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The Atlanta Braves enter Monday's series opener with the Marlins trailing the division leading Nationals by four games.
The Braves made it a point to get to Halladay early as Jason Heyward's solo homer got the Braves off to a good start in the first. Dan Uggla later followed with a double to left that plated Chipper Jones and gave Atlanta a 2-0 lead in the first. Jones struck again with a solo homer of his own in the third to make the lead 3-0.
The Phillies crawled a little closer with single runs in the fourth and fifth off of starter Tim Hudson. Shane Victorino hit his ninth homer of the season in the fourth inning to put Philadelphia on the board and Carlos Ruiz came through with an RBI single in the sixth to make the score 3-2.
However, the Braves would get some insurance runs in the seventh scoring three times with the big blow coming on a two RBI single to the opposite field by Freddie Freeman.
Tim Hudson picks up his 10th win of the season allowing seven hits and two runs in 5 2/3 innings of work this afternoon. Roy Halladay falls to 4-6 on the season after giving up six hits and three runs in six innings of work.
There will be a marquee pitching matchup on Sunday as the Braves go for a series sweep against the Philadelphia Phillies. Tim Hudson will take the mound for Atlanta and will be opposed by Roy Halladay who will get the start for the Phillies.
All of the Braves regulars are in the lineup for Sunday's game with the exception of catcher Brian McCann who will get the day off after catching last night's game. David Ross will catch and bat seventh in Sunday's lineup.
Here is a look at the lineups for Sunday's series finale against the Phillies:
Tim Hudson (9-4, 3.71 ERA) will take the mound for Atlanta, looking to win his fourth straight decision. In his last start against the Miami Marlins, Hudson earned the win after giving up only five hits and three runs in seven innings of work.
The Phillies will counter with Roy Halladay (4-5, 4.32 ERA), who is still rounding into shape after spending the previous six weeks on the disabled list. Halladay was roughed up in his last start against the Milwaukee Brewers, giving up eight hits and six runs in six innings of work.
Take a look here for the game schedule and broadcast information:
Date/Time: Sunday, July 29, 1:35 p.m. ET
TV: WB17, FSS
Online streaming: MLB.tv
Read more on the Braves at Talking Chop and SB Nation Atlanta. Check out The Good Phight and SB Nation Philly for more on the Phillies. Baseball Nation is your source for news and analysis around Major League Baseball.
The Braves won their fourth-straight game on Saturday night, defeating the Phillies by a score of 2-1. It marked the fifth-straight win against their NL East foes for Atlanta, which certainly is a nice change of pace compared to previous years.
Mike Minor was brilliant yet again, working eight innings of one-run ball. His lone mistake was an elevated fastball to Chase Utley, who sent it over the center field wall. Minor struck out nine, did not walk a batter and surrendered just four hits.
Joe Blanton was nearly as good as Minor, tossing seven frames while allowing just two runs. He have up just four hits and a walk, striking out seven. This marks his second dominant start at Turner Field, with a complete game shutout coming earlier this season.
Chipper Jones drove home the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly to center field in the first. Jason Heyward drove home Michael Bourn on an infield single that was botched a bit by Chase Utley. The Braves led 2-0 until the fourth, when Utley homered for the fifth time this year.
The night truly belonged to Minor. He used his fastball early and often to get ahead of hitters, mixing in his changeup and curveball nicely to keep things fresh. Craig Kimbrel came on the ninth and struck out Utley with a 99 mph fastball to seal the deal.
The Braves will go for the series sweep on Sunday. It'll be Tim Hudson against Roy Halladay on the mound.
It looks like the Braves are prepared to go with plan B and insert Kris Medlan into the starting rotation in place of the struggling Jair Jurrjens. In reality it isn't a bad option given that the Braves are 14-4 in 18 career starts made by Medlen. The problem is that Medlen hasn't started since 2010 when he suffered an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery.
The Braves have been active in trade negotiations for a veteran starter and continue to look. If they are able to acquire one then Medlen would likely remain in the bullpen.
