson who is due for a good outing. Look for the Braves to be in 1st place in the standing going into tomarow!!!

GO BRAVES!!!

DCBrave

May 31st, 2010
12:56 pm

Carrol9 = David Ross = backups we are lucky to have. :)

Carroll Rogers

May 31st, 2010
12:57 pm

It must have been too cloudy for the parachuting and the flyover….but still the pre-game ceremonies were very touching.

Dee

May 31st, 2010
12:57 pm

Yuck! Not liking the white caps with the white uni’s. Just looks….off!

Trey

May 31st, 2010
12:57 pm

Dang, I have to wait another day before being able to see it. I really miss TBS- “The Braves Station”

pryguy

May 31st, 2010
12:57 pm

I hope Nate gets on track. His bat could really come alive and push this lineup even further. Esco will come around, he seems to be getting more comfortable and having better approaches.

Tommy T

May 31st, 2010
12:58 pm

The Bravos look like Milkmen today. Too bad Melky’s on the pine.

Mixxo

May 31st, 2010
12:59 pm

Not digging the white caps either, but at least the Philthies have to wear them too.

Dee

May 31st, 2010
12:59 pm

I’m loving our chances today!! :mrgreen: Go Braves!!

Chris from the Rock

May 31st, 2010
12:59 pm

Gload in the leadoff spot? That’s just downright weird. I know Victorino has been a key RBI guy this year, but he really should be in the leadoff spot. That’s thinking a little too outside-the-box.

Dee

May 31st, 2010
1:00 pm

Mixxo Right on!

…and I agree that they look like Milkmen. :lol:

Trey

May 31st, 2010
1:01 pm

This is definitely going to be the game of the year. Time to take up first and not look back.

FEAR

May 31st, 2010
1:01 pm

Let’s beat the crap out of these phils!!!!!!!!

Mixxo

May 31st, 2010
1:01 pm

I don’t want to say how HUGE for a myriad of reasons this game is today, so I won’t. :)

Trey

May 31st, 2010
1:02 pm

Just like 1991 went from worst to first.

Colin

May 31st, 2010
1:02 pm

here we go Braves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! happy memorial day everyone, hope your enjoying it. I like the lineup.

Mixxo

May 31st, 2010
1:03 pm

Forgot the commas. Grammar police…..cut me some slack. :oops:

FEAR

May 31st, 2010
1:03 pm

well the phils have been struggling and they got some hurt guys.

bravefaninok

May 31st, 2010
1:06 pm

The braves need to BURY the phils today!get in there heads and roll!

Dee

May 31st, 2010
1:06 pm

Alright…time for first pitch!! :D

Let’s keep on keepin’ on, Braves!

Roger

May 31st, 2010
1:06 pm

Feels like opening day!!! Go Braves!!

Roger

May 31st, 2010
1:06 pm

Feels like opening day!!! Go Braves!!

Trey

May 31st, 2010
1:07 pm

Mixxo, oh come on, you know you need commas in your sentences. See, here, is, one, and, another, one.

Just kidding, but there are all the commas to make up for your last ones that the grammar police correct you with ;)

hoho

May 31st, 2010
1:07 pm

i like the hats. yes, a bit of a milkman look, but not that bad. pretty nice, actually.

FEAR

May 31st, 2010
1:07 pm

Colin

May 31st, 2010
1:08 pm

great start!

Roger

May 31st, 2010
1:08 pm

love the hats!

David Athens, Al

May 31st, 2010
1:09 pm

I like the hats too

Mixxo

May 31st, 2010
1:09 pm

Roger

May 31st, 2010
1:09 pm

is the weather up there threatening, pouring here in statesboro

Dee

May 31st, 2010
1:10 pm

Hoho — I like the Phils hat color better. :oops: I think the blue bill on the Braves is just too muted. The red stands out better. But I understand why they gave the red bill to the Phils. Oh well!

njbraves

May 31st, 2010
1:10 pm

Huge game…..half empty building???? Typical Atlanta fans. Really sad.

Roger

May 31st, 2010
1:10 pm

come on Hanson

VaBravesFan

May 31st, 2010
1:10 pm

Looks like Hanson is having control issues again…

FEAR

May 31st, 2010
1:10 pm

Clint

May 31st, 2010
1:10 pm

You CANNOT walk a player like Dobbs. Just a terrible mistake.

Trey

May 31st, 2010
1:10 pm

Hopefully Hanson will not struggle.

