April 19, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz (51) against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

Series Preview: Phillies @ Braves

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After a lackluster series split with the Pirates, the Braves stay at home to host three against the Phillies.  Fortunately, these are not the Phillies of the past few years.  Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are still not close to returning and Cliff Lee is also on the disabled list.  The man pictured above, Carlos Ruiz, has been their most valuable position player so far, with Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, and Hunter Pence all struggling.  However, the Braves will not be missing the other two of the big 3 in the rotation.

Game 1 – Tuesday 5/1 – 7:10 EDT

Brandon Beachy vs. Cole Hamels

Two pitchers who are throwing well start out the series.  Beachy has a 1.05 ERA, but I posed the question if he had turned the corner.  Hamels has a good 2.73, but he has a stellar 3/30 BB/K ratio, leaving him with a 2.11 FIP and 2.29 SIERA.  Hopefully, the Braves keep the lefties in tonight, since Hamels has worse numbers against lefties in his career.

Game 2 – Wednesday 5/2 – 7:10 EDT

Tommy Hanson vs. Roy Halladay

Two more pitchers throwing will meet Wednesday.  Halladay is actually showing the worst peripherals since 2007, despite sporting a 1.95 ERA.  His velocity is down almost 2 MPH and he’s walking more and striking out less hitters than the past few years.  He is still one of the toughest pitchers to face and Hanson will have to be sharp to keep the Braves in the game.

Game 3 – Thursday 5/3 – 12:10 EDT

Randall Delgado vs. Joe Blanton

An early start on getaway day, Delgado hopes to rebound from a couple rough starts.  Blanton hasn’t walked many and has kept the ball on the ground, but has been very hittable so far.  Like Hamels, Blanton has shown a reverse platoon split the last couple years, so this is the day for McCann to not be allowed to push his way into the lineup.

Rolling

Tyler Pastornicky – Posting a .450/.522/.550 line (207 wRC+) the past seven days, T-Past has finally seen some balls fall in and get through holes.

Martin Prado – Prado has posted a 158 wRC+ the past week (.304/.407/.565), giving the middle of the order a lot of RBI opportunities.

Dan Uggla – Not posting his normal power numbers, Uggla has walked 20% of the time the past week, also posting a .462 BABIP.

Carlos Ruiz’s 224 wRC+ has led the Phillies the past week.  Placido Polanco and Ty Wigginton have also hit well.

Strolling

Brian McCann – A .118/.211/.118 line will get you on this list every time.  He also fought through a bit of an oblique strain suffered early in the week.

Jason Heyward, Chipper Jones, and Freddie Freeman have also posted well below-average lines the past week.

Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins, and Freddy Galvis have been poor, especially Victorino and Galvis.

Wrapup

Don’t expect a lot of runs the first two nights with the top 2 on each staff going.  While the Phillies have only posted a team 78 wRC+, fifth worst in the league, they still have enough talent to bust out.  With the middle of the order struggling on each side, whichever side breaks that trend first should win the series.

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Tags: Braves FanSided Phillies

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