Phillies Vs. Braves, Game Three: Cole Hamels Shuts Down Atlanta Offense In 3-0 Phillies Win

The Braves host the Phillies for three games in Atlanta's home-opening series.

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Phillies Vs. Braves: Cole Hamels Ignores History In Shutout Victory Over Braves

Sunday, April 10
(7-2) Philadelphia Phillies - 3
(4-6) Atlanta Braves - 0

Box Score
Play-By-Play

Video Highlights

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Cole Hamels Bucks the Trend in Rubber Game Win:
Hamels had history going against him in Sunday's game against the Braves. Several Atlanta hitters have had success against the left-hander in the past. Brian McCann was 12-37 with six doubles, a homer and 11 RBI. Martin Prado was 10-32 with three doubles, one homer and three RBI. Chipper Jones was 9-24 with four doubles, two homers and six RBI, including six walks. Aside from Jason Heyward, who was 1-4 against him in his career, this is the core of the Atlanta lineup, and having your offensive core with solid numbers against a pitcher usually bodes well.

Another factor that was on the Braves' side was Hamels' last start, in which he went 2.2 innings, allowing six runs on seven hits against the Mets.

However, Hamels shut down the core of the Braves offense, as well as the rest of it. Chipper was 0-4, McCann was 0-4, Prado was 1-4 with two strikeouts and Heyward was 1-3.

The Braves were in the game the entire way due to Derek Lowe's solid seven innings of two-run ball, but they couldn't manage to drive in a run despite several chances. Their first hit was a one-out double in the fourth by Nate McLouth, but it led to nothing after two straight outs by Chipper and McCann. Freddie Freeman singled to lead off the sixth and moved to second on a sac bunt, but Prado struck out and Chipper grounded out.

Heyward and Alex Gonzalez hit consecutive singles with two outs in the seventh, but Freeman grounded out. Prado singled with one out in the eighth but was erased by a McLouth double play.

Stat of the Day:
Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino recorded nine hits, one home run and three RBI in the series. The Braves had 11 hits in the final two games of the series.

WPA Winners:
(PHI) Cole Hamels: .440
(PHI) Shane Victorino: .193
(PHI) Ryan Madson: .085

WPA Losers:
(ATL) Chipper Jones: -.139
(ATL) Brian McCann: -.129
(ATL) Dan Uggla: -.080

The Game Changer:
Shane Victorino's solo home run in the sixth put the Phillies ahead 2-0, worth .122 WPA.

Game graph courtesy of FanGraphs:

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Phillies fans check out The Good Phight.

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Phillies Vs. Braves Final Score: Cole Hamels Shuts Down Atlanta Offense In 3-0 Phillies Win

The Braves were shut down offensively in the rubber game with the Phillies, losing 3-0 behind seven shutout innings by Cole Hamels.

Hamels allowed four hits - three singles - over seven shutout innings, walking one and striking out eight. He induced seven ground balls, six fly balls and three line drives. His .440 WPA is easily the best in the game.

The Phillies scored their first run in the fourth when back-to-back singles by Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco set up a run on a double play by Jimmy Rollins. The other Philly run came in the sixth in the form of a solo home run by Victorino.

The Braves had five hits as a team but couldn't buy a run. Nate McLouth doubled in the fourth for the team's first hit, but he was left on after a flyout by Chipper Jones and sharp grounder to Hamels by Brian McCann. Freddie Freeman singled to lead off the sixth and moved to second on a bunt, but Martin Prado struck out and Chipper grounded out to end the inning.

Consecutive two-out singles by Jason Heyward and Alex Gonzalez put Heyward on third in the seventh, but Freeman grounded out to end the inning. Prado singled in the eighth but McLouth grounded into a double play. The Braves were in the game all day long but never brought home a run.

Derek Lowe received the tough-luck loss with seven solid innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, not walking any and striking out two. He didn't show the same big strikeout ability or moving sinker, but he held the Phillies to two runs. Lowe allowed 11 ground balls to seven fly balls and six line drives. He posted a .068 WPA.

Victorino went 3-4 with a homer and RBI. Carlos Ruiz added two hits.

Jonny Venters pitched a scoreless eighth with three ground balls. Craig Kimbrel gave up a run in the ninth when Rollins led off with a double, advanced to third on an error and scored on a groundout by Ryan Howard.

Ryan Madson pitched a scoreless eighth and Jose Contreras did the same in the ninth.

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Phillies fans check out The Good Phight.

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Phillies Vs. Braves: Atlanta Turns To Derek Lowe In Rubber Game With Philly

The Braves and Phillies face off in the rubber game of the home-opening series for Atlanta. Game time is 1:35 on Fox Sports South.

