The Phillies are in need of a big run before the All-Star break and hope their talented left-hander delivers in the second game of this three-game series.
Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta dropped the series opener 3-1 to the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Braves have now lost two straight games, but are still 9-7 in their last 16 games overall. Atlanta’s pitching staff has been outstanding this year, ranking fifth in the majors with a 3.67 ERA and sixth in the majors with a .247 opponents’ batting average. Monday’s contest continued to display the lineup’s struggles against the division, as the team is averaging 3.4 runs per game and a combined batting average of .235. Those marks are well off the team’s season averages of 4.7 runs and a .259 average respectively. Atlanta has dropped below .500 with the loss against NL East opponents (13-14, -1,590), but the team is still 9-3 in their last 12 against the division.
Braves starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens is 1-3 with a 5.59 ERA in six starts this season, picking up his first victory of the season last time out. In that home game against the Washington Nationals, he lasted the minimum in allowing a single run and six hits. The right-hander is 0-3 with a 11.45 ERA in three road starts, giving up an incredible 14 runs and striking out just four in 11 innings of work. Jurrjens will be making his nine lifetime start against the Phillies, posting an even 3-3 mark and 2.35 ERA. He is a dominating 2-1 with a 1.30 ERA in four outings at Citizens Bank Park, giving up just 19 hits and a single home run in 27.2 frames.
Philadelphia was in desperate need of a victory against the division leaders and they got one with the help of their ace on the mound. Starting pitcher Roy Halladay allowed five hits and struck out seven to record his second straight complete game in a 3-1 home victory over the Atlanta Braves. The Phillies moved within a game of .500 in in July (-260), hoping this is the start of something big. The club posted a dominating 20-7 record during the month on its way to a second-consecutive pennant in 2009. Manager Charlie Manuel’s team is 21-15 at Citizens Bank Park this season (-380), posting a 3.77 team ERA in the process, which is the second-lowest mark among divisional teams (ATL – 3.29).
Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels is 6-7 with a 4.07 ERA in 16 starts this season, with the team dropping his last three contests. The left-hander has allowed 11 earned runs and 17 hits in 18 innings over that span. Hamels has put up solid career numbers in July, going 9-5 with a 3.76 ERA in 22 starts. He will be making his 17th career start against the Braves, going 8-5 with a 4.28 ERA. On June 1 in Atlanta, he tallied the shortest start of his career due to rain, allowing three runs and two hits over just two-thirds of an inning.
Bettors may want to play the home favorite in this contest, as the Braves stand at 12-13 against left-handers this year (-260) and 63-68 the last three seasons (-1,500). Atlanta is also 1-4 in its last five road games versus a southpaw starter. Philadelphia falls into a comfy spot with Hamels on the hill, with the team being 5-1 in his last six starts as a favorite of this type.