"I'm really excited, don't get me wrong, but a lot of things can change. I know they're looking for a veteran dude or whatever. But you know me, I'm more than willing to be the one to try it out, especially ending my chance in the rotation with Tommy John [surgery], I think I made the most of my chance that I got with that. I think I showed them that I could do pretty much anything when it comes to pitching."
Atlanta was close to acquiring Ryan Dempster from the Cubs before the veteran pitcher vetoed the deal. The Braves were also involved in talks with the Milwaukee Brewers for Zack Greinke before he was traded to the Angels.
"I was hoping for no cast at all," said Simmons, who was X-rayed and fitted for a lighter, more comfortable cast on Friday. "But the doctor said we need one more week to make sure it gets calcified and stuff."
Simmons has been in a cast since suffering the injury and is itching to return to the lineup. Once the cast is removed Simmons will begin rehab exercises before resuming baseball activities. He thinks he will need about a week of that including his rehabilitation trip to the minors but the Braves may opt to not push him that quickly.
Simmons solidified the shortstop position for the Braves defensively after his promotion from the minors and was hitting .296 with three homers and 15 RBIs at the time of the injury.
The Atlanta Braves have announced Kris Medlen will replace Jair Jurrjens in the starting rotation if a trade is not made before the deadline to acquire a pitcher. The non-waiver trade deadline is 3 p.m. ET on Tuesday, July 31. Medlen has pitched very well this season in relief and had success as a starter before undergoing Tommy John Surgery in 2010.
If Medlen does indeed start, he will be on a pitch count of 75 pitches or so, per manager Fredi Gonzalez.
Jurrjens has struggled for just about all of the season, a start or two in late June notwithstanding. His velocity remains down and it appears his days in Atlanta are numbered.
According to Frank Wren, the Braves will continue looking at ways to improve in the coming days. There is still a chance a starting pitcher is acquired, but it is looking more and more like the club will go with bullpen and bench help instead.
The Atlanta Braves will look to extend their winning streak to four games on Saturday, as Atlanta plays host to Philadelphia in the second game of a three-game set on Saturday night.
Mike Minor will start for Atlanta, just one night after another excellent outing from the surprisingly good Ben Sheets. Minor, who still sports a 5.49 ERA, has been a much better pitcher so far in the second half -- granted, it's only been two starts. In those two starts, however, Minor has pitched 13 innings, giving up just three runs (2.08 ERA), on nine hits and two walks, while striking out 11.
Atlanta's bats will face off against Joe Blanton, who gets the nod for the Phillies. Blanton carries an 8-8 record, with a 4.70 ERA and 1.22 WHIP into the start. The Braves and Braves fans can expect to see Blanton throw strikes, as he's only issued 17 walks in 126 and 1/3 innings on the year.
Televised coverage of Saturday's game between the Braves and Phillies can be found on Sports South. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.
For more on the Braves, check out Talking Chop.
The Atlanta Braves defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 6-1 despite earning only five hits on Friday night. The play that made the difference in the Braves win was a three-run home run by catcher Brian McCann in the fifth inning. Starting pitcher Ben Sheets continued his success by pitching six innings, giving up just one run, struck out four and allowed just one run. The win for Sheets was his third straight which improved his record to 3-0.
Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels had a rough outing by lasting only five innings, gave up four hits, three earned runs and five walks. This was Hamels first start since signing his $144 million contract.
The Braves were able to get to Hamels early when a run was scored after an error by Freddie Freeman, and then the next run came on the following at bat when Michael Bourn hit a RBI single to give the Braves a 2-1 lead. McCann's home run in the fifth was the nail in the coffin, and one final run was put on the board when Martin Prado knocked in Bourn on a single to make it a 6-1 final score.
There's rumors of recently released Mets pitcher Miguel Batista getting some interest from the rival Atlanta Braves. The Mets had announced earlier this week that Batista was designated for assignment in the Minor Leagues, then a few days later they announced he would be let go.
At 41, it was easy to assume that Batista would just ride his 18-year career, in which he played for 10 teams, into the sunset. But apparently he wants to play for the Braves.
Batista most notably performed in two postseasons career, but was just a journeyman for the most part.
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The Braves and Phillies will meet for a key three-game series this weekend. It'll be Ben Sheets against Cole Hamels in game one.