Phillies Lineup:
1. Shane Victorino, CF
2. Placido Polanco, 3B
3. Jimmy Rollins, SS
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Ben Francisco, RF
6. Raul Ibanez, LF
7. Carlos Ruiz, C
8. Michael Martinez, 2B
9. Cole Hamels, SP

Braves Lineup:
1. Martin Prado, LF
2. Nate McLouth, CF
3. Chipper Jones, 3B
4. Brian McCann, C
5. Dan Uggla, 2B
6. Jason Heyward, RF
7. Alex Gonzalez, SS
8. Freddie Freeman, 1B
9. Derek Lowe, SP

Cole Hamels (2010: 208.2 IP, 3.06 ERA, 3.67 FIP, 3.28 xFIP, 2.63 BB/9, 9.1 K/9, 45.4 GB%, 11.9 SwStr%)
(54.4 FB%, 25 CT%, 19.1 CH%, 1.5 CB%; 36.8 Swing%, 80 Contact%)
vs.
Derek Lowe (11.2 IP, 0.77 ERA, 2.20 FIP, 2.66 xFIP, 3.86 BB/9, 10.03 K/9, 58.8 GB%, 8.2 SwStr%)
(46.2 FB%, 30.7 SL%, 17.5 CH%, 5.7 CT%; 40 Swing%, 76.2 Contact%)

Cole Hamels had the second worst start of his career in his season debut against the Mets, allowing six runs on seven hits in 2.2 innings. If anything, it kept Hamels fresh for his second start as he threw only 68 pitches. He is coming off a solid 2010 season in which he returned to 200+ innings with a 9.1 K/9, his highest strikeout rate since his rookie season. Hamels has almost completely ditched the curveball and continues to back off the changeup, but he is throwing the same number of fastballs and a considerable amount of cutters. His confidence in the cutter seems to be growing with every start.

Derek Lowe continues to post career-best strikeout numbers through two starts due to a major increase in slider counts. His 30.7% slider count is up from 16.1% last season, though the plan to throw more sliders began last September. Lowe has been a completely different pitcher so far this season and looks to keep it going against the Phillies.

Opposing Numbers:
Despite being a left-hander, Brian McCann has done damage against Cole Hamels, going 12-37 with six doubles, one homer and 11 RBI. Martin Prado and Chipper Jones also have averages over .300 in their careers against Hamels, including two homers for Chipper. The rest of the lineup has not fared well against him, especially Dan Uggla at 6-37.

Derek Lowe has dominated the Phillies hitters in the past. Shane Victorino and Raul Ibanez have averages below .100 against him, while Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins are below .250. Howard and Ibanez are the only ones with production numbers, recording six RBI each. The only Phillies with any success against Lowe are Carlos Ruiz at 5-16 and Placido Polanco at 2-3 with a double.

What to Look For:
Lowe has history on his side due to the solid numbers against Philly hitters in his career. He also has momentum on his side after back-to-back great outings to start the season. The Braves need another one from Lowe today.

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Phillies Vs. Braves: Philly Catchers Do Damage Against Atlanta To Split Series

Saturday, April 9

(6-2) Philadelphia Phillies - 10

(4-5) Atlanta Braves - 2

Box Score

Play-By-Play

Video Highlights

Photos

Phillies Catchers Doing Damage Against the Braves:

As mentioned in the game preview, the Braves seemed lucky to miss Carlos Ruiz because he was 3-4 with two doubles and two RBI in his career against Brandon Beachy. However, Ruiz still managed to do serious damage against Atlanta despite not starting or even facing Beachy.

With the bases loaded and no outs in the seventh, Ruiz pinch hit for Roy Oswalt and launched a grand slam off Scott Linebrink for a five-run lead. The play was worth .113 WPA. Ruiz later added a RBI double in the eighth off Cristhian Martinez to push the lead to seven runs. Despite not starting and only getting two plate appearances, Ruiz totaled a .118 WPA, which was fourth-highest in the game.

Starting catcher Brian Schneider provided the biggest swing in the game when he hit a two-run home run off Beachy in the fourth to give the Phillies a one-run lead. The play was worth .253 WPA. It was Schneider's only hit, but the swing in WPA from the homer resulted in a game-high .232 WPA for the catcher. The two Philly catchers proved to be the most valuable hitters and two of the three most valuable Phillies in the game.

Stat of the Day:

Two catchers homering for the same team in the same game has happened 37 times since 1919 (h/t Baseball-Reference)

WPA Winners:

(PHI) Brian Schneider: .232

(ATL) Alex Gonzalez: .133

(PHI) Roy Oswalt: .128

WPA Losers:

(ATL) Jason Heyward: -.174

(ATL) Brandon Beachy: -.141

(ATL) Scott Linebrink: -.124

The Game Changer:

Schneider's two-run homer in the fourth gave the Phillies a 3-2 lead, worth .253 WPA.

