The NL East standings has a new look, as both of tonight’s teams are heading in opposite directions.
Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves
Philadelphia was knocked out of first place in the National League East for the first time since May 1, after Monday’s 9-3 loss to Atlanta at Turner Field. “We seem to go through down periods the last couple of years at the end of May and Interleague in June,” said closer Brad Lidge. The Phillies have lost seven of their last nine games and enters Tuesday having scored just 10 runs over that span (-677). This is vastly different from a team that started the month with an NL-best 12-3 record. Philadelphia finds itself as an underdog for the third straight games, as the team is a dominating 31-19 the last three years as a road underdog of +100 to +125 (+1,560).
Phillies SP Cole Hamels is 8-4 with a 4.02 ERA in 15 career outings against the Braves (+30), including a 4-2 mark and a 4.09 ERA at Turner Field. The Phillies are 9-3 in his last 12 outings against the Braves, with Hamels compiling an 8-2 mark and 4.03 ERA in that span. The left-hander continued his career dominance in May this year, going 3-1 with a 2.45 ERA in five starts. His success slips a little in the month of June historically, posting a losing 7-9 mark and 3.96 ERA. He will have his hands full with the middle of the Braves’ lineup, as 3B Chipper Jones is hitting .409 (9-22) against him and C Brian McCann checks in with a .344 (11-32) batting average.
Atlanta posted a fantastic 20-8 record in May with Monday’s victory and continued its great success at home. The Braves are 17-6 at Turner Field this season (+820), including a perfect 8-0 during the day. The offense averaged a National League-high 5.9 runs during the course of the month, as the total in their games is now 24-23-4 on the season. It’s been so good offensively lately, Atlanta has scored seven or more runs in six of their last 11 games overall. Since May 18, the team has climbed from last place in its division to leading the NL East by a half game.
Braves SP Tim Hudson went just four innings in his previous start, but had completed at least six innings in seven straight starts. The veteran right-hander has yet to allow more than three earned runs this season (6-4 O/U) and Atlanta is 5-1 in his past six starts (+373). Hudson brings in a 4-7 career mark with a respectable 3.75 ERA in 16 starts against Philadelphia. He faced them just once last season, picking up the loss after allowing just three runs and six hits over seven innings. Philadelphia will find it hard to break out of its current power slump, given that Hudson has yet to allow a home run at Turner Field in 20.2 innings of work thus far in 2010.
This is a tough matchup when considering the pitching matchup, but both teams differ greatly in one significant category. Philadelphia is 23-14 (+520) when facing a right-handed starter this season, while Atlanta is just 9-8 (-30) against southpaws