The final game of the Phillies-Braves series will be played tonight at Citizens Bank Park, starting at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phils (22-19) will be sending out their ace, Cole Hamels (4-3, 3.36), who is coming off of a shaky start against the Giants on May 9, where he pitched seven innings, giving up four earned runs on six hits while striking out seven in the Phils’ 7-4 win. Although he has won two of his last three starts, his ERA has been steadily climbing since his third start of the season. He will need to improve both his record and his ERA as he faces the Braves (20-19), against whom he has a lifetime record of 3-2 in six starts, with him going 3-0 against them last year, with an ERA of 4.42. The Braves’ starter for tonight’s game will be Chuck James (2-2, 7.58), who is coming off a lost to the Pirates on May 10, where he went six innings, giving up five earned runs on five hits, in the Braves’ 5-2 lost. In the four games that he has so far started for the Braves this season, he has given up at least four earned runs in three of them. He will be looking to improve his season record while the Phils will be looking to increase his ERA totals.
At the moment, the series is at 1-1, with the Phils banging up both left handed starters who has so far been sent against them, although they have only roughed up both Reyes and Glavine in the middle innings. The Phils need to get to James’ early in the game, while Hamels needs to keep the Braves from scoring and silent Chipper Jones’ presently hot bat for the Phils to win.
Edit: Chipper Jones is not in the Braves’ starting line-up tonight with a sore groin, so Hamels won’t have to worry about facing his hot bat. Anyway, what a way to cool him off. Ouch!!!And Hamels has just gotten through the first inning, giving up only a single to Omar Infante.
The second place Phillies are presently 1.5 games behind the first place Marlins in the National League East, as the final game of the fish’s four games series with the Reds was postponed due to rain. They are presently a full game ahead of both the Mets, who have just lost three of four to the fifth place Nationals, and the Braves. They hope to gain a half-game on the Florida Marlins tonight while putting some distance between them and both the Mets and the Braves with a win tonight.
The Phils will continue the home stand with a three games Interleague series against the Toronto Blue Jays, followed by a road trip to Washington to face the Nationals for three games in their brand new stadium, followed by four more in Houston against the Astros.