Game graph courtesy of FanGraphs:

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Phillies fans check out The Good Phight.

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Phillies Vs. Braves, Minor League Report: Arodys Vizcaino Overcomes Early Trouble For Solid Season Debut

The last of the top pitching prospects in the Braves system made his season debut for A+ Lynchburg on Saturday night, and he followed the pattern of the previous pitchers with a solid performance.

AAA: Durham 2, Gwinnett 1

The Braves were shut down offensively again, managing just one run. Jordan Schafer was the lone bright spot on offense with a single and two walks, scoring the lone run. Willie Cabrera drove him in on a double. Ed Lucas is now 0-9 while Diory Hernandez is 1-12.

Todd Redmond allowed two runs on seven hits in six innings, walking two and striking out two. One of the runs was a leadoff homer in the first inning by Desmond Jennings, who went 2-3. Redmond gave up two doubles but pitched well, inducing 10 groundouts in the game.

Cory Gearrin pitched two scoreless innings in relief, and Juan Abreu added a scoreless inning.

AA: Mississippi 6, Jackson 5

Catcher Ryan Query made the most of his AA debut, going 2-2 with a homer and RBI. Gerardo Rodriguez added a home run, and several other Braves added a RBI, including Tyler Pastornicky and Cory Harrilchak; the latter picked up two singles.

Paul Clemens gave up four runs on four hits in five innings, walking two and striking out seven. Two of his four hits allowed were for extra bases, including a two-run home run by Georgia-product Rich Poythress. Clemens had the strikeout stuff going, however.

Michael Broadway allowed a run in two innings, but he struck out three. Jaye Chapman struck out two in two scoreless innings.

A+ Lynchburg 6, Potomac 5

Arodys Vizcaino impressed in his season debut, allowing two runs on three hits in five innings, walking one and striking out six. He induced five groundouts to three flyouts.

Vizcaino ran into trouble to begin the game, allowing both runs in the first inning on two singles and a double. But he settled in and retired nine in a row at one point. Following a fourth-inning walk, he set down the rest of the batters he faced through five innings.

Vizcaino likely won't remain in Lynchburg long, especially if he continues the high strikeout rate. Look for him to continue to record big strikeout totals in A+.

David Hale struggled in relief, allowing three runs on four hits in 2.1 innings. All three runs came on a home run by Steven Souza.

Phil Gosselin drove in three runs on a double, his only hit. Robert Hefflinger and Joe Leonard each had two singles.

A: Hagerstown 3, Rome 2

Keenan Wiley recorded a RBI triple for Rome, and Christian Bethancourt added a RBI. Edward Salcedo added a single and walk.

Steve Kent allowed two runs on three hits in four innings, walking two and striking out three. Chasen Shreve allowed a run on two hits in three innings, but he struck out five. Tyler Stovall gave up three hits in two scoreless innings.

Matt Lipka was apparently taken out of the game for something not injury related. Considering I don't know what caused it and I'm not about to guess, I'll leave it at that and continue to look for the answer.

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Phillies Vs. Braves: Carlos Ruiz Slams Phillies To 10-2 Victory

After battling back and forth for six innings, the Phillies broke through with five runs in the seventh in route to a 10-2 win over the Braves.

The Phillies started the scoring in the first with a RBI single by Ben Francisco. The Braves took the lead in the third on RBI singles by Freddie Freeman and Martin Prado. But the Phillies answered back in the fourth on a two-run home run by Brian Schneider to give them a one-run lead.

The Braves wasted opportunities in the fifth and sixth innings. Alex Gonzalez doubled in the fifth but was left. A single and two walks loaded the bases with two outs for Jason Heyward in the sixth, but he popped out.

The Phillies broke through in the seventh on a pinch-hit grand slam by Carlos Ruiz, giving them a five-run lead. A Ryan Howard RBI double in the same inning made it six runs. The Phillies tacked on two more in the eighth for a 10-2 lead.

Brandon Beachy allowed four runs on seven hits in six innings, walking two and striking out two. Beachy's strikeout stuff wasn't there, and his command was spotty at times as he allowed several hard hit balls. Three of the seven hits were for extra bases. Beachy gave up six ground balls, eight fly balls and six line drives. His final WPA sat at -.141.

George Sherrill gave up a hit and walk in relief of Beachy in the sixth without recording an out. That loaded the bases for Ruiz, who hit the grand slam off Scott Linebrink. Both Sherrill and Linebrink were charged with two runs. Cristhian Martinez allowed two runs on four hits in two innings.

Freeman recorded the lone RBI for the Braves. Gonzalez had two doubles. Brian McCann and Dan Uggla each had a walk as part of an offense that managed just six hits. Once again, the team only struck out twice, but they had just four line drives compared to 16 ground balls.

