Sunday, May 8, 2011
Posted: 2 p.m.
Phillies (22-10) vs. Braves (19-16), 8 p.m. on ESPN
Phillies: Cole Hamels (4-1, 2.66) The lefty has been dominant since struggling in his season debut, going 4-0 in his last five starts. He pitched a five-hitter in Tuesdays win over the Nats. In his first start of the season against the Braves, Hamels allowed four hits in seven scoreless innings in a 3-0 win on April 10.
Braves: Jair Jurrjens (3-0, 1.52) The young righty has been stellar the entire season, affording opponents just a .231 average through four starts. He allowed two runs in 7 23 innings in Mondays win over the Brewers. Jurrjens hasnt faced the Phils this year but has made nine career starts against them, going 3-3 with a 2.56 ERA.
The Phillies dropped a 5-0 decision in the first game of the series on Friday night before recovering to win 3-0 on Saturday night. Kyle Kendrick and four relievers combined on a shutout, while Ryan Howard belted his 260th career home run, putting him in second place on the Phillies all-time list.
Julio Teheran made his major league debut for the Braves, tossing 4 23 innings and yielding three runs and four hits.
The Phils won two of three against the Braves in Atlanta last month, allowing a total of two runs over the final two games of the series. They are 3-2 against the Braves this season.
Shane Victorino has a 10-game hitting streak. Jimmy Rollins stole his eighth base of the season Saturday night. He has only been caught once. Rookie Michael Stutes has quietly not allowed a run in five appearances (4 13 innings) with the Phils. And Ryan Madson has tossed seven straight scoreless outings (7 innings).
For the Braves, lefty George Sherrill hasnt allowed a run in his last eight appearances. Meanwhile, Brian McCann has hit safely in eight straight games.
Not many Phillies have good numbers against Jurrjens. Rollins is 4-for-26, Raul Ibanez is 2-for-11 and Victorino is 5-for-25. The best of the bunch is Wilson Valdez (4-for-6). On the other side of the fence, Chipper Jones is a .333 career hitter against Hamels (9-for-27), while Dan Uggla is 6-for-40 (.150) against him. The Phillies are 3-0 in rubber games this season, including a win over the Braves in Atlanta last month. Can Hamels continue to emerge as the Phillies most consistent starter? ... After managing a total of three runs in the first two games of the series, is the Phils capable of breaking out against one of the best young pitchers in the NL?
In your opinion, has Hamels been the Phillies best pitcher this season?