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Phillies Vs. Braves: Atlanta Seeks Repeat Against Philly At Turner Field

The Braves avoided disaster by salvaging the final game of a home series against the Nationals, and the salvaged win came in large part to a game-tying grand slam from Martin Prado in the late innings. The Braves are looking to carry this momentum into a big series against the Phillies at home that includes a weekend of events for the May 15 Civil Rights Game.

The Phillies are coming off a series win against the Marlins in which their only loss was the highly touted matchup between Roy Halladay and Josh Johnson. The Braves and Phillies faced off in the series before that, and Atlanta took two of three in Philadelphia in a series that featured two shutouts and two games with a run differential of three runs each.

The Phillies sit three games ahead of the Marlins in the NL East and 4.5 ahead of the Braves.

Friday, May 13 - 7:35 (Peachtree TV/Fox Sports South)
Cole Hamels (47.2 IP, 2.83 ERA, 2.74 FIP, 2.59 xFIP, 2.08 BB/9, 9.25 K/9, 47.9 GB%, 11.2 SwStr%)
(49.6 FB%, 22.7 CH%, 21.4 CT%, 6.3 CB%; 48.1 Swing%, 75.7 Contact%)
vs.
Brandon Beachy (42.1 IP, 2.98 ERA, 2.97 FIP, 3.15 xFIP, 2.34 BB/9, 9.57 K/9, 30.5 GB%, 9.8 SwStr%)
(62.8 FB%, 17.3 SL%, 10 CB%, 9.9 CH%; 46.8 Swing%, 78.3 Contact%)

Hamels has already faced the Braves twice this season, and he has allowed three runs with two walks and 17 strikeouts in 14 innings. His most recent start was against Atlanta, allowing all three of those runs on five hits in seven innings with nine strikeouts. All three runs came on two home runs by Alex Gonzalez and Freddie Freeman. Hamels continues to have the best K/BB of his career so far at 4.45, due in large part to an uptick in strikeouts.

For what seems like the thousandth time, Beachy is facing the Phillies. It's in fact his second appearance against them this season after allowing four runs in six innings with just two strikeouts against them in April. Beachy set a season high for strikeouts with nine last time out, and he continues to show excellent control by walking just two over his last 19 innings.

Saturday, May 14 - 1:10 (Peachtree TV/SportSouth)
Joe Blanton (29.1 IP, 5.83 ERA, 3.46 FIP, 3.47 xFIP, 2.45 BB/9, 5.83 K/9, 56.7 GB%, 7.4 SwStr%)
(48.6 FB%, 16.4 CH%, 14 SL%, 11.6 CT%, 9.4 CB%; 44.8 Swing%, 83.7 Contact%)
vs.
Jair Jurrjens (36 IP, 1.50 ERA, 2.70 FIP, 3.39 xFIP, 1.5 BB/9, 5 K/9, 50.4 GB%, 6.6 SwStr%)
(60.9 FB%, 22.6 CH%, 16.5 SL%; 49 Swing%, 86.5 Contact%)

Blanton made his first start May 9 since coming off the disabled list, allowing three runs on eight hits in five innings. His ERA is still recovering from 12 runs allowed in his first 10.1 innings of the season, but he has maintained a solid FIP and xFIP. His ground ball rate is over 10 points higher than his career average, and it could have something to do with a decrease in straight fastballs that led to such a high rate of fly balls in his career.

Jurrjens continues to cruise through solid start after solid start, most recently allowing one run in 6.1 innings to the Phillies. He is benefiting from a major decrease in walks and major increase in ground balls, both on pace for career bests. He has over 15 ground balls in two of his starts, and he has walked no more than two in any start while walking just one in his last 14 innings.

Sunday, May 15 - 1:35 (Civil Rights Game - TBS/Fox Sports South)
Roy Halladay (61.1 IP, 2.05 ERA, 1.50 FIP, 2.20 xFIP, 1.32 BB/9, 9.68 K/9, 54 GB%, 10.9 SwStr%)
(45.3 CT%, 26 FB%, 15.4 CH%, 13.3 CB%; 50.1 Swing%, 77.9 Contact%)
vs.
Tim Hudson (55.1 IP, 3.09 ERA, 3.25 FIP, 3.57 xFIP, 1.63 BB/9, 4.72 K/9, 59.2 GB%, 7.5 SwStr%)
(60.8 FB%, 16.4 SL%, 9.2 SF%, 5.1 CB%, 4.6 CT%, 3.9 CH%; 48.4 Swing%, 84.3 Contact%)

There really isn't much to say about Halladay other than he's the best pitcher in the game. He's making things as unfair as ever with a career-high 9.68 K/9 to go along with a ground ball rate at its highest since 2006 and highest swinging strike rate of his career. The guy hasn't had an ERA above two since 2007. Aside from a six-run outing against the Brewers, Halladay hasn't allowed more than two runs in any start this year while going at least seven innings in six of eight starts.

Hudson gave up seven runs - three earned - due to two three-run homers against the Nationals last time out. It was by far his worst start so far this season. He has faced the Phillies once this season, allowing three runs in 7.2 innings while inducing a season-high 18 ground balls. The Braves are looking for a rebound start as Hudson faces Halladay in the series finale.

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

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.