Roy Oswalt allowed two runs on five hits in six innings, walking two and striking out two. He induced 11 ground balls, six fly balls and two line drives. His final WPA of .128 was good for third best in the game. David Herndon, J.C. Romero and Danys Baez each had a scoreless inning.

Victorino went 4-5 with two doubles and one RBI. Ruiz went 2-2 with a double, homer and five RBI. Schneider picked up a homer and two RBI. Howard and Francisco added one RBI each.

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Phillies fans check out The Good Phight.

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Phillies Vs. Braves: Braves Go For Two Straight Against Phillies

The Braves are looking for two straight wins against the Phillies as Brandon Beachy makes his second start of the season. The game starts at 1:10 on FOX.

Phillies Lineup:

1. Shane Victorino, CF

2. Placido Polanco, 3B

3. Jimmy Rollins, SS

4. Ryan Howard, 1B

5. Ben Francisco, RF

6. Raul Ibanez, LF

7. Brian Schneider, C

8. Wilson Valdez, 2B

9. Roy Oswalt, SP

Braves Lineup:

1. Martin Prado, LF

2. Nate McLouth, CF

3. Chipper Jones, 3B

4. Brian McCann, C

5. Dan Uggla, 2B

6. Jason Heyward, RF

7. Alex Gonzalez, SS

8. Freddie Freeman, 1B

9. Brandon Beachy, SP

Roy Oswalt (2010: 211.2 IP, 2.76 ERA, 3.27 FIP, 3.31 xFIP, 2.34 BB/9, 8.21 K/9, 45.7 GB%, 9.7 SwStr%)

(55.4 FB%, 15.1 CH%, 14.8 SL%, 14.7 CB%; 47.5 Swing%, 79.1 Contact%)

vs.
Brandon Beachy (2010: AA: 74.1 IP, 1.45 ERA, 2.00 FIP, 2.66 BB/9, 12.11 K/9)
(AAA: 45.2 IP, 2.17 ERA, 2.19 FIP, 1.18 BB/9, 9.46 K/9)
(MLB: 15 IP, 3.00 ERA, 2.48 FIP, 3.78 xFIP, 4.20 BB/9, 9 K/9)

Roy Oswalt posted the best K/9 of his career last season at 8.21 K/9, and he kept the BB/9 low at 2.34 BB/9. The reason for the increase in strikeouts was an increase in whiff rate and decrease in contact rate. Much of this came from a huge jump in the value of his changeup. He threw the pitch 15% of the time last season, which was a big increase from 6% the previous year, and was worth 7.1 runs above average. This, combined with a jump in value for all of his pitches across the board, led to the increase in strikeouts. A lot of Oswalt's success could also be attributed to a .253 BABIP due to a 17.6 line drive rate. It is unlikely that this is sustainable.

Beachy shut down the Brewers over six innings, allowing one run on four hits, walking one and striking out seven. His outing seemed to get better as he went on, striking out five of his seven in the last few innings. Beachy had great command of his fastball, picking apart several Brewer hitters with the pitch, and he kept hitters honest with the curveball in the later innings.Two of Beachy's four career starts are against the Phillies. He allowed three runs in 4.1 innings in his major league debut last year, and his second start against them on Oct. 1 was four runs in 5.2 innings.

Opposing Numbers:

Nate McLouth, Alex Gonzalez and Brian McCann have had success against Roy Oswalt in their careers, especially Gonzalez, who is hitting .400 with two homers; McLouth also has two homers. Chipper Jones and Dan Uggla have struggled against Oswalt, recording a total of nine hits in 41 plate appearances between the two.

Raul Ibanez and Ryan Howard have had success against Brandon Beachy, with Howard going 2-4 with a double and walk. Beachy is catching a break by not seeing Carlos Ruiz; he is 3-4 with two doubles and two RBI against the right-hander. For the most part, Beachy has held the rest of the Phillies order in check over two starts.

What to Look For:

Beachy has been knocked around some by the Phillies in two career starts, but those were among the first starts of his career. As was the case Friday, Beachy needs to focus on limiting the damage done by Howard.

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Phillies Vs. Braves: A Rare Outing For Cliff Lee Comes At Great Time For Braves

Friday, April 8

(5-2) Philadelphia Phillies - 3

(4-4) Atlanta Braves - 6

Box Score

Play-By-Play

Video Highlights

Photos

The Significance of Bombing Cliff Lee:

It's only fitting that the headliner from this game is Cliff Lee's failures. The left-hander allowed six runs on 10 hits in only 3.1 innings. It was Lee's shortest outing since 2009, when he only lasted three innings twice, and it was the seventh-shortest start in his career. If you want to count only his time with the Mariners, Rangers and Phillies, it was Lee's second-shortest start.