Mitchell

May 31st, 2010
1:10 pm

Stop me before I speak too soon but does Charlie Manuel’s line-up not look a hell of a lot like the Braves from last Sunday against the Pirates?

Ross Gload, Wilson Valdez and no Jason Werth? I’ll take that thank you very much.

That crowd looks kind of pathetic though. You’d expect something close to a full house on a day like today.

Colin

May 31st, 2010
1:10 pm

I do like them hats, I think I might get one!!!

Mixxo

May 31st, 2010
1:10 pm

C’mon Tommy.

VaBravesFan

May 31st, 2010
1:10 pm

walk the hitter batting 130. in front of there best guys makes alot sense, throw some strikes man u got guys behind ya.

Mitchell

May 31st, 2010
1:11 pm

Come on Tommy. Buckle down.

Roger

May 31st, 2010
1:11 pm

i would walk Howard no matter what, he kills us, even with man on first

JC from DR

May 31st, 2010
1:11 pm

Tommy needs to cut down on the walks… He’s giving up too many, is there something wrong with his throwing arm? Or is he pressing too much?

Ice Cold Beer!!!

May 31st, 2010
1:12 pm

Notice how the Phillies bats have gotten cold since the ‘ol binocular incident?……Just sayin’

FEAR

May 31st, 2010
1:12 pm

I think Hanson is amped up

Roger

May 31st, 2010
1:12 pm

looks like he is aiming

Colin

May 31st, 2010
1:13 pm

he is throwing to many balls, stop trying to K everyone.

Trey

May 31st, 2010
1:13 pm

njbraves, I would be there if I was in Atlanta.

FEAR

May 31st, 2010
1:14 pm

Man They’re making him throw alot. Settle down!

Heath

May 31st, 2010
1:14 pm

Pitch count already escalating here in the first…

Mitchell

May 31st, 2010
1:14 pm

Okay, maybe not a terrible crowd but they sound like they’re at the ballet.

As if any of them would ever go to the ballet.

I go all the time. It kicks ass.

Actually never been to the ballet. Just nervously typing nonsense.

Trey

May 31st, 2010
1:14 pm

FEAR, I am sure he will settle down. It is still very very early in the game.

jeffrey d

May 31st, 2010
1:15 pm

Guess like I’m in the minority on the hats…it looks like Hanson is going to deliver milk in between innings

Not so fast

May 31st, 2010
1:15 pm

Stuck at work w/o a radio or TV. Anyone have a link to listen on-line

jeffrey d

May 31st, 2010
1:15 pm

Tomahawk Choppers

May 31st, 2010
1:15 pm

Same old approach for Hanson against the Phils. A lot of straight fastballs with a curveball mixed in. He’ll be out after 5 innings with a high pitch count again.

Clint

May 31st, 2010
1:15 pm

Walk the bases loaded?

eric the elder

May 31st, 2010
1:15 pm

I like the hats, too, but Heyward looks like a dufus in his.

FEAR

May 31st, 2010
1:16 pm

damn…………

Mixxo

May 31st, 2010
1:16 pm

Oh here we go. :(

Geez Tommy.

Trey

May 31st, 2010
1:16 pm

jeffry d, I am sure Hanson will settle.

Dee

May 31st, 2010
1:16 pm

Pitch count going up….runners on corners. Come on, Hanson. Not exactly a stellar start!

Mitchell

May 31st, 2010
1:16 pm

What is the deal Tommy?

Come the F on.

Colin

May 31st, 2010
1:16 pm

here we go…awesome job.

VaBravesFan

May 31st, 2010
1:16 pm

wow…. here we go… Tommy will be done bfore 5 innings again today.

Efrim

May 31st, 2010
1:16 pm

Hanson’s had some real trouble with command the last few times out.

Clint

May 31st, 2010
1:17 pm

JC from DR

May 31st, 2010
1:17 pm

Oh, now they’re going to start hitting? F*CK!

Gone Viral

May 31st, 2010
1:17 pm

Glaus is really coming along as a defensive first baseman.

Dee

May 31st, 2010
1:17 pm

NICE DOUBLE PLAY!! Saved the run! YAHOO!!

Trey

May 31st, 2010
1:17 pm

That isn’t good.

Mixxo

May 31st, 2010
1:17 pm

Get somebody up Bobby!!!

OK….lets wait another inning….nice DP.

FEAR

May 31st, 2010
1:17 pm

damage control!

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