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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.

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