Series preview: vs. Phillies
When (TV): 7:35 p.m. Friday (WPCH), 4:05 p.m. Saturday (FOX), 5:05 p.m. Sunday (FSSO)
Radio: 680, 93.7, 100.5
Probable starting pitchers:
Friday: Braves LH Mike Minor (7-10, 4.71 ERA) vs. RH Roy Halladay (8-7, 3.88)
Saturday: Braves RH Tim Hudson (13-4, 3.57) vs. LH Cliff Lee (3-7, 3.67)
Sunday: Braves LH Paul Maholm (11-9, 3.44) vs. LH Cole Hamels (14-6, 2.99)
About the Braves:
Batting: Jason Heyward went 0-for-his-last-10 on the road trip, after going 12-for-29 (.414) with four home runs and eight RBIs to start it. Michael Bourn went 5-for-35 (.143) on the trip. Brian McCann showed signs of regaining form, going 9-for-28 (.321). The Braves will face two more lefties in this series, extending their major-league lead to 53 games against left-handed starters. They are 24-27 in those games. They will have faced seven left-handers in 11 games.
Pitching: Minor won for the first time in four starts his last time out, 7-3 over the Giants, largely because the Braves finally scored him some runs. They had scored only one run in his previous three starts and he lost all three despite allowing only seven earned runs in 20 innings (3.15 ERA). One of those starts came against the Phillies on Aug. 7, when Minor gave up three runs in the first inning and lost 3-0 when Cole Hamels pitched a complete game shutout.
Miscellaneous: Since breaking up their eight-game losing streak to the Phillies on May 2, the Braves have gone 8-2 against the Phillies. The Braves are 9-3 in the series this year overall, after going 37-53 in the five previous seasons against the five-time champions of the NL East.
About the Phillies:
Batting: Jimmy Rollins was 8-for-23 in his past seven games, with three doubles, one homer and six RBIs. Rollins was 4-for-12 with a home run and two doubles against the Braves Aug. 6-8 and scored runs in the first inning in two of the three games. John Mayberry Jr. is 10-for-25 (.400) with a double, a home run and four RBIs in his past seven games, including a three-hit game Thursday against the Mets.
Pitching: Halladay gave up three runs, including home runs by Jason Heyward and Chipper Jones, in a 6-2 loss in Atlanta on July 29. Since then, he has gone 4-1 with a 2.75 ERA in five starts, while allowing two home runs. He held the Nationals to two runs in seven innings of a 4-2 win his last start on Saturday. Hamels was scratched from Wednesday’s start against the Mets with gastrointestinal illness but returns Sunday. At 14-6, he’s one win shy of tying his career-high.
Miscellaneous: The Phillies are 16-12 in August, giving them their first winning month since going 16-13 in May. They’ve won five of seven, including a three-game sweep of the Nationals. Chase Utley took a few ground balls at third base Wednesday and is toying with the idea of moving there from second base next season.
- Carroll Rogers