It's safe to say Lee had nothing going for him in the pitch department, but it's interesting that he threw almost all cutters and two-seamers. Eight of his 10 hits allowed came on cutters, and the other two were two-seamers. Of his 73 pitches thrown, only nine were changeups and seven were curves. His command was off all night, constantly leaving the pitches in the middle of the plate, no matter the pitch.

(Courtesy of Brooks Baseball)

Brian McCann Continues To Rake:

Our lovable catcher now has three multi-hit games in a row after recording two singles in Friday's game. McCann is 13-30 with five RBI. But perhaps the biggest part of his effort Friday was picking up his first walk off Lee in the first inning. McCann is coming off a career-high 13% BB% in 2010, which upped his OBP to .375. Banking on a repeat of that may not be smart, but it is interesting to see how he fares following that number last season.

Stat of the Day:

Tim Hudson induced 20 ground balls and only three line drives.

WPA Winners:

(ATL) Chipper Jones: .156

(ATL) Martin Prado: .154

(PHI) Ben Francisco: .139

WPA Losers:

(PHI) Cliff Lee: -.498

(PHI) Ryan Howard: -.190

(PHI) Raul Ibanez: -.109

The Game-Changer:

Chipper Jones' three-run double in the fourth broke the tie and gave the Braves a 6-3 lead, where it remained. The play was worth .202 WPA.

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Phillies fans check out The Good Phight.

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Phillies Vs. Braves, Minor League Report: Julio Teheran Shines In Gwinnett Debut

A couple of highly touted pitching prospects made their season debuts for the minor league Braves in Friday's action, including the top-ranked pitching prospect in baseball.

AAA: Durham - 5, Gwinnett - 3 (12 Innings)

Julio Teheran received his first start of the season and first career start at AAA. The move to start him in the International League was met with some criticism, but Teheran quieted the doubters with a solid 5.2 innings against Durham, allowing one run on two hits while walking two and striking out three.

Both of Teheran's walks came in the first inning but neither led to trouble. He pitched a perfect second and allowed one single in the third. He followed with a perfect fourth, and after hitting the leadoff batter in the fifth, he induced a double play for a scoreless inning. Teheran's lone run came in the sixth when he allowed a leadoff single to Desmond Jennings, who stole second, reached third on a wild pitch and scored on a sac fly.

Teheran threw 86 pitches and 56 for strikes, inducing six groundouts to five flyouts. It was a great AAA debut for the No. 1 pitching prospect in baseball.

Scott Proctor followed with three hits, one walk and two runs allowed in 1.1 innings. Stephen Marek followed with two scoreless innings on one hit and one strikeout.

AA: Jackson - 3, Mississippi 2 (10 Innings)

As Teheran mowed down AAA batters in Gwinnett, another top pitching prospect for the Braves took the hill in Mississippi. Brett Oberholtzer made his AA debut in dominating fashion, allowing one run on three hits while walking none and striking out five. The lone run came in the third when Jake Shaffer led off with a double, and Kyle Seager eventually drove him in on a single.

After a two-hit, two-RBI day in the season opener Thursday, Tyler Pastornicky went 3-4 with one double in Friday's game. Hot hitting from the shortstop will only shorten his time in AA.

A+ Lynchburg: Postponed

A: Hagerstown - 2, Rome - 0

Caleb Brewer had a career night in his season debut for Rome, pitching 5.2 no-hit innings. He did walk four with two strikeouts, however, limiting his outing to less than six full innings. Brewer dealt with two errors - one on his own - and plenty of baserunners all night, but he managed to hold Hagerstown hitless. It has to be the ugliest no-hitter ever pitched, even for 5.2 innings.

Even better than Brewer's no-hitter was three singles for Edward Salcedo. The big third baseman needed a break-through game like this to build some confidence coming into 2011.

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Phillies Vs. Braves Final Score: Braves Get To Cliff Lee For Six Runs In 6-3 Win Over Phillies

The Braves got to Cliff Lee for six runs in less than four innings, and Tim Hudson settled in for seven-plus solid innings as Atlanta took the home opener over the Phillies, 6-3.

The Braves tacked on three runs in the second and fourth innings against Lee, recording 10 hits total against the left-hander. Martin Prado, Nate McLouth and Alex Gonzalez drove in a run apiece in the second, while Chipper Jones doubled home three in the fourth.

Lee was chased after 3.1 innings. He allowed seven ground balls, five fly balls and five line drives, ending with a WPA of -.498. He constantly left his cutter and four-seamer up and over the plate, resulting in several hard hit balls by Braves hitters. Such a bad game by Lee command-wise is very rare.

