The Phillies kick off their three-game series against National League East rival and division leader Atlanta Braves tonight at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies enter play eight and a half games behind the Braves for the division lead. But, the Braves have the same record as the current second wild card, the Cincinnati Reds at 49-36.
Tim Hudson starts for the Braves coming off a mediocre start against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Hudson lasted five and two-thirds innings while giving up four earned runs. He would go on to get a no-decision as the Braves would go on to win 11-5. For the season Hudson is 4-7 with a 4.22 ERA. His current ERA is second-worse in his career, behind his 2006 season in which he pitched to a 4.86 ERA. The 37 year-old Hudson has never had a losing season in his major league career.
UPDATE: Tim Hudson has been scratched. Lefty Paul Maholm will start in his place.
Cliff Lee takes the mound for the Phillies tonight, still looking for his 10th win. Lee has not lost in his last 11 outings, though he has four no-decisions in his last nine starts. A 10th win would help Lee's cause when it comes time for All Star selections. Lee's ERA of 2.59 is ninth in the National League. Nine wins is good enough to be tied for fourth in the National League. His WAR of 4.5 is tied with Adam Wainright for second behind Clayton Kershaw at 5.1.
Cliff Lee will have to face a lineup that has been perhaps more frustrating than that of the Phillies.
After a torrid April start in which fans were anointing newly-acquired Justin Upton as National League MVP, his time since has been an absolute bust. After hitting .298 in April with 12 home runs, Upton hit .211 in May, followed by a .226 June and .250 so far in July. He has hit three home runs and driven in 18 runs since his April start. Sitting now at .245 with 15 home runs, Upton ranked third in All-Star voting last update.
The other Upton, B.J., has managed to play worse. B.J. Upton is hitting just .175 on the season with eight home runs and 19 RBI. He lost some playing time of late to Jordan Schafer, now on the disabled list.
- Jimmy Rollins holds the honor of facing Braves starter Tim Hudson more than any other player. Rollins is 18 for 81 (.222 batting average) with five walks against Hudson.
- Tim Hudson is right-handed, so Ryan Howard is not being "rested" tonight.
- Outfielder Jordan Schafer was put on the 15-day disabled lists for the Braves yesterday. He was playing frequently during B.J. Upton's struggles.
- Cliff Lee in his last five outings against the Braves: 38 IP, 26 H, 3 ER, 36 K, 1 BB, 0.71 ERA (courtesy John Finger of CSN Philly).
- Michael Young 3B
- Chase Utley 2B
- Jimmy Rollins SS
- Ryan Howard 1B
- Domonic Brown LF
- Delmon Young RF
- Ben Revere CF
- Humberto Quintero C
- Jonathan Pettibone P.
- Andrelton Simmons SS
- Jason Heyward RF
- Justin Upton LF
- Freddie Freeman 1B
- Chris Johnson 3B
- Dan Uggla 2B
- B.J. Upton CF
- Gerald Laird C
- Tim HudsonPaul Maholm SP
First Pitch Forecast: Partly Cloudy - 87° - 0% PoP
Radio: 94 WIP, 1210 WPHT.
Erik Seybold is off today... something about a car crashing into the pole carrying the line that carries his cable or something. I call shenanigans.