Series preview: at Phillies
When (TV): 7:05 p.m. Friday (WPCH), 7:15 p.m. Saturday (FOX), 1:35 p.m. Sunday (FSSO)
Radio: 680, 93.7, 100.5
Probable starting pitchers:
Friday: Braves RH Tim Hudson (6-4, 3.87 ERA) vs. RH Kyle Kendrick (2-8, 5.35)
Saturday: Braves RH Tommy Hanson (9-5, 3.70) vs. RH Joe Blanton (7-7, 4.85)
Sunday: Braves RH Jair Jurrjens (2-2, 5.19) vs. RH Vance Worley (4-5, 3.46)
About the Braves:
Batting: Chipper Jones had an 11-game hitting streak entering Thursday, hitting .439 (18-for-41) with seven doubles, one home run and nine RBIs. He had his third career five-hit game Tuesday night against the Cubs, becoming the oldest Brave in franchise history to do that at 40 years, 70 days. Michael Bourn went 6-for-11 (.545) in the first three games against the Cubs, with two doubles, two triples and three RBIs.
Pitching: Hudson is 7-8 with a 3.71 ERA in 22 games against the Phillies. He faced them four times last season and had quality starts in three of them. One of those came in the final game of the season when Hudson pitched 6 1/3 gutsy innings but the Braves still lost 4-3 in 13 innings to send St. Louis to the playoffs. Hudson gave up six runs (five earned) in six innings against the Nationals his last time out on July 1.
Miscellaneous: The Braves lost two out of three to the Phillies on May 1-3 at Turner Field. Their only win in that series came 13-11 in 11 innings on Jones’ walkoff home run off Brian Sanches.
About the Phillies:
Batting: Chase Utley is hitting .273 (6-for-22) with two home runs and three RBIs in his first six games back with the Phillies this season, returning from knee problems. The Phillies won only one of those six games though. Newly-named All-Star Carlos Ruiz homered in two straight games Tuesday and Wednesday against the Mets and was second in the NL in batting average entering Thursday at .357 behind Andrew McCutchen (.360).
Pitching: Normally it might be good news that the Braves won’t face Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay (DL) in a series but Kendrick is 6-1 with a 2.53 ERA in 15 games against the Braves (10 starts), Blanton shut out the Braves the last time he faced them on May 3 (nine innings, three hits, six strikeouts), and Worley is 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in four appearances (two starts) against the Braves. Kendrick has given up five or more runs in four of his past five starts.
Miscellaneous: The Phillies have the second-worst home record in the majors at 17-24. First baseman Ryan Howard is on a minor league rehabilitation assignment working on his comeback from an Achilles injury and there’s a chance he could return this weekend.