Prado went 3-5 with one double and one RBI. McLouth went 2-5 with one RBI. Gonzalez added one double and one RBI. Brian McCann added two singles.

Chipper went 2-4 with a double and three RBI. His second hit was his 2,500th career hit, making him the 93rd player in major league history to reach the number.

Dan Uggla was the lone Brave with a hitless game, going 0-4. He had the lowest WPA of Atlanta's hitters at -.100. The best mark was Prado's .157.

Hudson allowed three runs on eight hits in 7.2 innings, not walking any and striking out two. He hit the 100-pitch mark with two outs in the seventh before being pulled. Hudson induced 20 ground balls to six fly balls and three line drives, which is very solid.

He fought through some bad luck in the first couple innings to settle in nicely, though he did have to fight through a bases-loaded jam in the fifth, but Ryan Howard grounded into a double play to end the inning. Hudson allowed just two baserunners after the fifth.

With a runner on second and two outs in the eighth, Jonny Venters struck out Raul Ibanez for the final out in the inning. Craig Kimbrel pitched a perfect ninth to shut the door on the Phillies.

Ben Francisco led the Phillies with two hits, including a double, and one RBI. Shane Victorino added two singles and one RBI. Howard recorded one RBI, but he was held hitless at 0-3.

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Phillies fans check out The Good Phight.

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Phillies Vs. Braves Score: Braves Chase Cliff Lee After 3.1 Innings And Six Runs, Lead 6-3 After Five Innings

The Braves tacked on three runs in the fourth inning to chase Phillies starter Cliff Lee after 3.1 innings and six runs. The Braves lead 6-3 through five innings.

Lee's nightmarish fourth inning began by hitting Freddie Freeman to lead off the inning. After Tim Hudson struck out, Martin Prado singled to move Freeman to second. Nate McLouth singled to load the bases. The big hit came on a bases-clearing double by Chipper Jones for three runs. After Brian McCann singled to move Chipper to third, Lee was sent to the showers.

Lee allowed six runs on 10 hits in 3.1 innings, walking one and striking out three (Hudson twice). His command was off considerably, tossing cutters and straight fastballs up and over the plate consistently. He gave up seven ground balls, five fly balls and five line drives. Lee's final WPA ended at -.498.

Hudson has induced 15 ground balls to three fly balls over five innings. The Phillies loaded the bases in the fifth with one out, but Ryan Howard grounded into a double play to end the threat. He has allowed three runs on seven hits in five innings.

Chipper has a double and three RBI. Prado has three hits, including a double, and one RBI. McLouth is 2-4 with one RBI. McCann has two singles and a walk. Gonzalez has one RBI.

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Phillies Vs. Braves Score: Both Offenses Strike Early As Score Is Tied 3-3 Through Three Innings

After Tim Hudson allowed three runs in unusual fashion over the first two innings, the Braves responded with three runs in the second inning in even more unusual fashion. The game is tied at three after three innings.

Hudson dealt with bad luck in the first inning, allowing a single off second base and a bloop single to left before Ryan Howard drove one in on a sac fly. That was followed by the first hard-hit ball of the inning by Ben Francisco that drove in the other run.

Hudson allowed a third run in the second inning when he gave up a leadoff single and an error by Alex Gonzalez moved the runner to third. Shane Victorino followed with a fielder's choice to bring home the run.

However, the Braves responded with three runs in the second inning. Jason Heyward started the inning with a triple and scored on a Gonzalez double. A Freddie Freeman single moved Gonzalez to third, and he scored on a double by Martin Prado. A Nate McLouth groundout scored Freeman to tie the game at three.

Hudson has allowed three runs on four hits - two hard hit - in three innings, walking none and striking out one. He has induced seven groundouts to one flyout already.

Lee has left a lot of cutters up and over the plate, and his command appears off in the early going, which is very rare. He has allowed three runs on four hits in three innings, not walking any and striking out one.

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Phillies Vs. Braves: Tim Hudson Looks To Contain Ryan Howard In Home Opener

The Braves host the Phillies in Atlanta's home opener Friday at 7:35 on Peachtree TV and Fox Sports South.

