The Braves have traveled across the Keystone state hoping to carry some momentum from a win in Pittsburgh across to the city of Brotherly Love. We’ll be watching Jo-Jo Reyes (1-0, 2.25) face off against Kyle Kendrick (2-2, 4.93) today, Glavine (0-1, 4.03) and Brett Myers (2-3, 5.33) tomorrow, and Chuck James (2-2, 7.58) on Thursday. Please note: Three Lefties. Charlie Manuel noted that the Phillies offense against LHPs isn’t too strong and it will certainly be quite the obstacle to overcome in this series. The Phillies are currently a game ahead of the Braves in the NL East and a few wins in this series would be clutch for the Bravos:
Reason 1: Road-wins are rare occurrences these days. Sure, the Braves fought off the Pirates’ sweep attempt, but much of that can be attributed to Hudson’s consistency and a few great hits. The Braves aren’t playing poorly on the road, but they are leaving too many runners on base, and are keeping up the one-run-losses. Road morale can’t be phenomenal, and since the Phillies are such strong NL East opponents, it is clutch to win here to lift some spirits. Ever notice how fabulously Chipper Jones is playing this season? It’s because he started strong and has continued strong… no better way to build confidence and produce results. This is something we need across the entire lineup – both offensively and defensively.
Reason 2: We need to show that our “veteran” pitchers still have it going on, but with Reyes and James pitching games 1 and 3 of this series, it’d be nice to see a few innings pitched by the guys we need to count on for the rest of the season in terms of both health and successful showings. I want to see James pitch a little better, I’m not stunned by a 7.58 ERA, and this is a great chance for him to prove himself.
Reason 3: We need to prove one of two things: we can recover from injuries, or we can succeed without injured players. Tex is having back spasms, Francoeur’s foot woes have been a concern, our pitchers seem to live on the DL.
Here are some things to look forward to, though. The Phils are on a losing streak themselves, losing three of their last four games. In all of these losing games, they scored three or less runs. Their big bats of Chase Utley and Pat Burrell (and a typical powerhouse Ryan Howard who hasn’t been as hot, but had his fourth triple on Sunday) weren’t as big in the last series, and are now looking at a 21-18 record. The Braves need to ensure that the defense takes care of these heavy hitters, because sure enough they will come alive again.
Tags: Philadelphia Phillies, Series Preview
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