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Braves Vs. Phillies: Jair Jurrjens Faces Cole Hamels In Rubber Match

The Braves and Phillies will do battle in the rubber game of the three-game series in front of a national audience as the two teams host the game of the week on ESPN. Game time is 8:00.

Braves Lineup:
1. Martin Prado, LF
2. Jason Heyward, RF
3. Chipper Jones, 3B
4. Brian McCann, C
5. Dan Uggla, 2B
6. Freddie Freeman, 1B
7. Alex Gonzalez, SS
8. Nate McLouth, CF
9. Jair Jurrjens, 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. Wilson Valdez, 2B
8. Dane Sardinha, C
9. Cole Hamels, SP

Jair Jurrjens (29.2 IP, 1.52 ERA, 2.69 FIP, 3.47 xFIP, 1.52 BB/9, 5.46 K/9, 52.2 GB%, 7 SwStr%)
(61.6 FB%, 21.2 CH%, 17.2 SL%; 50.5 Swing%, 86.2 Contact%)

Cole Hamels (40.2 IP, 2.66 ERA, 2.44 FIP, 2.78 xFIP, 2.21 BB/9, 8.85 K/9, 49.5 GB%, 11.1 SwStr%)
(49.4 FB%, 23.6 CH%, 21.2 CT%, 5.7 CB%; 47.2 Swing%, 75.9 Contact%)

Jurrjens is pitching to much more contact this season, leaving some to wonder whether he can sustain such a high level of pitching. It's pretty apparent he won't sustain a 1.52 ERA, but a 1.52 BB/9 compared to a career average of 3.15 leaves some to wonder whether he will blow up eventually. His command has been beyond anything we have seen from Jurrjens, and his ground ball rate has also helped offset such a large increase in contact. Whether it holds up remains to be seen, but the Braves are enjoying it while it lasts.

Hamels went the distance in his last start, allowing one run on five hits in nine innings against the Nationals, walking one and striking out six. After allowing six runs in his first start of the season, Hamels has allowed no more than three runs in any start, including two shutouts and one one-run game. The most notable stat from this is a major drop in home runs allowed, currently sitting at two through 40.2 innings. He pitched seven shutout innings in a win against the Braves in their last series together.

Opposing Numbers:
Dan Uggla has ugly numbers against Hamels in his career, going 6-40 with a double and homer. Brian McCann has fared much better at 12-40 with six doubles, one homer and 11 RBIs. Martin Prado is 10-35 with three doubles and a homer. Chipper Jones is 9-27 with four doubles, two homers and six RBIs. Alex Gonzalez is 3-15 with a double and homer. Nate McLouth is 2-9 with a double. Jason Heyward is 2-7.

The Phillies have not fared well against Jurrjens. Jimmy Rollins is 4-26. Shane Victorino is 5-25. Ryan Howard is 7-25. Raul Ibanez is 2-11. The only hitter with success against Jurrjens is Wilson Valdez, who is 4-6.

What to Look For:
Jurrjens is pitching well right now and has previous success against these Phillies hitters. The Braves will likely need him to keep it up as they face a tough Hamels.

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.