Phillies Lineup:
1. Shane Victorino, CF
2. Placido Polanco, 3B
3. Jimmy Rollins, SS
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Ben Francisco, RF
6. Raul Ibanez, LF
7. Carlos Ruiz, C
8. Wilson Valdez, 2B
9. Cliff Lee, SP

Braves Lineup:
1. Martin Prado, LF
2. Nate McLouth, CF
3. Chipper Jones, 3B
4. Brian McCann, C
5. Dan Uggla, 2B
6. Jason Heyward, RF
7. Alex Gonzalez, SS
8. Freddie Freeman, 1B
9. Tim Hudson, SP

Cliff Lee (2010: 212.1 IP, 3.18 ERA, 2.58 FIP, 3.06 xFIP, 0.76 BB/9, 7.84 K/9, 41.9 GB%, 8.2 SwStr%)
(63.6 FB%, 19.8 CT%, 9.4 CH%, 5.6 CB%, 1.6 SL%; 51.5 Swing%, 84.1 Contact%)
vs.
Tim Hudson (2010: 228.2 IP, 2.83 ERA, 4.09 FIP, 3.77 xFIP, 2.91 BB/9, 5.47 K/9, 64.1 GB%, 6.8 SwStr%)
(56 GB%, 15.5 CT%, 13.1 SF%, 7.1 SL%, 4.8 CB%, 3.6 CH%; 43.2 Swing%, 91.4 Contact%)

Cliff Lee sailed through his first start of 2011 against the Astros, allowing three runs on four hits in seven innings, not walking any and striking out 11. It was a characteristic outing for Lee, who recorded an insane walk rate last season and holds a career mark of 2.22 BB/9. He had the best season of his career in 2010, posting career-best numbers in ERA, FIP, xFIP and K/BB. The Braves know what to expect with Lee, but he did show something different in his season debut against Houston. He threw only 44% fastballs compared to 31% cutters, which is a significant difference from years past. Whether that continues remains to be seen, but it's something to keep an eye on for right-handers.

Tim Hudson continued his dominance of the Nationals in his season debut with seven innings of one-run ball, allowing three hits, one walk and striking out five. Hudson is coming off one of his best seasons in Atlanta and is seeking a repeat year,and a big step toward that is good starts against the Phillies. Like Lee, Hudson threw more cutters in his first start, as well as more splitters. He didn't post the insane groundball rate of last season, but it was one start.

Opposing Numbers:
Alex Gonzalez is 4-12 with a homer and three RBI against Cliff Lee. Chipper Jones is 2-8 with two doubles. Other than that, the Braves don't have much success against the left-hander. A lot of that is due to the Braves' lack of success against lefties the past few years.

Ryan Howard has had Tim Hudson's number in the past, hitting six homers with a .341 average in 50 plate appearances. Howard is coming in hot, recording at least two hits in all but one game so far this season. Raul Ibanez has had success against Hudson, but the rest of the Phillies sluggers have not. Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Carlos Ruiz have been limited against Hudson.

What to Look For:
Preventing Ryan Howard from doing damage. The big left-hander has mowed through opposing pitching so far this season, and Hudson has not fared well against him in the past. Howard has a long history of success against the Braves.

On the other end, the Braves have to do what they can to reach base against Cliff Lee. That means racking up hits and taking shots the other way against the left-hander, because it won't happen with walks.

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Phillies Vs. Braves: Braves Host Scorching Phillies In Home Opening Weekend

Following a tough 3-4 road trip to start the season, the Braves are heading home to host the Phillies in a big three-game series to open the home schedule in 2011.

The Braves took two of three from the Nationals in the opening series of the season, but after taking the first game of the series against the Brewers, Milwaukee came back with three straight wins to drop the Braves to 3-4.

The Phillies have started the season on a high note by going 5-1. They swept the Astros in the opening series of the season, followed by two of three from the Mets, including a 11-0 win Thursday. They have scored at least nine runs in three of the six games they've played.

Friday, April 8 - 7:35 (Peachtree TV/Fox Sports South)
Cliff Lee (2010: 212.1 IP, 3.18 ERA, 2.58 FIP, 3.06 xFIP, 0.76 BB/9, 7.84 K/9, 41.9 GB%, 8.2 SwStr%)
(63.6 FB%, 19.8 CT%, 9.4 CH%, 5.6 CB%, 1.6 SL%; 51.5 Swing%, 84.1 Contact%)
vs.
Tim Hudson (2010: 228.2 IP, 2.83 ERA, 4.09 FIP, 3.77 xFIP, 2.91 BB/9, 5.47 K/9, 64.1 GB%, 6.8 SwStr%)
(56 GB%, 15.5 CT%, 13.1 SF%, 7.1 SL%, 4.8 CB%, 3.6 CH%; 43.2 Swing%, 91.4 Contact%)

Cliff Lee sailed through his first start of 2011 against the Astros, allowing three runs on four hits in seven innings, not walking any and striking out 11. It was a characteristic outing for Lee, who recorded an insane walk rate last season and holds a career mark of 2.22 BB/9. He had the best season of his career in 2010, posting career-best numbers in ERA, FIP, xFIP and K/BB. The Braves know what to expect with Lee, but he did show something different in his season debut against Houston. He threw only 44% fastballs compared to 31% cutters, which is a significant difference from years past. Whether that continues remains to be seen, but it's something to keep an eye on for right-handers.

