PHI: 89-61, 1st in NL East
ATL: 86-64, 2nd in NL East
Where: Citizens Bank Park (Philly, PA)
Discussion: Liberty Bell Sports
Mon: Cole Hamels (11-10, 3.01) vs. Brandon Beachy (0-0, 0.00)
Tue: Roy Halladay (19-10, 2.49) vs. Mike Minor (3-1, 5.84)
Wed: Roy Oswalt (13-13, 2.90) vs. Tommy Hanson (10-11, 3.62)
Mon: 7:05; CSN
Tue: 7:05; CSN
Wed: 7:05; CSN
Radio: 1020 AM
Player to Watch – Jason Heyward: Heyward is enjoying a nice rookie season. The outfielder is hitting .286 with 18 homers and 72 RBIs on the season for the Braves. There was a lot of pressure on Heyward as a rookie. He has basically handed the starting right-fielder job right in spring training. As a rookie, he has struck out a ton which will work in the favor if the Phils’ Big Three, who feast on young hitters. Heyward has calmed down a bit lately on the strikeout totals. He has only recorded four strikeouts in his last 31 at-bats. He is going to have to be patient if he wants to solve the Phils’ Big Three. Heyward is a guy that has a tremendous amount of power to all fields and the Phillies pitchers will have to selectively choose their pitches to this youngster.
Series overview: This is the biggest series of the season for both Philadelphia and Atlanta. Atlanta will need to win the series to gain some sort of ground. If the Phils can manage two wins, they position themselves for a fourth-straight division win.
The Phillies are coming off a sweep of the Washington Nationals. The Braves just finished a sweep of the New York Mets.
The pitching matchups in this series seem very one-sided with the Phillies having a huge upperhand. This series is a chance for the Phillies to put the division out of reach and to stay on the winning track heading down the stretch.
Tonight’s contest features arguably one of the hottest pitchers in baseball Cole Hamels. Hamels is 4-0 with 0.60 ERA in his last five starts. In three of those starts, he didn’t give up a single run. The Braves had a last minute pitching change today. Jair Jurrjens was slated to start but will be sidelined due to a knee injury. Rookie right-hander Brandon Beachy will start in place of Jurrjens. Beachy was a combined 5-1 with a 1.73 ERA in the minor leagues this season.
Tuesday’s game pits Roy Halladay against rookie starter Mike Minor. Halladay has struggled a bit as of late. Halladay has given up a combined 18 runs in his last two starts. However he still was able to record victories in both starts, which speaks volumes of where the offense is lately. Minor on the other hand has struggled since being called up. He is 3-1 but his 5.84 ERA is very troublesome for the Braves. His record is a product of a good offensive team. The Phillies should be able to give Halladay enough run support in this contest.
In the series finale, Roy Oswalt will take on Tommy Hanson. Oswalt has been absolutely superb as of late. In his last five starts, he is 4-0 with a 1.20 ERA. Since coming over to the Phillies Oswalt has really turned his season around. He has only suffered one loss in a Phillies uniform. Hanson is a young pitcher that the Braves are banking on being a future ace. But Hanson is not pitching too bad lately. In his last five starts he has a 2-2 record with a 2.80 ERA. He hasn’t gotten lit up too much but just hasn’t been able to notch many victories.