Phillies-Braves: 5 things you need to know

Phillies-Braves: 5 things you need to know

July 20, 2014, 6:00 am
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Phillies (43-54) at Braves (53-44)
1:35 p.m. on CSN

The Phillies ended a five-game losing streak to the Braves on Saturday night with a 2-1 victory (see story).

Cole Hamels pitched seven innings of one-run ball, Grady Sizemore had three hits and Jimmy Rollins delivered the game-winner with a two-run homer in the seventh.

Here are five things you need to know about Sunday's rubber match:

1. Sizing It Up
Sizemore is red hot since joining the Phillies. The former three-time All-Star has eight hits in five games after Saturday's 3-for-4 performance, which also included a walk.

The 31-year-old owns a .400/.455/.500 slash line with the Phils. He also has two doubles and two walks -- as many as Ben Revere has had in his last 18 games.

2. Hamels Time
If Hamels ends up being available at the trade deadline, his price just keeps rising. The ace left-hander pitched his 10th straight game limiting his opponent to three runs or fewer -- but his performance Saturday was much more dominant than just that.

Hamels limited the Braves to one run on four hits, struck out nine and didn't walk a batter. Of his 95 pitches, 71 were strikes. He likely could have pitched eight or even nine innings if his spot in the order didn't come up with a runner on third and two outs in the eighth inning.

Over his last 10 games, Hamels' ERA is 1.81. He's struck out 71 and walked only 23 in 69 2/3 innings. He's allowed just 53 hits. He's also just 3-2 with the Phillies' bats behind him.

3. Trade audition?
Kyle Kendrick (4-9, 4.62) takes the mound in what could be a possible trade audition for the 29-year-old right-hander. Given his recent outings -- he owns a 6.40 ERA over his last five games -- he seems less likely to be dealt away at the deadline than he did a month ago.

But Kendrick does have some appeal for a team looking to add an arm to the back of its rotation. He could be had for relatively little, he's an innings eater and he comes relatively cheap -- he'll be owed $2.56 million over the season's final two months and becomes a free agent this winter.

Kendrick has already faced Atlanta twice this year, going 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA, 14 strikeouts and three walks in 15 innings. In his career, KK is 8-3 with a 3.32 ERA against the Braves. He's even better at Turner Field -- 4-0 with a 2.47 ERA in 12 games (seven starts).

4. Young lefty
The Phillies will face a tough challenge in Atlanta starter Alex Wood (6-7, 3.36). The young left-hander may officially be the Braves' fifth starter, but he certainly doesn't pitch like one.

Wood was bounced from starter to reliever in early May by Gavin Floyd and briefly demoted to Triple A to build up his arm strength as a starter again. He rejoined the rotation last month when Floyd got hurt and is 1-1 with a 3.20 ERA, 19 strikeouts and eight walks in four games (25 1/3 innings) since.

A second-round pick in 2012, the 23-year-old throws a low-90s fastball, a low-80s changeup and a knuckle curve in the high 70s. As a starter overall, he's 3-6 with a 3.07 ERA in 11 games.

He tossed a gem against the Phillies on April 17 but was tagged with the loss in a complete-game effort (8 IP, 1 R, 8 H, 7 K, 1 BB). Current Phils, however, are batting .305 against him.

5. This and that
• Carlos Ruiz, who could return to the Phillies next week, went 1 for 4 with Clearwater on Saturday. Ruiz caught five innings from first-round pick Aaron Nola and was behind the plate for seven in all (see story).

• Darin Ruf (1 for 7) and Freddy Galvis (2 for 4) played with Lehigh Valley on Saturday. Maikel Franco also went 3 for 7 on the day.

Braves vs. Kendrick: Freddie Freeman (8 for 22, HR), Justin Upton (6 for 20, 2 HR), Jason Heyward (5 for 28, 7 K)

Phillies vs. Wood: Revere (4 for 6), Marlon Byrd (4 for 10), Chase Utley (4 for 9), Rollins (0 for 11)

• Ruben Amaro Jr. is even more mum than usual on trade speculation, which means something could be brewing on the market (see story).

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