The Braves begin a three game series in Philadelphia this weekend, and, like every series, the outcome will be huge in determinint if the Braves play in the post season this year. There's some logic that says that sitting 7 games back with only 35 games left that the Braves don't have much hope of catching the Phillies for the Eastern Divison. Well, including this weekend's series, the two teams play head-to-head 6 times before the end of the season. As unlikely as it is, if the Braves could win all of those head-to-head games, they could really make a run at the divison title. Even if they don't sweep the Phils for the rest of the year, Atlanta needs to win every game possible for the rest of the season to even have a chance at the Wild Card, where they're currently 4.5 games back.
Toeing the rubber tonight for Atlanta will be rookie stud Tommy Hanson. Hanson has been as good as advertised this season, racking up 9 wins since being recalled from Gwinnett in early June. Even though he's been striking out fewer batters than he had been at AAA, Tommy has been a stabilizing and invigorating part of the Atlanta rotation. He's coming off of 4 straigh quality starts, allowing just 8 runs over 25.2 innings.
The young gun will be opposed by the old pistol, as 37 year old Pedro Martinez takes the mound for the Phillies. It's amazing that Philadelphia could be so good this season while having such a huge hole in their rotation that they needed to turn to a player who hadn't pitched since last year. What's even more amazing is that Martinez has been effective, winning 2 of the 3 games he's pitched in while striking out 13 in 14 innings. Of course, the Phillies' offense has something to do with that, as none of those starts have been quality starts; for example, Martinez allowed 4 runs over 6 innings his last time out, numbers that an Atlanta starter likely couldn't post and walk away with a win.
Every game for the rest of the year is a must win, so the Braves, well, must win. Hopefully Chipper Jones' 2 for 3 performance last night is an indication that he's breaking out of his slump, because without him performing like himself, no matter what the rest of the team does, the Braves won't have much of any chance at the post season.
3 game series vs Phillies @ Citizens Bank Park
|Sat 08/29||7:05 PM EDT|
|Sun 08/30||8:05 PM EDT|