PHI: 55-33, 1st in NL East; ATL: 53-36, 2nd in NL East
When: July 8-10
Where: Citizens Bank Park (Philly, PA)
Friday: Roy Halladay (11-3, 2.44) vs Brandon Beachy (3-1, 3.23)
Saturday: Cliff Lee (9-6, 2.92) vs Tommy Hanson (10-4, 2.52)
Sunday: Cole Hamels (10-4, 2.40) vs Derek Lowe (5-6, 4.21)
Friday, 7:05, CSN
Saturday, 4:10, FOX
Sunday, 1:35, PHL 17
All Games on 1210 AM
Player to Watch -Craig Kimbrel: With the series likely to be low scoring and tight, the Braves may have to rely on their rookie closer. Kimbrel’s 27 saves shattered the previous record of 18 saves for a rookie before the All-Star Break and he has an incredible 70 strike outs. But he’s also blown five already this season and his 2.40 ERA in 45 innings shows he is vulnerable to getting hit.
Series Overview: This is going to turn out to be a huge series for both teams. With the Phils holding a 2.5 lead in the NL East on the Braves, they are looking to expand on that lead and not allow the Braves to get any closer heading into the All-Star Break.
The Phillies lined up their rotation perfectly for the Braves, throwing out their three All-Star pitchers. Luckily for the Phils, they didn’t have to make any drastic changes to get the ultimate match up. But unfortunately for the
Braves, it didn’t work that way and they didn’t want to bother doing any major tweaking to have their ace, Jair Jurrjens take the hill during the series.
The pitching for this series, though favoring the Phils, is going to be phenomenal. In Friday’s match-up, perenial Cy Young candidate Roy Halladay will take on one of Atlanta’s young but rising pitchers in Brandon Beachy. The 24-year-old Beachy is 3-1 with a 3.23 ERA in 11 starts this season. This obviously favors Halladay because in four career starts against the Phils, Beach is 0-3 with a 5.00 ERA in 18 1/3 innings.
Saturday will feature the best duel and potentially force a rubber match on Sunday for Atlanta. Cliff Lee was shelled in his last start by the Blue Jays but had allowed only one run in 42 innings during the month of June, earning him pitcher of the month. Tommy Hanson, the future of Braves pitching along with Jurrjens and Beachy, is having a career first half so far. With a 10-4 record and 2.52 ERA, he’s been slightly overlooked due to Jurrjens but is still turning into one of the game’s best young guns. But Hanson also has struggled against the Phillies in his career with a 1-2 record and 2.45 ERA in six starts (29 1/3 IP).
Sunday’s potential rubber match will feature Cole Hamels, who dominates the Braves in his career and Derek Lowe, who has become another whipping boy for the Phillies. Hamels is 10-6 with a 3.83 ERA in 22 starts against the Braves. And on the season, he’s been a dominant 10-4 with a 2.40 ERA. He hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in his last eight stars (May 23 he allowed three).