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Braves Vs. Phillies: Atlanta Seeks Repeat Performance Against Cliff Lee In Series Opener

A winning streak will end in this game as the Braves bring a five-game streak to Philadelphia to face the Phillies, who currently hold a three-game streak and have won six of seven. Game time is 7:05 on SportSouth.

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

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

Derek Lowe (38.2 IP, 3.72 ERA, 2.72 FIP, 2.96 xFIP, 3.03 BB/9, 8.61 K/9, 55.4 GB%, 10 SwStr%)
(46.7 FB%, 27.2 SL%, 15.6 CH%, 10.5 CT%; 39.8 Swing%, 74.5 Contact%)
vs.
Cliff Lee (39.1 IP, 3.66 ERA, 2.65 FIP, 2.61 xFIP, 1.37 BB/9, 10.07 K/9, 40.4 GB%, 9 SwStr%)
(53.4 FB%, 25 CT%, 12.9 CH%, 8 CB%, 0.7 SL%; 49.8 Swing%, 81.3 Contact%)

Despite allowing four runs in five innings, Lowe responded to his DUI news fairly well in his first start since, striking out five and inducing 10 ground balls against the Cardinals. It was only his second start this season in which he allowed more than two runs, and it was his second shortest appearance, as well. Lowe continues to throw fewer sinkers and more sliders, and the strikeouts remain high. As long as he continues this pace, he will be fine.

You might remember Lee posted the worst performance of his season so far against the Braves back in early April, allowing six runs in only 3.1 innings. His most recent start was one run on eight hits in seven innings against the Mets. He had a season high in walks with two in that start. Lee continues to, and always will post incredible walk rates, but he hasn't been untouchable this season. His contact rates and strikeout rate are up, but he also has an increased line drive rate at 20.2%. Perhaps a big reason is he's throwing more cutters, and if his Braves start was any indication, he didn't show the best command with it, leaving several over the plate. FanGraphs says it has been his worst pitch, as well.

Opposing Numbers:
A few Braves have had success against Lee. Alex Gonzalez is 5-14 with double, homer and four RBIs. Chipper Jones is 3-11 with three doubles and three RBIs. Martin Prado is 3-8 with two doubles and one RBI. Brian McCann is 3-5 and Nate McLouth is 2-5.

Lowe has had the Phillies' numbers in his career. Ryan Howard is 9-45 with a double and six RBIs. Raul Ibanez is 6-40 with two homers and six RBIs. Jimmy Rollins is 9-42 with two doubles. Shane Victorino is 5-32 with a homer. Brian Schneider is 2-11 with a double. Ben Francisco is 0-6. Placido Polanco is the lone Phillie with any success, currently 3-6 with a double. Only three Phillies hitters in the lineup have batting averages above .200 against Lowe.

What to Look For:
The Braves need a solid performance from Lowe to hang with Lee, and if history is any indication, which it usually isn't in one-game spurts, it could happen.

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