Tim Hudson continued his dominance of the Nationals in his season debut with seven innings of one-run ball, allowing three hits, one walk and striking out five. Hudson is coming off one of his best seasons in Atlanta and is seeking a repeat year,and a big step toward that is good starts against the Phillies. Like Lee, Hudson threw more cutters in his first start, as well as more splitters. He didn't post the insane groundball rate of last season, but it was one start.

Saturday, April 9 - 1:10 (FOX)
Roy Oswalt (2010: 211.2 IP, 2.76 ERA, 3.27 FIP, 3.31 xFIP, 2.34 BB/9, 8.21 K/9, 45.7 GB%, 9.7 SwStr%)
(55.4 FB%, 15.1 CH%, 14.8 SL%, 14.7 CB%; 47.5 Swing%, 79.1 Contact%)
vs.
Brandon Beachy (2010: AA: 74.1 IP, 1.45 ERA, 2.00 FIP, 2.66 BB/9, 12.11 K/9)
(AAA: 45.2 IP, 2.17 ERA, 2.19 FIP, 1.18 BB/9, 9.46 K/9)
(MLB: 15 IP, 3.00 ERA, 2.48 FIP, 3.78 xFIP, 4.20 BB/9, 9 K/9)

Roy Oswalt posted the best K/9 of his career last season at 8.21 K/9, and he kept the BB/9 low at 2.34 BB/9. The reason for the increase in strikeouts was an increase in whiff rate and decrease in contact rate. Much of this came from a huge jump in the value of his changeup. He threw the pitch 15% of the time last season, which was a big increase from 6% the previous year, and was worth 7.1 runs above average. This, combined with a jump in value for all of his pitches across the board, led to the increase in strikeouts. A lot of Oswalt's success could also be attributed to a .253 BABIP due to a 17.6 line drive rate. It is unlikely that this is sustainable.

Beachy shut down the Brewers over six innings, allowing one run on four hits, walking one and striking out seven. His outing seemed to get better as he went on, striking out five of his seven in the last few innings. Beachy had great command of his fastball, picking apart several Brewer hitters with the pitch, and he kept hitters honest with the curveball in the later innings.Two of Beachy's four career starts are against the Phillies. He allowed three runs in 4.1 innings in his major league debut last year, and his second start against them on Oct. 1 was four runs in 5.2 innings.

Sunday, April 10 - 1:35 (Fox Sports South)
Cole Hamels (2010: 208.2 IP, 3.06 ERA, 3.67 FIP, 3.28 xFIP, 2.63 BB/9, 9.1 K/9, 45.4 GB%, 11.9 SwStr%)
(54.4 FB%, 25 CT%, 19.1 CH%, 1.5 CB%; 36.8 Swing%, 80 Contact%)
vs.
Derek Lowe (11.2 IP, 0.77 ERA, 2.20 FIP, 2.66 xFIP, 3.86 BB/9, 10.03 K/9, 58.8 GB%, 8.2 SwStr%)
(46.2 FB%, 30.7 SL%, 17.5 CH%, 5.7 CT%; 40 Swing%, 76.2 Contact%)

Cole Hamels had the second worst start of his career in his season debut against the Mets, allowing six runs on seven hits in 2.2 innings. If anything, it kept Hamels fresh for his second start as he threw only 68 pitches. He is coming off a solid 2010 season in which he returned to 200+ innings with a 9.1 K/9, his highest strikeout rate since his rookie season. Hamels has almost completely ditched the curveball and continues to back off the changeup, but he is throwing the same number of fastballs and a considerable amount of cutters. His confidence in the cutter seems to be growing with every start.

Derek Lowe continues to post career-best strikeout numbers through two starts due to a major increase in slider counts. His 30.7% slider count is up from 16.1% last season, though the plan to throw more sliders began last September. Lowe has been a completely different pitcher so far this season and looks to keep it going against the Phillies.

With Brad Lidge out until around the All-Star break, the Phillies bullpen has been turned over to Jose Contreras to lead. Ryan Madson, Danys Baez and Antonio Bastardo have combined for 8.2 scoreless innings in relief. J.C. Romero remains the LOOGY, allowing one run in two innings.

Projected Phillies Lineup:
1. Shane Victorino, CF
2. Placido Polanco, 3B
3. Jimmy Rollins, SS
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Raul Ibanez, LF
6. Ben Francisco, RF
7. Carlos Ruiz, C
8. Wilson Valdez, 2B

The absence of Chase Utley is apparent, but the Phillies offense hasn't missed a beat so far. With Utley out, the lefty presence in the middle of the order isn't quite as big, especially with the switch-hitting Jimmy Rollins hitting third. The lineup remains solid throughout, though Wilson Valdez in the eight hole is a bit of a weak spot.

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Phillies fans check out The Good Phight.

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