Monday, September 13, 2010

Phils Remain atop NL East, A Look Ahead

The Phillies exit this weekend the same way they entered: with a one-game lead in the NL East. The Phils will open a three-game set with the Florida Marlins tonight, while Atlanta is set to square off against Washington. Here's a look ahead:

The Phillies will send Joe Blanton to the mound tonight against Andrew Miller. Blanton is 3-1 with a 3.67 ERA since the all-star break and is 1-0 in his last three starts. Miller is win-less in his career against the Phillies with a 6+ ERA. In his last start, the Phillies touched him up for seven runs on 11 hits in four innings. They'll look to repeat that effort down in South Florida tonight.

Derek Lowe takes the hill for Atlanta tonight against Yunesky Maya. Lowe's had an up and down season, overall at 12-12 with a 4.42 ERA. In his last start, he defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates, allowing just one run. Maya made his Major League debut for the Nationals on Tuesday. He allowed four runs in his first two innings, but responded by retiring 11 of 12 batters. Maya took the loss and his ERA stands at 7.20.

Cole Hamels takes his 25 consecutive scoreless innings streak to the mound tomorrow against the Marlins. Hamels made his last start against the Marlins, obviously not allowing a run. The Marlins send Adalberto Mendez against the Phils. Mendez made his Major League debut against the Phillies last Monday in the only game they'd win in the series. Mendez shut the Phillies out, allowing just one hit over six shutout innings.

The Braves start Jair Jurrjens against Livan Hernandez. Jurrjens has been largely inconsistent this season. He allowed seven runs in two of his last four starts, but possesses some quality stuff. Hernandez is a solid veteran pitcher with a solid ERA and a losing record on a losing team. He's always capable of pitching deep into any ballgame.

Roy Halladay pitching the finale against TBD. The pinnacle of Halladay's illustrious career came this season when he threw a perfect game against the Marlins. His only loss to the Fish this year: a 1-0 loss to Josh Johnson. TBD has struggled for the Marlins.

The finale between the Braves and Nats features Mike Minor (3-0 5.63) vs. John Lannan (7-7 4.69). Minor admitted he's fatigued as of late; his velocity is down and he's had command trouble. Lannan is an enigma. He's capable of pitching a solid game at times but usually gets roughed up and some point during the game.

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