Wednesday night’s game looked like another game where the offense would refuse to score runs for Cliff Lee, but in the 7th inning it changed for the better. The Phillies were able to score 5 runs in the final 3 innings and win the game 5-3. They were able to take the rubber game of the series and head to Atlanta with some momentum. The late inning comeback prevented them from losing back to back series to division rivals. Most phans spent last night watching their favorite Phillies despite the big league team having the night off. Oswalt, Ruiz and Utley all started for the single A Clearwater Threshers and helping them earn a victory.
Ruiz sad his back felt great and it was announced earlier today that he was activated off the disabled list. Chase was able to show his sweet short swing as he lined a homerun over the right field wall. He looked good running the bases and even had a hard slide at third. He did make a throwing error while trying to turn a double play and looked a little awkward while avoiding the slide. But I think it was just a little cautiousness as the runner was around his legs, and I don’t think it is anything to worry about. It will just take him time to regain confidence in his knee. Despite the good news with Chooch and Chase, there was some news that wasn’t great last night. Oswalt was noticeably missing his normal zip on his fastball, he was reportedly throwing around 88-90 about 4 mph slower than he usually pitches. It was thought that he would start Tuesday in St. Louis, but he might need another rehab start before he is ready.
The Phillies now head to Atlanta for the middle part of their 8 game road trip. They were able to take 2 of the 3 games in their previous visit to Atlanta earlier in the season. The Braves left Philly on a high note but really struggled in their series against Washington. They were forced to rally with a grand slam in the 7th to tie the game and eventually were able to win the game in extras to avoid a 3 game sweep. Atlanta will enter the 3 game series with a 21-18 record and are 4.5 games behind the first place Phillies. The teams have played 6 games so far with each team taking 3 of them.
Friday May 13 7:35: LHP Cole Hamels vs. RHP Brandon Beachy
Hamels pitched very well Sunday night but was handed his 2nd loss of the season. He went 7 innings and only gave up 3 runs on 5 hits but the bats were silent against Braves starter Jair Jurrjens. Cole is now 4-2 with a 2.83 ERA on the season. For some reason Cole has pitched a lot better away from the Bank this season, in 3 starts on the road he is 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA. Tonight’s start in Atlanta will be the 2nd at Turner Field for Hamels this season. On April 10, Hamels pitched 7 scoreless innings while only giving up 4 hits. With the Braves being in the same division as the Phillies, Hamels has faced Atlanta a lot. In 21 starts he is 10-6 with a 3.72 ERA. He has similar numbers while pitching in Turner Field, in 10 starts he is 5-3 with a 3.86 ERA. Current Atlanta hitters are just 54-216 (.250) against Hamels.
The young right hander has been a pleasant surprise for the Braves so far this season. He is 1-1 with a 2.98 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. But he has struggled in his starts at Turner Field. In 4 starts at home this season, he is 0-1 with a 4.07 ERA. Beachy will make his 2nd start of the season against the Phillies, he faced them in Atlanta on April 9th, he went 6 innings and gave up 4 runs while receiving the loss. He has faced the Phillies 3 times before and has had some success despite losing all 3 games. In 3 starts he is 3-0 with a 3.94 ERA. Current Phillie hitters have had some success in their limited experience against him, they are 13-42 (.310) facing him in their careers.
Saturday May 14 1:10: RHP Joe Blanton vs. RHP Jair Jurrjens
Blanton came off the disabled list Monday night and was able to earn the victory despite a poor first innings. Due to a pitch count, he went just 5 innings while giving up 3 runs. Joe is now 1-1 with a 5.83 ERA on the season. There is still some uncertainly on his ailing right elbow as he and the team has said it is not 100%. His velocity will be something that we should keep an eye as he makes his next few starts. If he doesn’t improve I think he could be looking another trip to the disabled list. Joe will make his 1st start of the season against the Braves and hasn’t had a lot of success against them in his career. In 8 starts (9 games), he is just 1-3 with a 5.67 ERA. He has had a little more success at Turner Field, in 3 starts (4 games) he is 0-1 with a 4.74 ERA.
Jurrjens continued his great start to the season and his dominance of the Phillies with a great start on Sunday night. He gave up 8 hits in 6.1 innings but was able to limit the Phillies to just one run as he received the victory as the Braves won 5-2. Jurrjens is now 4-0 on the season with a 1.50 ERA. He has baffled Philly hitters during his young career, in 10 starts he is now 4-3 with a 2.45 ERA. Current Phillie hitters are just 34-143 (.238) against Jurrjens. Howard (8-27) and Valdez (5-9) have had the most success against him.
Sunday May 15 1:35: RHP Roy Halladay vs. RHP Tim Hudson
Something strange happened Tuesday night in Miami, Doc received the loss the against a NL East opponent. The loss was just the 2nd he has had against division opponents in his year plus pitching for the Phillies. Halladay is now 5-2 on the season with a 2.05 ERA. It will be his first start of the season against the Braves. He has been brilliant against them since he joined the Phillies, in 3 starts he is 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA. One of those starts was at Turner Field; he pitched a complete game shutout in that start. Doc will be making his 2nd overall start in Atlanta, in those 2 starts he has yet to give up a run in 16 innings!
Hudson was roughed up by the Nationals in his last start on Tuesday night. He went just 5 innings while giving up 7 runs (3 ER). He is now 4-3 on the season with a 3.09 ERA. The veteran right-hander has already earned a win against the Phillies this season. On April 8th, he went 7.2 innings while only giving up 2 earned runs. Hudson has made 19 starts against the Phillies, in those games he is 7-7 with a 3.70 ERA. Current Phillie hitters are 50-187 (.267) while facing Hudson.
The Phillies have had a lot of good things happen for them over the last few days, both on the field and on the injury front. They are a team that has been hampered with a lot of injuries and key players in the midst of major hitting slumps. But they are still having one of the best starts in the history of the franchise and have the best record in baseball. A team like the Indians has had a “great” start the season with everything clicking, while the Phillies have seen a lot of negative headlines in the early season, but the Phillies have a better record the hot starting Tribe. I predict the Phillies will once again take 2 of the 3 games from the Braves.