Series preview: vs. Phillies
When (TV): 7:35 p.m. Friday (WPCH), 7:10 p.m. Saturday (WPCH), 1:35 p.m. Sunday (FSSO)
Radio: 680, 93.7, 100.5
Probable starting pitchers:
Friday: Braves RH Ben Sheets (2-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. LH Cole Hamels (11-4, 3.23)
Saturday: 7:10 p.m.: Braves LH Mike Minor (5-7, 5.49) vs. RH Joe Blanton (8-8, 4.70)
Sunday: 1:35 p.m.: Braves RH Tim Hudson (9-4, 3.71) vs. RH Roy Halladay (4-5, 4.32)
About the Braves:
Batting: Chipper Jones is hitting .320 (8-for-25) while on a seven-game hitting streak, including one double, two home runs and seven RBIs. After hitting .193 with two home runs and seven RBIs in 22 games in June, Brian McCann is hitting .309 with seven home runs and 16 RBIs in 16 games in July. Dan Uggla is hitting .115 (15-for-130) with two doubles, two homers, 53 strikeouts and a .177 slugging percentage in his past 40 games.
Pitching: Sheets has pitched six shutout innings to win each of his first two starts with the Braves, returning after two years out and two elbow operations. Sheets is holding hitters to a .171 opponents’ average, while walking four and striking out 11. Minor has three straight quality starts, while allowing five earned runs in 19 1/3 innings (2.33 ERA). Reliever Jonny Venters has pitched three scoreless innings since returning from the DL with one hit, no walks and four strikeouts.
Miscellaneous: The Braves swept the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park July 6-8 for the first time since 2007 but also lost shortstop Andrelton Simmons to a broken hand in the finale.
About the Phillies:
Batting: The Phillies have won four in a row in their final at-bat, and three via walk-off. They averaged 6.25 runs per game in those four wins. Jimmy Rollins had two of the walk-off hits, with RBI singles in the 10th inning Wednesday against the Brewers and Sunday in the 12th against the Giants. Ryan Howard is hitting .304 (7-for-23) with a double, three home runs and eight RBIs in the past seven games. Over that same span, Chase Utley is hitting .333 (7-for-21) with two doubles, one triple, two home runs and six RBIs.
Pitching: Hamels pitches for the first time since signing a six-year, $144 million extension. He’s gone six straight starts of seven or more innings, dating back to June 14, while going 2-1 with a 3.02 ERA. He’s faced the Braves once this season, going seven innings and allowing two runs in a 4-2 win on May 1. He’s 11-6 with a 3.69 ERA against them in 25 games (24 starts) for his career. The Phillies have won five of Hamels’ six starts against the Braves in the past two seasons.
Miscellaneous: The Braves will face Halladay for the first time since early May. He spent six weeks on the disabled list with shoulder soreness. He’s 2-0 despite a 6.55 ERA in two starts back.