The Braves lost a game last night they couldn't afford to lose. It was a fairly even one, but the Phillies were just better, something symptomatic of the season in general. Atlanta will look to regain the game they lost last night in today's matinee game. My cable guide says I should be able to watch it, but I'm about 90% positive that a Yankees or Red Sox game will preempt it.
Ken Kawakami, my homeboy from the Far East, will oppose yet another team's ace. For most pitchers, this would be an undesireable trend, but Kawakami seems to rise to the occasion and throw his best against the top pitchers in the league. He's coming of a great start agaisnt the Dodgers, throwing a scoreless 7 innings, and, though his record doesn't show it, he's been pitching better since the All-Star break.
The other team's ace, Phillies lefty Cole Hamels, hasn't pitched like an ace this season, and is coming off of two very poor starts, allowing 10 earned runs in 10.1 innings. It's surprising that the Phillies have been able to suceed with their ace taking a huge step back in his development, and with their 5th starter spot so woefull that they had to turn to a completely washed up Pedro Martinez, but somehow they have.
There's no two ways about it, the Braves need to win this game. A loss puts them 7 games out of the division with 46 games to go, a tall order, especially with the Marlins still ahead of them. Likewise, an Atlanta loss coupled with a Rockies win would put the Braves 4.5 games out of the Wild Card, still with the Giants and Marlins ahead of them. After this weekend, the Braves have 6 games against the Phillies and 10 games against the Marlins, so they have the power to make headway in the division, but they can't afford to give away any games, especially head-to-head..
Phillies lead the series 1-0
|Fri 08/14|| WP: Ryan Madson (4 - 4) |
SV: Brad Lidge
LP: Rafael Soriano (1 - 4)
|2 - 3 loss|
Saturday, Aug 15, 2009, 4:10 PM EDT
Cole Hamels vs Kenshin Kawakami
Partly cloudy. Winds blowing in from right field at 5-10 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 85.
|Sun 08/16||8:05 PM EDT|