Series Preview: Philadelphia Phillies vs Atlanta Braves

Hot off the heels of a masterful Alex Wood shutout, Braves country will be delighted to wake up this Labor Day to an early afternoon contest against blazing hot Phillies club.  The Braves own the season so far against the Phils, taking 8 out of the 13 games. But despite a loss on Sunday, the Phillies have won 7 of their past 10, including a sweep of the Nationals mid last week.

Game one sees the Braves take on old friend and tormentor Cole Hamels while countering with Julio Teheran.  The Phillies offense just might be worse than the Braves, even with recent strong play, so this should be a good old fashioned Labor Day pitching duel. Hamels owns a whopping 15-8 record in 204.2 career innings, good for a 3.34 ERA and 195 strikeouts.  Hamels has been masterful in his 2 starts against Atlanta this year, giving up only 1 run in 14 innings with 15 strikeouts and just 2 walks.  The saving grace here is that Julio Teheran has also owned his opponent  in 2014:  a  0.75 ERA in 24 innings that includes not a single walk, 19 strikeouts, and a complete game shutout.

Kyle Kendrick is having an awful season, and it seems to have affected his tendency to be completely dominant against the Braves.  In 3 starts against the Braves, Atlanta has tagged hm for 12 runs and 20 hits in 20 innings.  The Braves should be in favor in this matchup, given the sudden 180 by Mike Minor.  If Minor falters, it could be a bloodbath of runs.

Ervin Santana and David Buchanan is a no brainer for the Braves, as Buchanan has been roughly replacement level while Santana has recently been dominant once again, with a  brilliant July and August.  The Phillies offensive weapons are also roughly limited, with Chase Utley always being a threat, but not much following that.  Marlon Byrd is continuing his career revival with a solid season, and it’s frankly a shame that he is still a Phillie, but Ruben Amaro gonna be Ruben Amaro and not trade away the 36 year old slashing .270/.319/.471 with 25 home runs.  Aside from those two, no member of the Phillies with any significant playing time has an OPS over .750, except Grady Sizemore.  Sizemore has been a surprise contributor after being let go by the Red Sox, but the real story here is that Sizemore has now played in 93 games, his most since 2009.

The biggest threat by far to the Braves is the speed of Ben Revere, who is batting .308 thanks to a whopping 135 singles.  His 40 steals almost seem light with all those hits.  Revere is the guy to contain, as he can nearly score himself some times, but overall the offensive contest should go to the Braves, who are much better at home.

September is here:  Rosters are expanding, teams are throwing in the towel, and some like the Phillies are looking to be spoilers for clubs like the Braves.  Atlanta can’t afford a single series loss at this point, and they should be ready to secure at least 2 out of the next 3 games against Philadelphia.

 

Game 1:

1:10 PM EST, Monday, September 1st

Probables: Cole Hamels (7-6, 2.59 ERA) vs Julio Teheran (13-9, 2.90 ERA)

 

Game 2:

7:10 PM EST, Tuesday, September 2nd

Probables: Kyle Kendrick (7-11, 4.97 ERA) vs Mike Minor (6-8, 4.70 ERA)

 

Game 3:

12:10 PM EST, Wednesday, September 3rd

Probables: David Buchanan (6-7, 4.03 ERA) vs Ervin Santana (13-7, 3.53 ERA)

 

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Tags: Atlanta Braves

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