After three weeks of nonstop baseball, the Braves finally had a day of rest but are back to action this weekend at home against the Phillies. Atlanta will try to finish August and begin September on a positive note after a disappointing 4-6 road trip during which the team hit just .225. The team heads into this series 5.5 games behind Washington in the NL East and with a three-game lead over St. Louis for the top Wild Card spot. The Phillies have won eight of their last 12 and will try to spoil Atlanta's playoff hopes the last month of the season.
As has been stated by several sources (here's one), Cole Hamels has indeed been announced as Sunday's starter. Hamels was scratched from his scheduled Wednesday start because of a stomach illness but will return to the rotation in this series. Aren't those Braves a lucky bunch?
The Braves will also see Cliff Lee for the first time this year. Lee has had a very unfortunate season; he's had to deal with poor run support at times and zero wins through his first 13 starts before finally earning his first of the year on July 4. The 22 home runs he's allowed are the most he's allowed since 2006 (29). Including that first win, Lee has posted a 3.11 ERA over his last 10 starts and issued just one walk in five August starts covering 36.1 innings.
On offense, Philadelphia's big three of Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are hitting a combined .240 (73-304) for the month of August. The real hitting star of the month, though, has been Kevin Frandsen. The third baseman has been on a tear, hitting .350 this month and .355 in his 29 games; he has not gone more than a single game without a hit this year and has 10 multi-hit games. The team is hitting .255 overall, seventh in the NL.
Pitching matchups after the jump.
Friday, August 31, 7:35 p.m. ET
#36 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
Dec 26, 1987
|2012 - Mike Minor||7-10||24||24||0||0||0||0||143.1||131||81||75||24||46||114||4.71||1.23|
#34 / Pitcher / Philadelphia Phillies
May 14, 1977
|2012 - Roy Halladay||8-7||19||19||0||0||0||0||125.1||116||54||54||11||20||101||3.88||1.09|
Saturday, September 1, 4:05 p.m. ET
#15 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
Jul 14, 1975
|2012 - Tim Hudson||13-4||22||22||1||1||0||0||141.0||129||60||56||9||40||85||3.57||1.20|
#33 / Pitcher / Philadelphia Phillies
Aug 30, 1978
|2012 - Cliff Lee||3-7||23||23||0||0||0||0||161.2||163||69||66||22||25||156||3.67||1.16|
Sunday, September 2, 5:05 p.m. ET
#17 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
Jun 25, 1982
|2012 - Paul Maholm||2-3||5||5||1||1||0||0||36.2||29||10||10||6||7||31||2.45||0.98|
#35 / Pitcher / Philadelphia Phillies
Dec 27, 1983
|2012 - Cole Hamels||14-6||25||25||2||2||0||0||177.1||154||65||59||21||45||172||2.99||1.12|